the off-year

jack v meets a man who has a movie based on his story during a year of nothing…

quick note i intended to post this immediately before the taking shape post. somehow this got posted way before i started off this recent series with chronicles.

the next year was a much more relaxed year no pressures although yes for most of that year i was unemployed. i used that experience at the college bookstore to apply for other retail stores in the area, but no use they still weren’t calling. not until that august when i got an e-mail from another college bookstore in the downtown area. at this point i knew what to target for a quick job and even better at this other store another young lady gave me a tip to get another job.

i had plenty of time and some money to sign up for an AOL account – yeah how old am I? – and at that to use a laptop which allowed me to suspend my internet activities because it alerted me to when someone was calling the house. btw, another thing that shows my age this was still the tail end of the dial-up era and broadband was still expensive then. likely i didn’t do many applications online then i pounded pavements to my other haunts in downtown chicago.

as an aside it never occurred to me to look for a job at movie theaters near the downtown area or at least the one i would later interview to become a manager –  not once! i wasn’t as smart about job hunting then as i had when it was time to do so after graduating college.

my mother one day set up a meeting with a local celebrity. and i’ll give you a hint he was the subject of a film “pursuit of happyness”. i was willing to give it a try and hopefully net a job lead through him, but it felt like a disaster. my mother didn’t mind letting me know this.

if you judge from the movie he was far more determined to raise his son and get out of homelessness than i was at that time to get back on the track that i wanted to be on. that was a very disheartening year to just have very little to do and no prospects as far as school or jobs. and the ones who supported me they were giving me a hardtime about it also.

so anyway he sensed my uncertainty and feel as if he attacked me. to be fair i may not have conducted myself in the best way in his eyes. he belives in praying before we eat, i generally don’t so in his words he’ll do it for me. perhaps i could’ve said do the honors please. he had something to say when i didn’t get my mother her jacket.

all that happened during this meeting i remembered then and now that he pulled himself out of homelessness back then. he was able to turn his life around from one extreme to the other. he definitely was uncompromising in his beliefs and to this day i still say “ouch” about this meeting.

i almost got mugged on my way home that year. a couple of guys walked by me i greeted them and thinking they were walking away i somehow figured out that one of them was running back towards me. i turned around just as one of them leaped into the air as if to drop kick me only to drop back down on his feet to grab me and throw a punch. i got away though as i wanted to punch back i thought better of it and ran off breaking free.

he gave chase back across the street as i was lucky to not have been hit by any traffic. my street wasn’t particularly busy, however, there was traffic. and what cut this off was i rang the doorbell of a retired police officer who never came to the door. thankfully they cut off their chase and went back the direction they were going in the first place.

that summer i did a number of interesting things. to start we had a family reunion in indianapolis that we went to. later that summer i took on another college bookstore job and paid my first visit to the liberal arts college to register really but got some valuable info about financial aid for later. also my mother and i paid a visit with her sister and my cousin to my grandmother’s southern hometown.

suddenly the off year was coming to a close and things were starting to take some semblance of shape. the celebrity i met that spring wanted to know when i was going to know about whether or not i was going back to school. i had no answer for him at the time to be honest, but little did i know then that the path was becoming clearer and clearer.




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