Chatting with Joyce Carol Oates

I guess I’m in name-dropping mode: I just had an impromptu conversation on the train platform with Joyce Carol Oates. The conversation was about the evils of New Jersey Transit. She asked why the train station’s waiting room was closed. I launched immediately into my denunciatory lecture on the immorality of NJT’s policy of closing their waiting rooms when homeless people begin to use them. This wasn’t virtue signaling. I came across like a lunatic.

She asked me if I was a professor. A whole story welled up inside me, threatening to break free. I was tempted to tell her that I used to be one, but that shit had happened, and that as a result, I no longer was, and that we now tragically had something in common.

“No,” I said. “I collect medical bills.”

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