But I've, of course, seen people pick things up from the floor. I, at least once, was sitting across from a woman with a baby, and the pacifier fell out of the baby's mouth. The woman picked it up, wiped it off on her shirt and put it back in the baby's mouth. I really thought one of two things going to happen to that baby: Either he's going to drop dead right now or he'll live to be a million years old, because he's just been exposed to every germ and virus on the planet Earth.
On getting elected class president of her all-girls school and then shortly thereafter being expelled
Well, the difference is that the kids elected to be president and the headmaster threw me out. ... The official reason he threw me out was he said, "I was a terrible influence on the other girls and I was usurping his power." Whatever that meant, I have no idea. ...
I always felt that I was punished for things unfairly. In other words, when I got thrown out of school for years afterward, people say, what did you do? And I know I was expected to say, "I started a revolution." "I set fire to the gym." But I really didn't do anything. And I really think that what I got expelled for was what my mother used to call "that look on your face."
On driving a taxi cab in New York in her early 20s in the '70s
I drove a taxi because I don't have any skills. I didn't know how to do anything else. ... I also didn't want to do the job that most of my friends did, which was wait tables, because I didn't want to have to be nice to men to get tips or to sleep with the manager of my shift, which was a common requirement then for being a waitress in New York. So I didn't want to have a boss, which you don't in either one of those jobs. Cab driving as a profession was completely different than it is now, because there were these garages with big fleets. Someone would own, like, 40 cabs or maybe more. So you could pick up a cab any shift, you could always make money so that if you woke up in your apartment with no money—a frequent occurrence in my life—I could go pick up a cab. At the end of eight hours, I had money. So that to me was a great thing.
On working for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine and not getting along with Warhol
I would say that Andy didn't like me and that I did not like Andy. I noticed right away how many people around him died. ... There was a tremendous amount of encouragement of people already teetering on the brink of sanity. ... And Andy would feed these fantasies they had of themselves, because it amused him and it was also lucrative for him. And I just didn't want to be really around that. I think that Andy realized that, or maybe I just wasn't his cup of tea, but I didn't have arguments with Andy, because I never had much conversation with Andy.
On her longtime friendship with Toni Morrison
So if you didn't know Toni personally, you would not know how much fun Toni was. Toni was really fun. ... Most of the time we were laughing. She was really fun. In fact, when I first knew Toni, she was still working at Random House as an editor, and ... at that point, my publisher, and my editor called me and said ... "[The President of Random House called] me and you have to stop hanging around in Toni Morrison's office because [the president] was complaining because you're hanging around in there and the two of you are laughing all the time and she's not getting her work done." ...
I even once, not that long ago, met a man who taught at Princeton and Toni taught at Princeton much after this, and he said, "I used to have the office next to Toni Morrison. And you and Toni Morrison really annoyed me with all your laughing." So apparently, the fact that we are laughing is what really annoys people. Of course, men always don't like to hear women laughing together, because they think you're laughing about them. But I would say that's probably the thing we had in common was liking to laugh.