It was about 1977 while I was still at Adelphi University, working part-time as a secretary and I had my own awful apartment in a house. The woman I rented from was weird and would go into my apartment and inspect my belongings when I wasn’t home. I knew she had been there because she would tell me. She would accost me as soon as I came home from work to chat. Damn. I did not want to chat with this woman. I wanted to go up to my apartment and escape. I just wanted to escape. I always wanted to escape anything and everything and here was this woman making idle chatter in the downstairs hallway while I wanted to go wash my face and then stuff it with food or wine. But this woman whose name I cannot remember would go on and on; did she think I moved in to be her friend? And I was so easygoing and naïve that I didn’t say anything to her about the inappropriateness of her walking around the apartment that I paid rent for inspecting things. I actually really didn’t care, I didn’t have much. I only had what would fit in my piece-of-crap 1970 black and gold Pontiac Firebird when I moved out of my foster home shortly after my 19th birthday; so what was she looking for? I had no food in the refrigerator, and I never cooked. I was on my own for the first time in my adult life, and I had no idea what I was doing. I would empty a can of soda and fill it with wine, drive my Firebird into New York City just to be in the City. The doors to the Firebird were heavy and if the street curb was high the door would scrape against the curb and drag because the car was so low to the ground. My racecar. Blasting The Commodore’s Brickhouse out the windows, driving by myself down 42nd Street in Manhattan when 42nd Street had XXX movie theatres, hookers and pimps on the streets, peep shows, GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS!!!!, drug dealers and all the crime a girl could ogle in one night.
One night I drive into the city after midnight. I was driving on the east side in the twenties heading uptown sitting at a red light, just cruising. A police car pulled up next to me. The cop rolled down his window. I guess he wanted to say something, so I rolled down my window. “Where are you going Miss?” “Just driving” I smiled. “Nice car” he said. He was a fairly young cop, Italian or Latin. I don’t remember if he was with another cop or not. The road was empty. Not another car on the street. “Wanna race” he asked. I laughed. I said “I’ll beat you but you’ll give me a ticket.” “No no, I won’t, we’ll race to the next two blocks.” He put on the siren, we raced and I won. Now that I think about it, he wasn’t alone because he asked me if I wanted to go have a drink – those were the days when a girl could have a drink legally at 19. “Sure” I said, with the wine already in my blood, I was ready for more. The cop told me to meet him at a hotel. Stupid girl. I just drove there without a thought, parked and went to the front of the hotel to wait for the cop. I look around the hotel and realize it’s an SRO ….Single Room Occupancy otherwise known as a welfare hotel/fuck-for-one-hour-for-cheap hotel. Damn. Crappy cop. This is not the classiest guy. He meets me. Now I see him out of the cop car and he is short – 5’4”? Oh, whatever. We’ll hang out and party. The guy at the front desk waves him up. Yeah, yeah…arrangements with cops. Nice – not! The room is actually very clean – it has a big bedroom and big livingroom. Copboy tries to kiss me. I’m thinking, you gotta be kidding me – I want to dance! I want more wine, I want music! Let’s party! I put on the radio. The Village People come on. Macho Man! Oh my God! This is my favorite song! Let’s dance! I start dancing. Copboy gets up and tries to dance with me. He is so lame at dancing. He is really just groping me but I’m pushing him away and telling him to just dance. This is too damn funny, and all I want is more wine and to put the music louder. Copboy is getting frustrated at my lack of attention. He sits on the couch. He just sits there. I dance and dance. Copboy sees that I’m not going to kiss him or do anything else so he tells me it’s time to leave. “Ok” I smile, and with that, I just grab my keys and say thanks and leave.
I could not live in that house with that woman for long. I also could not keep that Firebird for long. I drove it headfirst into a van at 40mph and I’m blessed not to be dead. No, I wasn’t drinking when I had the car accident. I was lost. I was lost and I was on a two-way service road next to the Grand Central Parkway that I thought was a one-way road. BAM! CRUNNNNNNNNCCCCCCHHHH! The signature low-long front hood of my black and gold Firebird, with its big Gold “FireBird” emblazoned on the hood, was now crunched up accordion style toward the windshield of my car, and of course, I did not have my seatbelt on. No one hurt; at least that is what I thought. The police drove me home to my apartment in Flushing, Queens, where I had moved to from Long Island. The car was towed away. The van and its two passengers were completely fine. The weekend passed in a fog. I moved around my apartment in a fog and went to work on Monday. I was working in an office as a secretary, and I pulled out the drawer to a file cabinet to get some papers; as I pulled out the drawer I went down. I passed out on the floor and opened my eyes sometime later to my co-workers looking at me with concern, “you’re going to the hospital and we are taking you there now.” I was in the hospital for a week with a concussion. The neurologist was amazed that I had two perfectly symmetrical black eyes; I was not amused. My car was totaled and the tow truck company told me they would waive the tow fee if I gave them the car for scrap metal. Oh just great. I owe my foster parents $1,000 for a car I no longer have.