Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Saturday May 3

Suffered this morning an una-
voidable pain having tooth extract-

Went to dance of 2nd Zionist
dance at Webster Hall, I sat
in a rather sad mood but
later in the evening I have
been introduced to a girl
who was with me to the end,
She trusted me to implicitly

She is to much of a plain girl
But I've made with her two
appointments, I will relieve
a little of my loneliness, She
is a pretty girl.


Matt's Notes

Papa never seems to like the women he meets at Webster Hall (he went to a Zionist ball there earlier in the year and got turned off by the "wild women" and "jazz babies" in attendance) though I'm not sure how he could have enjoyed himself at all on this day after having a tooth pulled. (What was it like for him to get dental work done. Did he find a dentist through his union or one of his immigrant support societies? Did he get his tooth pulled in the living room of someone's apartment, in a clean, well-lit office, or did he have to wait hours in a clinic filled with other people from the neighborhood? I'm stuck on the image of Papa sitting in a chair with his tooth tied to a doorknob by a length of string, but I imagine facilities were a little more sophisticated back then.)

This entry again shows us that Papa's bouts of extraordinary loneliness (yesterday's mediation on solitude was one of his saddest) were due not to any sort of social isolation but rather to something more deeply rooted and, alas, not as easy to get rid of as a bad tooth. Even his evaluation of the woman he met at Webster Hall feels muddy and conflicted: She's both plain and pretty; she's trusts him, but "to implicitly"; he doesn't really like her but makes two dates with her anyway. Such ambivalence is, of course, not uncommon for single young men. His ongoing pattern of dating and dissatisfaction would almost be fodder for a good light comedy if only we didn't know how privately pained he was.

I remember now that I once took a quick look at Papa's diary when I was in college and saw one or two passages about his intense loneliness, how his sense of isolation resisted, persisted amidst, the bustle of life in 1920's New York. I also remember thinking I knew how it felt, and for that reason I needed to revisit the diary one day. Now, when I read his saddest passages, I feel the urge to send him notes from his future to tell him everything turned out okay. Did I think his diary was a note from my future when I read it years ago? Do I still?