Set the way-back machine to 1992

Here’s some more fodder from the journals I unearthed. Nothing shocking here. Just a beautiful slice of life. As of these writings, I was still living in Brooklyn. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the Lower East Side of Manhattan was just a few months away.

*     *     *

Monday, November 16, 1992

I walked over to Brooklyn Heights to get a haircut. I fired Anita, even though she brushes her tits against me (intentionally, in my opinion). She charges too much ($28) and doesn’t always do such a great job. Picking a new barber is angst-inducing, to say the least. I impulsively walked into Golden Fingers on Court Street. I sat down, looked around, and suddenly realized it’s an Arab barber shop. Nobody was speaking English and there was strange Arabian music playing. [Note: Yes, that’s what I called it. “Strange.” I was going to edit that bit out because it sounds awful but thought it best to present these entries warts and all.]

Everyone sitting there, including the barbers, had thick, black, curly hair. Do these guys know how to cut straight hair? I could rework David Crosby’s Almost Cut My Hair into Arabs Cut My Hair. Ha ha. My barber had B.O. I told him to not cut it too short and no blood, please. He laughed but I wasn’t kidding. I’m happy to report that my man did an excellent job. He hands were fast, fast. I was out of there in no time. And cheaper than Anita, too. Only $17. But I missed the tits. It’s kind of far but all the barbers in my neighborhood only have black customers and I don’t know if they’d have any idea how to cut my hair.

I spoke to Klinger a few hours ago. He’s playing an open mic at the New York Comedy Club. He wanted me to come down but I don’t think I can make it. I’m a lot funnier than that guy, but he has bigger balls. Ambition trumps talent. It always has and it always will.

Sheila called me out of the blue. I told her that the common thread running between her and Joann is that on separate occasions I tried to seduce each one of them and they both, miraculously, found the strength to resist my animal charm. That made her laugh. Leave ’em laughing, right? She’s got a boyfriend she hates and occasionally calls me to complain about him. What the fuck am I supposed to do with that? Good God, I don’t care.

I met Cindy at DeRobertis on 1st Avenue and 11th Street. I finished her biography and we needed to pour over the edits and layout prototypes. She was grateful. No, not that grateful. I had a deliciouoso cream puff and a cappuccino. We walked down to St. Marks Bar. They remodeled it not long ago. People—and by “people” I mean the usual Lower East Side malcontents who are always spoiling for a fight, any fight—are bitching about the new décor but I don’t mind it. I asked the bartender what part of England he’s from and he said he was from Ireland. I apologized profusely, then I tucked my tail between my vagina and crawled out of there, humiliated.

At work, I passed two girls who were talking in the hallway. We all exchanged pleasantries. I turned the corner and there was a magazine rack there. I stopped to thumb through the magazines and I heard one of them say, “I passed him on the street the other day and he was talking to himself out loud.” She said it like it was scandalous. Do you know what? Not only do I not mind, I like it! If two sorority chippy investment bankers think I’m strange, then I must be doing something right.

22 thoughts on “Set the way-back machine to 1992

  1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “strange Arabian music” – it just tells the reader you’re not familiar with it. Calling every part of the British Isles “England” is an American solecism well-known in the UK. Have a look at this comedy cameo by the late Kenny Everett.

    • Calling their music strange seems unsophisticated and a little judgmental. That was my mindset at the time. A little judgmental. Identifying someone from Ireland as being British made me feel like the American dope I was. I’d never make that mistake today. I hope.

  2. Oh…..I just love this ‘entry’…..Everything about it is so “human”….I mean that in the best way. I get such a sense of TIME AND PLACE….And who you are at that time and place—AND, in just a few short paragraphs.You know what is interesting to me, coming from my 81–almost 82 year old perspective—how 1992 seems like it was just yesterday—NOT, 21 years ago….I understand that for you, so very much has changed in these twenty-one years, and, I think it is soooo truly wonderful that you have documented your daily life at that time…..I tell you, all of these journals are really precious…! Treasure them, my dear……

    • I read these entries and they seem like another lifetime ago, which it was. My circumstances were so different now that I barely recognize the “me” from back then.The journals are both a treasure and a curse. I still wonder about the wisdom of keeping them around the house.

  3. Funny to think where we have been at different times. In November 1992 I was in South Africa. I should pull out my journals and see if I wrote something on the 16th of November to see what I was doing whilst you were getting a haircut in an Arab barber shop.

    • You have such an interesting, eclectic background. Sometimes I wonder about the wisdom of having spent so many years in New York vs. seeing a bit of the world, as you have. You should absolutely consult your journals and post it, if you have a mind to.

  4. Political correctness has gone barmy if we can’t pronounce music strange. Mind you BO is something else.I wonder how old you were. I’m minded of ‘The graduate.’

  5. His hands were fast-fast and he ran a shop called Golden Fingers? What possessed you to choose this shop I wonder. Hmmm “Anything for the weekend Sir?”Very interesting. I felt I was there.And for the record I talk to myself and answer myself out loud. It’s a sign of genius.

    • I don’t recall the specific reason for choosing this shop but I can pretty much guarantee that it had something to do with lazyness or convenience. I happen to think that talking out loud when nobody is around is more common than we all think. Only the daring few, however, hazard to do it while walking down a crowded Manhattan street. Remember…this was pre-mobile phones with earbuds.

  6. I dont think there’s anything wrong in describing unfamiliar music as strange either. I had to smile at the desription of you being placed firmly in the Friendzone of Doom with Shiela. But you tried, at least. It’s a very familiar story.The whole series is enjoyable UB, and for an outside observer, it’s interesting noticing the common threads in your character then and now (at least as evinced in a blog).

    • At that time I think I was using the word strange in its most derogatory form. Interchangeable with “shitty” as in, that shitty Arab music. Not very nice.I had so many women in my life who only wanted to be friends and nothing more. It was tiresome. Sometimes I’d stare in my bathroom mirror and try to see if I could recognize what was so undesirable.

  7. 1992, the year our first baby was born. She’s gonna be 21 soon (a few weeks!) the house will be wild with singing & dancing & drinking! How quickly the time passes, how strong the children grow in body and mind, how calm the father becomes, how happy he feels having learned to ‘let go’. :¬)

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