July 1985

dasherMan, are we lucky. I was driving the VW back from a visit to upstate NY in heavy traffic on the Thruway on Monday of the Fourth of July holiday weekend and heard a funny noise. I asked Lou if he heard something, and rolled down my window so we could listen. All the sudden, I heard a loud bang, and the car started spinning. I didn’t see my life flash before my eyes, but I immediately noted that I have never understood the phrase, “turn into the spin.”  Next thing I knew, the car was stopped in the middle lane, facing the wrong way on the NYS Thruway with a flat blown out tire. But amazingly, there was no traffic, and I had pressed the clutch, so the car didn’t stall, and I just hobbled over to the shoulder driving the wrong way. Almost instantaneously after being safely out of the way, there was a horde of traffic again. We got out of the car, I said a little thank you prayer to whoever had just saved us, and Lou got down and dirty in the gravel to put on the tiny spare tire. A police car came by and the officer blocked a lane to stop traffic so we could pull out and get turned around again. We got off at the next exit to buy a new full sized tire. It was a miracle we didn’t have an accident.

The car is full of rust, and barely holding together. While at Stony Brook, the rear bumper simply broke off on one side when a foot had leaned against it for balance. I tied it up with rope, which held well enough, but I swear it nearly got me in deep trouble one night while I was making my weekly trek from Long Island to South Jersey. I was driving along and noticed an 18-wheeler come up beside me, drop back, and the driver started honking the horn and flashing headlights behind me. Knowing my bumper was attached by silly string, I pulled over to the side of highway, assuming the frantic beeping and flashing lights were to signal a problem to me. I got out of the car, and looked around, seeing nothing extraordinary besides the rope, which still securely held the bumper in place. The 18-wheeler also pulled over and stopped, and the driver got out and quickly started walking toward me. I was about to ask him what he saw wrong with my vehicle, when he called out, “Hey, darling!” I immediately read he was not a Good Samaritan after all, and just threw my hands up and yelled at him for making me pull over for nothing. I got back in the car, locked the doors, and pulled out before he could get close enough to do any harm. I don’t know if he really thought that he could pick up a woman that way, or if he would have snatched me up if given the chance. I’m just glad I didn’t have to find out.

I miss really Stony Brook. I had a lot of friends there by the time I left. Those 11 weeks when Lou was living here in Jersey and I was back on Long Island were absolutely great. After I was done with homework and projects, I went out just about every night with a group of friends and typically hung out at a Mexican bar drinking Margaritas. Yum. A girlfriend moved in with me, so I wasn’t alone at home either. I kept myself entertained so I wasn’t sitting around moping about Alan, and we eventually were able to be more comfortable as friends again. But it wasn’t the same by any means. I stayed busy and made sure to not have time to think about it.

Now that I’ve moved here, I feel isolated since I don’t know anyone. This apartment is OK, and it is nice to have the bigger color television again. I’m going to Rutgers in Camden, NJ for the last few needed credits for graduation. I made the mistake of taking the subway to get to the college the first day. It was convenient, but when I came up the stairs from the underground to the street, I had no idea where I was. The neighborhood looked really tough, and I clearly stood out as someone who didn’t belong. The first thing I noticed was a group of guys, most would assume to be thugs or punks, who had stopped whatever they had been doing to just look at me. Instead of moving away, I decided to just go directly over and ask them for help. I was nice to them and they were really nice to me back, and showed me exactly where I needed to go. I do firmly believe that you should assume the best of people. Lou says I’m a Polly Anna. I’d rather be disappointed by the bad stuff than surprised by the good stuff in life.

I’m sending out resumes now for jobs in Philadelphia and South Jersey. Looking at the ads in the paper, most of the programmer jobs require COBOL experience, which they did not teach us in school. They taught us Pascal, and programming languages in general, which included a little bit of COBOL, but not much. That’s going to be an issue. I know I can learn any language, and that I’m an awesome programmer. I ways got A’s, and made Phi Beta Kappa. Intel wanted me, so I am hoping that it was a good sign that there will be something for me here also.

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