Nice girls go heaven; Good girls go everywhere was embroidered on one of the pillows in the store on Madison. It was red with white lettering. Yes, I still can picture it perfectly, many years later. Even remember where it was in the store window. Didn’t want the pillow; it would have looked stupid in my studio, with archway that was really a room, and huge kitchen with medieval appliances. I’m not the embroidered pillow type.
But I promised myself that I wouldn’t turn into a nice girl when I turned 30, or worse, in my 40’s. In the burgeoning Korean groceries on Lexington, I would see shriveled women in their 40’s buying one can of tuna. I was sure that they shared it with the cat.
But after the years of the bum, I didn’t want to be in a relationship. One night stands had lost their luster; and I should have known better in a world where AIDS was first being known. But every six months or so I would be in a club; usually the original Lone Star on lower Fifth Avenue, dance the night away, and meet some handsome stranger who would be a stranger again in the morning.
Lucia and I went out often together. Our favorite restaurant/bar was One Fifth where the drinks were pricey, the appetizers very good, and the men exceptional. Since Lucia and I loved to talk to each other, men flocked to us. Sometimes we would acknowledge them; we would always let them buy us drinks. We really weren’t looking for men and that was the sole reason that they liked us, I think. But we weren’t unfriendly.
Okay I was much of the time. I have made up a list of the bum’s good qualities which I will post. Really need to give him a name. He’s been dead since 1989 so I could use his real name, but I would rather not. Blogging’s good for the bum and me. It’s letting me tell our story slowly and not in order. For years I could only write about the day we met: endless variations of one story.
It took a long time for me to realize that day was so perfect, so filled with life and hope, that I almost had to fixate on it. Ironic that I talk about the hours before we met the most. When my friend who was buying the club where a thousand careers were launched would approach me to tell me that this producer or that musician wanted to meet me, I would just look at him blankly. No wonder his pet name for me was Idiot. At work it was Princess Perfect, because I would tolerate imperfection in anybody but me. Sometimes I would think of myself as the Perfect Idiot Princess.
Of course I am talking about a boy (the soon to be owner) who recently asked me, which bridge he pretended to drive over with his eyes closed, when we were barely out of our teens. He’s still proud of that. Yes, it sometimes makes me laugh. Okay it can crack me up. When Little Luce was ten, she tried to pull that on me when were crossing Broadway, and I didn’t make her hold my hand for the first time, I didn’t fall for it. Her mother would do things like that too. Gawd, I must have auditioned my life long friends, in a past life, for stupid brilliance in playing practical jokes.
Lucia wasn’t in the club, on Sunday, May 20, 1979. She had moved out of town several months earlier though she would pay frequent nocturnal visits to New York during her away years.
Lucia and the bum liked each other a lot. Everybody liked the bum; he was charming. Charmed the pants right off me that first night; Gloria Vanderbilt jeans to be exact. I had stopped at Macy’s on my way to the club and had bought them, changed in the store, and had my Williewear Lavender tiny waisted, flared pants in the Macy’s bag along with the lavender tee with purple leather strings and beads around the piping. So I even had fresh clothes to wear the next morning.
I was a supervisor at Summit then, and we ran into my assistant who couldn’t stop laughing. He had suspected I was more than this ditsy but bright girl who could train anybody. We had hired over a thousand people in the past few months. Almost anybody who wanted the job could
have it. I was literally given the brain damaged and the not quite on this planet people to train; anybody decent would then be taken out so that I could have the next herd. While I was paid more money, I was held to the same standards as every other group, and trained all the supervisors in my division on new methods . Plus the normal supervisory duties. Still I loved my job; I felt like I was helping society, and many of my best friends still worked there or had worked there.
When we had been coders, a bachelor’s degree was the minimum requirement. We were all really actors, writers, and artists waiting for the big break. Hell, James (Angie Ralph’s husband) was waiting to be called to be a fireman. Fortunately he was laid off from Summit, and took the NYU three month computer course with some of the other guys. All are now computer consultants.
The bum belonged in the world that was New York in the late 1970’s. I have always blamed myself harshly for loving him when in reality I have been trying to rewrite history. Not just our personal history, but the history of our time. It’s something that I always accuse other people of doing.