Pink House. 130 North Street. Back In The Day.

Fellow residents from the 1991-94 years were Clint Curtis, Shyam Patel, Raj Krishnasami, Lydia Craft, Jess Deltac, Kyle York Spencer, Caroline Rivers Hall, Mel Lanham, Michelle Sinnott, Jay Murray, N'Gai Wright, Scott Bullock (who crashed on the couch for a year before finally moving in), Bryan Ellerson, Karen Hurka, Sally Stryker, Ryan Mathias, Charlie Speight, Chris Palmatier, Trent McDevitt, and Steve William.



Besides holdovers and returnees Jay, Scott, Mel (& Laverne!), Chris, and N'Gai, residents during 1995-97 included Allen Sellars (who, like Jay, lived at both the Pink House and 401 Pritchard), Ian Williams, Zak Bisacky, James Dasher, Linden Elstran, Jiffer Bourguignon, Grant Tennille (who first made the scene as a fixture in N'Gai's room circa summer '93), Zia Zareem, Ben Folds, Tom Holden, and Chris "Chip" Chapman.

- Erik Ose

Monday, March 27, 1995

An American Dream for the 90's

As I write this, it's the tail end of a sunny February afternoon in Chapel Hill. The mercury has been a constant 40 degrees, I've been driving around all day, and this town has been giving me a headache. Maybe it's that I can't wait for winter to end. Or maybe I'm pissed off that the most exciting thing I could think of to do today was going to a bowling alley to play some damn pinball.

Yeah, Chapel Hill in February. New York it's not.

Was that a postcard I got from you via Los Angeles? I thought I recognized your scrawl. Something about visiting Bela's grave. I still haven't seen Ed Wood, but I want to, regardless of the bad reviews it got from sources usually in the know. Best film of '94? No contest - Pulp Fiction. Best old film I've seen recently - On The Waterfront. Before that it was probably Love Story, with Ali McGraw and Ryan O'Neal. Of course, I've hardly seen any movies lately because I've been working crazy hours like the wage slave I am. But more about that soon. Oh, and you know what new film I'd love to go see right now? The Brady Bunch Movie. I bet that shit will be funny as hell.

So, what is up with you? Hope life in the city treated you well this past year. My only visits to NYC since last new year's have been very brief ones, for a night or a day at a time, just passing through. One memorable time last fall was when I was home for a few days and Jared and his girlfriend Heather Anne drove Tony, a friend of his, and myself down to see Deee-Lite play the Sound Factory. But overall, I've gone through Big Apple withdrawal. I spent this past New Year's in D.C. hanging with a Chapel Hill crew, and chilled most of the big evening at D.C.'s premier nightclub establishment, Tracks. Although now I hear this new club called Buzz is giving them some serious competition. Incidentally, it's now around the end of March. This note has been lying around half-written for awhile.

I've been working full time since September in a "entry-level" position in an advertising agency/market research firm called FGI, which used to stand for Four Guys, Inc. when the business was first founded. Now it's more like Fucking Getting Irritated. Let's make that a "basement-level" position, because I do work in a basement. It's actually a phone center, a.k.a. an electronic sweatshop, staffed by students, recent grads, college flunkouts, and middle-aged slackers with whom I work daily.

If my supervisors had their way, I would be on the phones eight hours a day, calling anybody, anywhere, for all types of stupid projects, mostly trying to reach the people who are the most difficult to reach over the telephone. I also do mass mailings and general clerical work, but my official job title is sort of a cross between "market research assistant" and "telemarketer." I'm kind of amazed I've lasted this long in the place, but I figured there would be some advancement opportunity upstairs into the actual ad agency portion of the business. Guess again. They did start me at $8 an hour, and it has been good to get something post-college down on my resume. It's also allowed me to get an up-close look at how a medium-to-large-size (200 employee) company functions, and also how this company treats its employees, the fucked up working conditions we're subjected to, low wages paid, etc., knowledge I can put to use in future labor organizing projects. But now I'm ready to be out.

It's bugged, too, because before I got this job I was making crazy money working for myself, and enjoying the hell out of it. This was during August and September, right around the beginning of the school year. Spurred on by my need to move all my stuff out of the Pink House, and get rid of half of it, I became a used furniture broker. Things mushroomed and I started selling absurd used furniture to kids moving into dorms and apartments, all kinds of crazy shit, and netted about four grand altogether. Not bad for six weeks' work. It was fun.

Working full time for six months has given me all the motivation I need to get me off my duff and tightly focused on my political fundraising plans, pronto. So for the last week or so, I've been trying to jump- start a job search that will hopefully extricate me from the fucked up wage slave work I'm doing now and give me more time to work on my own stuff. I've been applying for administrative assistant-type positions, mostly in Chapel Hill and Durham, to work 25-30 hours a week. I don't really want to have to drive to Raleigh, which is about 40 minutes away when traffic is light. And during the workweek, traffic is anything but light around here. That's one of the biggest drawbacks to living somewhere where the state government has been too shortsighted over the years to invest in public infrastructure. I'm not even talking about the lack of a any type of light rail system in all of North Carolina, I'm screaming about there not even being regularly scheduled fucking public buses that will take you between Chapel Hill and Raleigh. Do you want to know how many times the public buses run between here and Durham, which is 20 minutes away by car? Twice a day - once in the morning, again at night. No weekend service. Period.

So I'm trying to find some work that's less physically and mentally debilitating than what I'm doing, will let me work less hours, and pay more. Sort of like an American Dream for the 90's. I'm also trying to coordinate all kinds of schemes and projects with various individuals who are also tired of sitting around on their slacker butts and are starting to want to get paid. Speaking of dough, my personal business ventures may be bringing me through the Big Apple real soon. Like, it's now Sunday night, March 26, and I'm thinking of taking a road trip north this coming Friday, the 31st. I would be stopping in D.C. to drop something off and (maybe) pick something up from Erica Salmon. I haven't seen her in a long time, since probably back around Clinton's inauguration, more than two years ago! That's so wack. But the minute I tell Tony Fishel that I'm driving through D.C., he's on me. "Dude, you have to get my shirt from her! This red, long-sleeved shirt of mine that she has. I've been totally missing it!" So I may have to see her on the drive-by.

Yeah, so our initial destination for Friday night is Boston. Tony is now living with my brother, and they have a phat crib over in a section of town called Jamaica Plain. Three other roommates and them share the place, two floors, very big, very nice layout. And Tony claims to be throwing a rave on Friday night at the crib itself, "a small rave, only 50 people." Oh, did I mention that their house is on a residential street packed tight with baby strollers and old people? Maybe this is Tony's idea of a neighborhood outreach program. But regardless, I will be on hand to give witness.

And then, my tentative driving companion has expressed interest in stopping in New York on our way back, i.e. next Saturday night, April 1st. So if this all pans out, and I do end up in town, I'll give you a call. Hope you haven't moved or anything, since I'm sending this letter to your most recent address. And it would be cool to see you.

- Letter to Robb Teer, 3/27/95

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