No choice


January 13, 1984


It’s Friday the thirteenth and all is not wall.

Well enough with me – outside the normal problems.

But I keep looking over my shoulder at 1983 and wondering how I managed to survive, remembering how 1983 started with the car crash up in Mahwah when we went to the state park there, and some idiot – staring at a jogger instead of the road – smacked into the back of Fran’s car. Her’s was a 1965 model. So her car survived while the jeep did not – although we did have to call Garrick to come pick us up after her car got towed to the shop.

The year ended on a similar sour note with me being angry at Pauly.

Bill – Fran’s alternative boyfriend – pissed me off, too, when tagged along with me and Fran to see Louise and Ruby, and decided if I was making it with the girl, he wanted, he would make it with Louise.

Fran doesn’t help, running to him each time we run into some difficulty.
And yet what makes 1984 work at all is the concept of love in all its manifestations, and its political interest such as Reagan’s ordering of the invasion of
Granada after losing all those marines in Lebanon.

The cold war is still hot and we still live under the threat of annihilation via Soviet missiles.

1983 was a year when Dr. Thomas – my myth and literature professor – decided to analyze me, while all I wanted was someone to evaluate my writing, and to somehow find a place in this thing we call civilized society.

I took steps forward and back, taking up a job baking again after I vowed not to go back there.

It was a year in which my uncle Ritchie came and went, and returned again, full of his suicidal urges that kept him going to Graystone.

There is a pattern of behavior in all this that would thrill Dr. Thomas if I was in the mood to satisfy his ungodly curiosity.

But it is difficult enough for me to see the patterns and to deal with them, let alone letting some stranger into my head to evaluate them for me.

Pauly haunts me because he lives with me, having his own issues, and his own sense of rejection, and in turn, I am just a little bit jealous that my ex-girlfriend – who I ached to come back to me – came back for him instead, only for him to reject her.

Back when she and I dated, I saw myself as the central figure in her life; I have become a shadow again, one of the boys.

I suppose it is better to remain friends than to lose touch completely, but it still stings.

Garrick is amused by her – and alarmed, struck by how she can stomp back into our lives with hip boots, and alarmed by just how forthright she is, and how determined to get what she wants in the world.

Yesterday, she called Pauly from out of state. She was drunk, and for the first time, I saw just how phony a face she has presented us, and how easily hurt, and perhaps how desperate she is to be with one of us because she envies us and the life we lead, even though we are all generally broke and have hardly lived up to what we thought we should be by this time in our lives.

I guess she sees us as her extended family. She is only a little foolish for being so impressed by us.

We live like we do because we have no choice, bohemians out of necessity not choice. And I can’t help but get the feeling that she is slumming when she comes calling, and is blind to the fact that we are stuck with each other through all these years, somehow managing to survive, and looking ahead to 1984, I do not see anything changing radically in that regard.




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