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Having a Bloody Mary (with extra olives, as I’m a bit hungry) at some nondescript chain restaurant while trying to overcome the feeling that because of my present circumstances I should not be here. I’m dressed adequately, however, in a brown tweed sport coat and a checked, dark pink Nautica button down, heavy starch. My jeans are dark and tailored, with freshly polished penny loafers, no socks.


Obviously, writing in this journal is a part of my increasingly evolved defenses. I purposely appear busy and engaged huddled over this journal, and hopefully even more innocuous. My hope is that it looks as if I have a reason to be here.

I look up once, twice, three times, to find a woman looking my way. It’s the act of writing in a journal, I’m sure.

I feel embarrassed about this, but I might walk across the parking lot to Barnes and Noble in a moment for a vinte cappuccino. I have twenty-five dollars in my wallet, not enough for a book, certainly, but ,enough for a coffee and The New York Times, perhaps.

I feel that I have no right to be even in this place, although of course there is nothing even remotely remarkable about this or any other chain restaurant. I’m trying to remember my own advice: act as if you’ve been here before. Act as if you belong.

I should have brought along a book. I have a few with me on this trip. When do I not have a book?

I’ve had much better Blood Mary’s, of course. But I’ve enjoyed this one regardless. Or, more accurately, I tried to enjoy it as much as I could. We will leave it at that.

I’m in one of those desperate calculations which only the impoverished truly understand. I might have a cup of soup, but only if the barkeep asks if there’s anything else I need. I don’t have the confidence, or the money, to order anything else on my own.