Beating my head against the millstone

 

February 25, 1982

 

It doesnít take a lot to realize how stupid Iíve been.

Fotomat?

This is absurd.

I canít even consider taking a job like that.

So I think, maybe I should become a baker again Ė a nice, comfortable and messy job, one that can keep me in food, clothing and housing for the rest of school.

Why not?

If I have to work, why should I have to learn all the garbage these people in Fotomat want to teach me: become a computer overnight?

Love photographs, customers, and freezing in a tiny little booth at the remote end of some shopping mall parking lot?

Then this job is for you.

Sure, you get great services as an employee: half price on film processing, a third off the cost of film.

But you canít eat film, and lately, the cost of food has taken on Grendel-like proportions.

It just wonít do.

So I air here (lay here actually under a ton of blankets) and ponder my options.

I could go back and beg entrance to the Willowbrook [Mall} prison I just escaped. But that seems drastic and degrading Ė especially to some of the staff who would like to see me humiliated. I had left with idea that I might make a living as a writer and so got a bit haughty. Lesson one: never get haughty when youíre always on the verge of starvation.

I could consider going back to the Paterson Dunkin (which has a new staff and less violent night time conditions since I last worked there Ė fleeing last when bullets decorated the front window along with the Christmas display).

Ah, such evil choices one must make when it comes to choosing work Ė personal freedom vs. being a wage slave.

Yes, I get more of my own stuff done when Iím not elbow deep in donut dough Ė more research, and writing, better engaged in my art. But how is art served if I starve?

Besides, the first draft of my current novel is done, and the second draft just begun Ė and Iím already stumped, seeking inspiration and originality in that block by block rewriting process that shapes into a world war inside my head. How long before I can sell anything, I canít say, but I know Iíll need to eat before I can.

I need food, clothing, and housing Ė the three evils that haunt me always, as silly as that sounds.

These days, I envy Pauly even more and how he somehow manages to do what he wants when he wants, somehow working around these three ghosts when I cannot.

After three months of living the bohemian life: of writing and school, my vacation ends and I must once more play the game and rebuild the foundations of my life.

For all my isolation, Iím mostly depressed from such a slim existence.

I suppose Iíll organize the proper boxes and paste the proper addresses on the front.

Fotomat, ha!

Thereís so much pointless stuff to learn and too many regulations.

Garbage.

So if theyíll take back this prodigal son, Iíll go back. Iíll feast on labor.

I suppose we all have to find importance in certain channels. Bohemianism is not for me (Not that I didnít or wouldnít enjoy more).

But reality steps in and Iím not the first victim.

So back to work, slave! Back to the flour and the world of imitation baking.

The times are hard enough without beating my head against the millstone.

So Dunkin Donuts here I come.


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