Saturday, May 18, 2013

Back in Secaucus again?

Aftermath of Passaic fire Labor Day 1985
February 18, 1986

Secaucus again, and wet with a wonderful winter rain storm.
How much more romantic can you get?
Sitting here filing out forms for yet another grand insurance plan, I realize all the strange times I’ve had in this amazing institution. This month marks my four year on and off since I finally admitted to myself that I was not yet ready for the big time as a creative writing.
That new years (1982) I resigned from Dunkin Donuts (leaving Phil) to make my living as a writer.
What a bleeping joke!
Two months later I was crawling into the Rutherford store to be interviewed by Bonnie, recommended by Michael Alexander and his girlfriend, Linda.
I was looking for the perfect job that would allow me to study as I worked. But the pattern for self-destruction was already set and I pulled out of school for the semester overwhelmed again by trying to make a living while studying – training came as precisely the wrong time in my college schedule and so I was confounded by film sizes as much as I was by Shakespearian sonnets. Eventually, I found myself in a Fotomat booth, an infamous pretender claiming myself writer, poet and thinker but without accomplishment. And I was caught up with old ghosts, my ex-wife back in my life but none of the money I stole when I first fell in love with her, but instead, I gave her bits of the little bread I made because she was as bad off or worse than I was.
I was always scrambling for hours, leaving my number in each booth in case someone needs me to fill in, a hopeless gypsy in Secaucus today or Hohocus tomorrow, and yet there is a kind of freedom in not being tied down in one booth every day. Sometimes, I even come across old friends, such as Dan Zack working in the Bloomfield Dunkin, or a night guard I worked with in Willowbrook when I still worked the Dunkin there, or even one of the drunken madmen from Wine Imports when we all loaded trucks at night (putting as much wine in us as we did in the trucks.)
But it gets old, and even I know I can’t drift like this forever.
You need predictability. So not long later, I begged for a store of my own and Bonnie – with tears in her eyes – gave me one in Clifton, near where I grew up and where I met Anne (the girl I dated for three years if dated is what that amazingly strange experience was) and Bob Adams became my boss, and from time to time, he still asks me to fill in places, such as here in Secaucus – this booth in the middle of a nightmare parking lot where traffic never stops – and the tiny library across the street where I often flee to get a break even when I really don’t need to use the bathroom.

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