More fun from the store.
December 14, 1994
Laura called and that made me happy. She’s got a boyfriend now—a devilishly handsome med student—and I was pretty sure she’d dump me but that hasn’t happened. Yet. She was eating dinner while we spoke—a bowl of rice. She’s so broke that she can’t afford proper groceries. Right after I hung up, Cindy came over. She gave me a little bamboo box that was filled with condoms. She said she’s through with men. [Note: A decision that, 20 years later, has stuck.] I don’t know why she gave them to me. She knows I don’t have anyone. Plus, she knows I hate condoms.
I lost my assignment at Sudler. I came in at 8:30 and the doors in the elevator lobby were all locked. I got tired of waiting for someone to show up and let me in so I picked the lock on the mailroom door with my pocket comb. Someone saw me coming out of the mailroom and tattled. It was a stupid thing to do. Tattle, that is. I hated it, anyway. The relationship I had with that agency is ruined, so I’m sorry about that.
I found a new assignment right away. Unemployed on Friday. Back to work on Monday. I’m at Lehman Brothers on the 4:00-midnight shift. The hours are terrible but the offices are beautiful, the people are all freaks and the pay is good. My window looks out onto the crown of the Woolworth Building. In A Farewell to Arms, Lieutenant Henry tells Catherine he’s going to bring her to New York to see the Woolworth Building. My view beyond that is the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River. It gets dark about an hour after I start work. I sit at my desk and watch the city slowly light-up.
Pete, who sits next to me, is an undersexed single male who espouses astonishingly sophomoric views about women. On the other side of me is Karen, who I’m already in love with. That didn’t take long. It never does. When she gets up from her desk, Pete always comments on her breasts—one time referring to them as “watermelons”—and makes the most bizarre claims. He said she’s a big tease who stands in front of a full-length mirror at home and practices provocative poses just to torture us. I’m tortured, alright, but I doubt she’s that calculating. My supervisor is a huge Jamaican woman who likes to mama everyone and protect us from the asshole investment bankers. I love her.
January 4, 1995
I missed a few weeks because I broke my back. I got up off the kitchen stool funny and twisted it. I went to work and the next morning I woke up paralyzed with pain. A stabbing pain like I’ve never experienced before. Unimaginable agony. I’ve lost weight because I couldn’t get out of bed to go to the kitchen for something to eat. I had to crawl on my hands and knees from room to room and wept for days. At one point, I pulled myself up on the bathroom sink and looked in the mirror. My eyes were puffy and red and my nose was running. My face was so sad and my expression so pathetic that it made me weep even harder.
I spent a lot of time on the floor self-medicating. One night, it got so bad I took several ibuprofen, drank almost an entire bottle of Champagne intended for New Year’s Eve and smoked some weed. I was completely numb. The pot made me paranoid (as usual). I was convinced that even the slightest movement would exacerbate the pain ten-fold, so I laid there on the floor like a stone for HOURS and didn’t so much as wiggle a pinky.
I finally crawled to the TV and turned on Howard Stern. He was interviewing Chuck Norris and bamboozled him. Norris was defending his TV show, Walker: Texas Ranger, against charges that it’s too violent and should be yanked off the air. While Norris argued that the accusations were wildly overblown, Stern would cut away and intersperse scenes from the show that were so horrifically violent that I started laughing and hurt my back again.
I enjoy my solitude. I’m irresponsible and immature. I’m barely employable. Nobody seems to want me, but none of that bothers me. I don’t have to make any compromises and I’m happy. But this has been a sobering episode. There was nobody around to help me. To be with me and make me some soup. I was on the floor for days and nobody knew. I was broken by the pain in my back but also by how utterly alone I was.
I’m still wearing a back brace and had to use a cane for two weeks, which was a weird experience. I’d walk down Houston and people would make room for me. I got to sit in the gimp seat on the M21 and when I dropped my newspaper, some show-off with a good back picked it up for me. I couldn’t masturbate for almost two weeks. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore so I did it while lying perfectly still. Try jacking-off without moving your body. It’s not that easy.
NYC wildlife parade. I was having my morning coffee in Bryant Park and these two guys strolled by.
This peregrine falcon alighted on a beam outside my office window on the 51st Floor. Manhattan is good to falcons. Unlimited shelter and food supplies. She was teaching her eyasses how to dive bomb for pigeons. First her, then her young one would follow. We could hear her screech.