So I get my MA with a dissertation on Henry-the fuck-James and I go to work to get out of the hole by applying to jobs at community colleges. I get a couple of classes to cover for a professor who got cancer and I get another job at a federal program, I think it was, working with the sons and daughters of migrant workers. I am acting you know optimistically like something positive is going to happen and I will get my ass out of the hole in the PU’s basement. So I am working to get a bankroll in case I have to cover moving expenses and first and last months rent. Because at that point about all I have to my name is a few pairs of jeans, some blue work shirts, some pretty crappy looking underwear, a typewriter, and a Volkswagen. A pile of books and no credit.
So these are disco days and people do happy hour. A bunch of us working at the sons and daughters of migrant workers, men and women, on Fridays would go out and get a little wasted and move on to a disco place or some bar somewhere or other where they had music and dance. Now, I am not a natural born dancer. Along with all the other social stuff I missed in high school I missed all the sock hops and such, and even in college I didn’t do the mixer thing. Looking back I see I had missed the central ingredient for experiencing such social occasions and that was a good bit of alcohol. But once I figured out the drinking part, the dancing stuff wasn’t all that hard.
There were three or four women who worked at the sons and daughters of migrant workers thing. And to say that I was looking, after seven years of no company but my good right hand, doesn’t quite describe my state of mind. This was something deeper than simple horniess. If I may recapitulate, I had a nervous breakdown and had a whole bunch of pretty odd jobs and slowly, very slowly I began to emerge from the hole. There I was—or here I am—nearly thirty years old, with no money, living in a hole under my arents’ house, not exactly stylishly attired, and at moments looking like I had crawled out from under a rock, and the idea that a woman might even look at me with some interest was like a fucking miracle.
What do you know but I sensed just some such interest on the part of one co-worker. Mary, she was. Although I guess to get my attention she nearly had to hit me over the head with a rock. I won’t say she threw herself at me, but something nearly knocked me over. She was my age, and looked sort of like me in a general sense. She was a woman of course, and I wasn’t but she was thin and boney, like me, and white, and had beautiful auburn hair that was prettier than mine. And she liked to get drunk and laugh. She had a good sense of humor and a good laugh that was sort of a burbling giggle. Well, I liked it anyway.
So assisted by generous quantities of wine, as they say, one thing led to another, and seven years of wondering whether I would ever have sex again were over and I thought damn I am back on the road to being a normal human being. I was wrong of course, but the delusion felt pretty good at the time.