Part 8 – Dat’s All, Folks!

There’s nothing like a wickedly smoking tailpipe to embarrass the hell out of you.

Therefore…Monday through Saturday, D. and the Datsun 510 would drop me off in the vicinity, but not in front, of the East Hampton jewelry store where I worked and then beat it out of there in a smoke screen of blue exhaust.

The upside of the job was lunchtime. Sometimes, I would take my sandwich, hitch a ride to the beach and count the waves breaking on the shore, waiting patiently, again and again, for the arrival of the magical seventh wave.

The Ocean: Mother Nature as therapy.

Thinking, not thinking, thinking, not thinking...

At other times, I’d browse the Bargain Box thrift shop on Main St.

Merchandise meticulously arranged by the persnickety store manager.

The merchandise was meticulously arranged by the prissy store manager who fantasized that it was Saks Fifth Ave.

One day I found a pair of vintage Japanese tabi — uniquely crafted sock-like slippers that separated the big toe from the little ones (see below):

Image these hand-painted with Japanese calligraphy.

Except that the ones I found were vintage and hand-painted with Japanese calligraphy.

The tag said: one dollar! But Mr. Persnicketly didn’t want me to have them. He said they were wrongly priced. I held my ground and repeated: “This is a thrift store. The tag says one dollar,” incessantly, until he caved and rang up the sale. He didn’t like it one bit (I think he wanted them for himself).

Tough. I didn’t care. Because I was living in the moment. And at that moment, the tabi would be mine.

I attributed my newly-found confidence and mantra-esque persistence to transcendental meditation, which I had been practicing for several months. D.’s sign-carving partner, Kevin, a TM practitioner for years, had taught me how.

For twenty minutes, twice each day, I would sit quietly, listen to my breath, acknowledge the thoughts streaming into my mind and then let them go. Kevin even allowed me chose my own mantra (and, thus, saved me some money on a guru).

When I wasn’t sitting and practicing, however, I was planning my escape. I’d had my fill of heaven on earth. I wanted some grit.

I longed for the energy of the city. I missed Manhattan. I missed Jackson Heights. I missed the subway. I missed Indian food and sesame noodles, 24/7.

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Somehow, I would get back to the garden…apartments.

Stay tuned for Part 9: The Dodge Colt — Break-up Car

What I Was Reading: The Snow Leopard (Matthiessen), One Hundred Years of Solitude (Garcia Marquez), The Shining (King), A Confederate of Dunces (Toole), Heartburn (Ephron), The Sheltering Sky (Bowles), a lot of Pablo Neruda poetry.

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