the room couldnít
be bigger than eight feet by 10 feet. itís $34 a night; the
cheapest room in the martinque hotel and iíve got less than
$100 left in my entire bankroll. gads. iíve got to find a
i pull on the broadcloth button
down that i bought on sale at some bargain clothing store
in grand central station and struggle with the collar
buttons that donít quite line up and wonder how much
more expensive a brooks brothers shirt could be anyway...
iím out the door, through
the lobby and out the 33rd street exit ...gonna
be a hot one...the only suit i own is this lightweight
brownish acrylic 3-button...would love to be wearing
light khaki with maybe a vest but theyíre so expensive.
i mean iím pleased to be on my own, but who knew it was
going to cost this much?!
iíve been in new york city
for two weeks straight now; back to pennsylvania every
once in a while to see mom and dad (itís only a two hour
train trip) and though iíve had a few offers from the
folks that iíve met while working with TEMPORARY MANPOWER
theyíve been for filing or clerical jobs and i canít
even remember what the product was that the folks handled!
i had a good interview with a camera shop down in the
wall street area and i most probably will be called back
next week...but gads, iím gonna need something today
just to be able to afford to be here next week...
but, i gotta admit, perhaps
itís the sense of security from being able to type 45
words per minute, but somewhere in the back of my mind
thereís this whispering awareness that even if i have
to go back to allanís and try to get my old job, itís
only a matter of time...i pick up a new york times newspaper,
buy a hot cup of new york cityís blackest and retreat
into the corner booth of the coffee shop to scan the
camera, camera...uh, sales, sales, shop...nah, same old
names...letís check under photographic...photo, photo,
uh...photo engraving...photo chemical...photographic...wait,
what was that...ah...cormac chemical 5th avenue
and 14th street...
"iím here to see somebody
about the job offered in the paper...", i seem to
be the only one in the waiting area. i look at my watch.
well, it could be lunch time for most people... the receptionist
reaches into one of the drawers in her desk and pulls
out a form.
"fill this out, please",
she says without looking and taking out my ballpoint
i turn back to the narrow couch. i lift my attache case
to my lap and begin filling out the form. iím a little
uncertain when it asks for my residence.
the typing stops.
"yeah hon?" she
turns from her desk and glances over at me. sheís chewing
gum. involuntarily my jaw muscles twitch. i can tell
that part of me thinks i should be chewing something.
"uh...where it says residence...does
that mean residence while iím currently in new york or
a more permanent residence where iím from in pennsylvania?"
"uh...", she looks
down at the back of her left hand. she turns it over
for a better look at her nails. i try to stop my jaw
from moving in time with hers. "why doncha see if
you can fit both of em in there...", she retrieves
a nailfile from next to the typewriter and gives me an
arched eyebrow, "ok, sweetie?".
"yeah, thanks..." i
look back to the form and, as listening to the several
loud cracks from her gum above the resumed typing, i
am able to escape from the almost overwhelming desire
i donít know the address for
the martinique but remember that iíve got a note or two
written to myself on their stationary in my attache case.
no problem. my folks address in pennsylvania. no problem.
previous experience, no problem. i break into a smile
when it asks me to list my duties for each one of the
jobs...i mean, working in birmingham and then for allanís,
from advertising to sweeping the store...what could there
be that i havenít done?!
itís a single page application
form and i finish it within a couple of minutes and hand
"you wait right there,
darlin" she says and i return to the couch.
there are no magazines here...some
brochures about photocopying machines scattered on the
floor. i gather they must have been left by some unsuccessful
salesman. i open my briefcase and pull out the new york
times again. Ďmaybe a newspaper jobí, i muse.
a buzzer goes off and the
door near the receptionists window opens. a man who identifies
himself as mister dohrmann shakes hands with me and sits
down on the couch.
"i think thereís been
some mistake", he says pointing to my form which
heís holding at knee level.
"you donít seem to have
any of the qualifications weíre looking for."
itís stated so flatly, so
coldly...i feel the color begin to rise in my face...and
here i thought i was mister hot-shot...gads...
"i wonder..." he
continues, "do you have the exact ad you were responding
"well, sure", i
reach open up the times to the section under
photography and, as i pass
it to him, i see finally that itís an ad calling for
photoCOPY and NOT photoGRAPHIC chemical sales experience!
"iím afraid we really
need someone particularly with photocopy sales experience.
but, you know...itís odd...", he looks up at me
briefly. "would you mind just waiting a moment or
in less than a minute heís
back through the door with a smile on his face. i stand
to meet him.
"the company has just
created a new branch that specializes in photographic
chemicals and though we werenít going to interview for
at least another two weeks, the president needs an assistant
- someone comfortable with photographic terms and with
some minimal clerical skills...not exactly a salesman...but
a beginning...would you be interested in speaking with
"sure", i reply
and as i thread my way between the desks, iím thinking
to myself...iíve been here before. oh, not actually here...and
not even a normal deja vue (if deja vueís can be thought
of as normal)...no, i mean itís like a spiritual deja
vue...a door that wasnít supposed to open HAS opened
and once again, by some coincidence beyond my conception,
iíve begun my new york city life.