In the post below, Mrs. Mogul points out my age in her comment. Thanks, appreciate that.
She had known when I figured out what high school she went to. It’s for people with much talent in art. Lucia, my best friend, is another graduate. Mrs. M and I play the New York game. You can find out almost everything about a fellow New Yorker with just a few good questions.
Every city must have the “who are you, in five questions or less,” game. Not needed in small towns. In New York it’s essential to survival. Though I met The Bum at the club, and the owner, my friend, asked many questions of The Bum and Lucinda, the unkown gravely voiced Louisiana singer who was his friend, back on May 20, 1079.
We didn’t consider it strange that The Bum’s friend was a woman, and mine a straight male. We’ve played many roles in each others lives. Neither of us had ever expected him to play matchmaker. That was unexpected, and the owner asked the right questions. But we knew nothing about New Orleans; we were New York. He was downtown cool and I was uptown constantly slumming, because I was too cool for the East Side. there was a club or two on each block on First Avenue and almost as many on Second Avenue but they had the appeal of of riding a bike with the training wheels still on. Men had gold chains, polyester shirts, and hairy chests. Even if they didn’t I think they’d paste some on.
It sounds strange to say that I didn’t live to be hit on. I found it to be gross, intrusive and why wasn’t I home reading? Men, boys, guys, don’t care what you call them, were like giant gnats to be swatted. And I did.
I was a supervisor for a long term temporary document coding project. There were hundreds of men: straight and gay; it didn’t matter. I spent my days secure in the knowledge that I was liked and many times longed for. At night I wanted to be alone with my friends, or with my friends downtown where men wouldn’t run up to me, and I would feel the whirl of being caught in the spin cycle of the washing machine. Don’t know how else to explain the anxiety my body felt then.
But then The Bum entered my life, and on that Friday a six year old crossed the street to go to school by himself. This week was the 26th anniversary of Etan Patz’s disapearance. I think about him every year at this time. Downtown streets were covered with posters; he was so adorable. May he better somewhere better, and his family have found some peace.