So, while I am waiting to get going with this, I finally get a Saturday morning off of work, so that I can go down to the city on a Friday night for Jim Meyer’s Holiday party.  He is living in a Columbia University subsidized apartment building right over by the Cotton Club on 125th Street and the West Side Highway.

So I drive on down there on Friday night and gradually get more and more drunk as the night wears on, and keep talking to an old girlfriend and prospects are looking fairly good for some lovin’ before the night is through.

So, on one trip into the bathroom, I check out the medicine cabinet for some mouthwash, and there is a little travel bottle of Scope Clear (or so I thought).  I down a mouthful and start to gargle when I realize that something is seriously wrong with the taste of this mouthwash.  I spit it out and go running out to find Meyer.

“Jimmy, what was in that Scope bottle in the bathroom?”

“I don’t know, ask my wife.”

So I find Bonita, “Bonita, what was in that Scope bottle in the bathroom?”

“Nail polish remover,” she answers, like everyone keeps nail polish remover in a Scope bottle in their bathroom.

But this little mishap somehow does not prevent my impending romantic entanglement, and so now for the next four months I will be spending my weekends in Queens in the shadow of the Triborough Bridge.

This was the beginning of 1994, a winter of particular discontent when it snowed seemingly eight inches every couple of days and my stepfather again began freaking out on me, and finally in March, I must get out of the house, and run up to Lake George for a very drunken weekend, one of the last times I remember waking up drunk on a Sunday morning, something which used to happen with alarming regularity in my younger days.  This is the first weekend I don’t go down to Queens and is the beginning of the end of my second-time-around relationship.

I get an interview at a 12-step Recovery High School in Vermont the following week as my stepfather has now decreed that he wants me out of the house immediately.

I get an interview, but no job.  I had gotten some job leads from the BIA, the most promising of which seemed to be the Mogollon Reservation in Arizona.  I applied for my Arizona certification and spoke with the Business Manager at the Mogollon High School a number of times as he strung me along all that spring.

Several weeks later, on a Thursday in April, the lady in my life calls me in the afternoon as I am on my way out to work to tell me that Kurt Cobain has died, and she’s excited like a news anchor would be about a big story.

Me, I’m depressed beyond words, in fact I cry a little on the way to work when I hear the DJ say the words “Kurt Cobain – dead at 27.”

But my lady friend is just as perky as ever, and at this point starts driving me up a wall – several weeks later, after we finally break up for good, I will take a hit of acid at a keg party, drink myself insensate and sit in a chair by myself for several hours until I am helped to bed by a caring soul.

The night after she calls me re Cobain’s death, we go to see Black 47 at some kind of fundraiser for the Tuscon 6, Irishmen who had been busted gunrunning in Tucson, Az.  The following night, me and Jefferson go to see Liz Phair, Jeff on crutches as he had fallen three stories from his fire escape on St. Patrick’s Day.

After his fall, I had been making trips down to help him get his shopping done, and wash his dishes, in exchange for good weed, dinner, and Sierra Nevada Pale Ales.  I made him a tape of Exile in Guyville (which I had bought in Oklahoma City when I was there the previous fall, just prior to the Thanksgiving week bacchanal) backed with Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.   He was extremely grateful, and managed to get us tickets for Liz Phair, although we didn’t realize that it would end up being two days after the Cobain suicide.

So the job search continued that spring with another mass mailing.  This time it was 150 resumes including all the schools in the seven counties from Westchester up to Albany along with the reservation schools I had addresses for.  This year, I believe I had TWO interviews, and by the middle of July, things are getting dicey.

My last hope had been the Mogollon High School, but I finally got a definite no from them early in the summer.

So, I call up the 12-Step Recovery High School in the Vermont and get another interview, as there is now another principal.

I remember from the previous interview that there are RULES.  Such as no drinking, no smoking (or tobacco of any kind), no drugs, and this is just the beginning.  I later find out that I will need to replace half of my wardrobe as the slightest rip or defect in a piece of clothing renders it unwearable during work hours – which will alternate between 55 hours a week and 85 hours a week until the summer months, when instead of summer vacation, we will work  7 days a week, 14 hours a day (for a Dickensian 98 hour work week).  All this for $14,000 and room and board (What and leave show business?).  So I come on back from the interview on a Friday night, and I’VE GOT A JOB!

I run into a lot of people that night and so stay out late drinkin and celebrating and then Jeff shows up out of nowhere around 2am and he’s off crutches by this point and he’s staying out at his family’s mansion and they’re away, so let’s go party, this is my last all night cocaine binge and I thank god for that, and as such it is not so bad as some of the past all nighters and I get to sleep without too much trouble right around sunrise because, finally, three and a half years after I left my job in San Francisco to become a teacher, I had a full-time job.

(Down East, Maine  September 1998)

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