The best thing about this photo, which was shot somewhere on the Lower West Side during the spring of ’77, are the folds in the woman’s stockings. That and the eye contact between us and my no-worries expression. And the cigarette. I wasn’t a constant smoker (I would guiltily indulge from time to time and then quit again) but I was definitely stinking of tobacco and nicotine when this shot was taken, and it didn’t seem like a problem. I was half-miserable at the time, but I was approaching an even more miserable chapter, which was my first three years in NYC (’78, ’79 and ’80) — restaurant jobs, freelance assignments for next to no money, a cockroach-infested apartment on Sullivan Street and then a one-room misery studio on West 4th Street near Jane, bad food (next to no vegetables, tons of sugar), getting half-bombed every other night, typewriter ribbons and white-out, a ghetto blaster and a couple of dozen cassettes for music. And yet for all the fretting and struggling and my particular form of weltschmerz, I was batting somewhere between .333 and .400 with the ladies.