The job market scene was pretty strange. I was unfamiliar with it. For one thing you had to have clothes. All the other jobs I had got, except for the one at the department store, had required only that a person show up not naked. But the interviews for jobs at the big convention required that a person dress up. Well, actually I suppose you could have turned up wearing jeans and a t-shirt but you would not have made a favorable impression.
Fortunately Aunt Susan, as part of her attempt to recognize my accomplishments and make my mother feel like a piker, had bought me some clothes. She had bought me a suit, but it was a real 70’s thing and not right for the interviews. But she had got me shoes and a shirt or two and a belt, and I went and bought a jacket and some slacks so I looked OK. But OK was it. I didn’t and don’t know anything about clothes but I could tell that some of those people at those conventions were really, really dressed up. They looked sharp and the clothes weren’t cheap. For some reason, the conventions in NY were the worst; people had these wonderful looking overcoats for the colder weather.
Not that how I dressed made much difference since mostly I stayed holed up in my room for the duration coming out only for an interview or to walk around whatever city I was in. And for that I wore the usual. I hadn’t traveled at all, except from the south to California and that was when I was ten years old. I had been on a jet plane before for some reason, so that was not completely new.
The first convention I went to was in NY. To save money I took the red eye. That was one huge plane with hardly anybody on it. I didn’t sleep a wink and arrived before dawn at Kennedy. I didn’t know how to work the subway so I got on a tram that deposited me at the Port Authority. It was freaking dark. And the only people around were bums, so I started looking and found a spot where taxis were hanging out, and got in one and told the driver where I wanted to go, and acted like I knew what I was doing though that was the first time I had been in a taxi.
The hotel was the Hilton, and of course, when I got there, my room was not available; I was a bit startled since I was not completely familiar with check in and check out times. I didn’t know what I was going to do, till a clerk said helpfully they could store my stuff till my room opened up around 11. So there I was at around 7 in the morning, dead on my fucking feet, with five hours till I could lie down.
So I went out walking and looking for a place to eat and I found a deli with lots of small tables and people sitting around reading the paper and eating bagels and drinking coffee, so I went in got a paper, a bagel, a coffee and sat down. I liked the place. It was well lit and warm. I folded up my overcoat and put it over the back of a chair. I hadn’t noticed that other people were hanging their overcoats on racks by the door. When in Rome do exactly what the Romans do because when I went to leave I saw somebody had stepped on the tail of overcoat and left a long black mark on the London Fog my aunt had bought for me.
God, this must have been 1982.