Thursday, September 15, 2016

Queens County Revisited: The 1970's (76)

I can't recall much of what I did during lunch hour for the 6 weeks I was caged in the dictaphone-typist pool at the 100 Centre Street Manhattan Criminal Court building. Working in Midtown Manhattan gave you the option of spending part of your lunch hour in more branches of the New York Public Library, in the central New York Public Library or at the Donnell Library. In Foley Square near the Wall Street area of Manhattan, however, there were fewer branches of the New York Public Library that you could spend part of your lunch hour at.

After buying a hot dog from a street vendor for my lunch on most workdays, I may have spent the rest of my lunch our on only a few occasions walking up to the branch of the New York Public Library that was located in the south west side of Greenwich Village, browsing there for 10 minutes and then walking back to the 100 Centre Street courthouse. But during most lunch hours, I can no longer recall having done anything special when I worked there. Since I didn't start using each lunch hour on 9-to-5 workdays to write my Sundial memoirs of the 1960's manuscript text until the mid-1980's, I likely spent most lunch hours while working in the dictatphone-typist courthouse job just walking around or reading a daily newspaper I might have picked up out of a garbage can, or some paperback book that fit into my jacket pocket or back pocket. One thing I did do differently, though, during the 6 weeks I worked at 100 Centre Street was to take an elevated BMT route from Jamaica into lower Manhattan, rather than just take the E or F train from Jamaica, a number of times.

Before leaving work on the afternoon that I finally was handed, in the courthouse building, my first paycheck after 6 weeks by the dictaphone-typist pool supervisor, the African-American woman co-worker in her 40's, show had been friendly to me and who seemed, like me, to have only taken her job because she needed the money, then kidded me:  "Now that you finally got your first paycheck, be sure to come back to work next week."  Then we both laughed and wished each other a good weekend.

Of course, as soon as I arrived in my basement apartment in Jamaica on the evening of the day I deposited my first paycheck from the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse as a dictaphone-typist for 6 weeks, I typed up a letter to the elderly fellow who had hired me 6 weeks previously. Then I placed the letter and the photo I.D. that I had been given upon being hired by the personnel office of the courthouse, which showed that, as a courthouse employee, I had a legitimate right to go in and out of judges' offices and court work areas with manila envelopes without being questioned, into a stamped envelope, which I immediately mailed. In my brief letter, I indicated that "in order to begin working" at a "higher-paying position in the private sector," I was "regretfully resigning my position" as a dictaphone-typist in the New York County Supreme Court.

In reality, of course, I had neither a "higher-paying position" nor any regrets about resigning. But, given my moral objections to the role of the police, judges and local court system in 1970's New York City society, I just wanted to get the hell out of there--without giving them any indication that I was somebody whom the judges and D.A.'s, Red Squad and cops would likely label "subversive" if I honestly wrote about my moral and political reasons for quitting. 

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