I put my two postcards of New York back up. What aspiring writer doesn’t want to see New York? I dream of a long visit, perhaps noting ideas for a novel whilst staying an old Brownstone hotel. I dream of peering up at the Empire State; hot dogs and pretzels; dodging yellow cabs; stopping to rest and sip coffee on a bench in Central Park. Yes, I want to be a tourist.
I’m grounded enough to realise, of course, that New York is a distant dream when I can’t escape this office or even relocate to the other side of the room without technical problems.
In the meantime, HOWARD told everyone he’d extended the hand of charity by giving me a pay rise and the promise of a better job. When he approached the PM with a sheet of A4 and she laughed after reading it, I knew it wasn’t good. Perhaps my New York postcards had given him the idea, but he’d made a sign about me including the Statue of Liberty inscription. He hung it above his desk in full view of the office.
Think of this whenever Eva speaks:-The humiliating sign remained there till yesterday. It read like a hindsight history lesson for dreamers. For the majority of those ‘huddled masses’ hoping to leave hard times behind them, New York turned out to be more of the same.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless,
The tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
I’m worried it’s a sign of the same, or worse to come, from HOWARD.