Red All Over
Its Valentines Day and blond, blue-eyed Jake just got a flat tire over by the Scientology building on Fountain. Now hes walking his red Rally bike with a makeshift seat down Sunset toward his apartment in Echo Park.
Its already been a hectic day for the 30-year-old former skateboard-magazine journalist. He took a drug test for a job he hopes to get, and he got into a fight with his girlfriend, Tanya. In fact, the two have been sorta fighting for a couple of days now. Oh wait, maybe its been a couple of weeks. Which apparently has something to do with the fact that Jake hasnt had a job for the past year and a half and is always broke. Also, Jake, who regularly gets high, hasnt been smoking pot, in preparation for his drug test. And that, he says, has made him really irritable.
Hes been breaking out in cold sweats and hasnt been able to sleep.
I was supposed to take the test on Wednesday. But, I didnt fucking sleep last night, he says, folding his pink sunglasses into his shirt pocket and pushing his wavy mane back from his eyes. I tossed and turned. So, I called the place this morning and said, I need to come in today and take that test cause I get really high anxiety, and Im getting really freaked out right now.
The lady on the phone agreed to a 10:30 appointment, and on the way Jake stopped by Tanyas work to say hi. Thats where the fight happened.
She said, Well, did you use your special tea to make your pee clean? I said, No. Cause I didnt have three hours to prepare. And, she said, Way to go, Jake, thats a waste of 20 bucks. I was like, What the fuck? Im trying to get a job and make things happen, and youre coming down on me. I dont know, I was pissed.
Jake says he feels a lot better now. He went over to Tanyas apartment to use her DSL and send out some e-mails about jobs. He smoked some of her pot and made her a Valentines card.
They have a lot of arts and crafts stuff over there, he explains of his girlfriends place, which she shares with a roommate, two cats and a dog.
She had already given him his Valentine this morning. It was a heart with glitter, folded in half that cheekily read: Spank.
Jakes card for Tanya was a bit more elaborate.
The front had a pair of boobs made out of construction paper and padded with four packages of to-go ketchup containers each. Inside, he used a straw from last nights takeout dinner wrapped up in a napkin and tape to make it fleshy.
I was like, Oh, Ill use the straw cause I need something that will flop out like a boner when you opened the card. You know what Im talking about? It needed to be 3-D, it needed to be consistent.
He bound the card, which he left on her bathroom counter, with duct tape, and estimates it weighed about a pound.
On the front, he wrote: Feel Me like the Who song, he explains.
Inside, he wrote, Touch Me, and then, he was singing to himself, Heal Me, but instead he wrote: Heal the Bay! in reference to the popular Santa Monica Bay environmental groups slogan and the place Jake says the two go surfing and stuff.
I wrote: Heal the Bay! . . . This holiday was invented by the card companies to pump more money into the economy. I hate Valentines Day and think its all bullshit. Anyway, Ill talk to you later. Love, Jake.
You wrote all that?
As he walks and talks, Jake is trying not to worry about whether or not he passed the drug test. Sure, it would be cool if he did, but he knows there are a lot more jobs out there. Hes not mad about the flat tire either, but his stomach still hurts from the stress, and he thinks this unexpected walk will help. Its good for me to get out of my head for a little bit and look around.
One of the things Jakes been thinking about as he moseys is that he wishes he were wearing something else. Hes not stoked on his matching red shoes and red bicycle and pink T-shirt and sunglasses he didnt mean to look like a Valentine. It wasnt on purpose. He only realized it when he walked by his own reflection in the shop windows.
He also has been thinking that there are a lot of bad drivers in this city, and he resents the whole drug-test concept in general.
Its not like Im gonna be driving or flying a plane, he says, squinting at a passing bus.
What is the job, anyway?
Its like a librarian.
Its a librarian?
Its something like a librarian.
Either way, Jake is sure of his gratitude for his Tanya.
I think shes just tired of hearing me complaining and not doing anything. Which is completely what I need, a kick in the ass.
He has a two-month skateboarding tour lined up for April, for which hell make some cash, and he is continuing to move forward on his job search. In the meantime, he says he and Tanya will hook up later tonight and watch some DVDs.
Another reason Jake says hes been freaking out about getting a job is that he and his girlfriend have been planning on getting a house together, because living apart adds to the tension, and the commute from Echo Park to Hollywood is a drag. Thats the whole root of it.
Do you think shell like your card?
Yeah, I think shes gonna love it! We have an awesome sex life. Were totally in love.
Postscript: Jake failed the drug test and is still looking for a job.
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