-- Ray gave me a call from somewhere in Tokyo on Thursday before I went
home. (He thought it was Tokyo, but his sense of direction is so
bad, it could have been Osaka. Ha! Ah...geeky Japanese humor...)
He asked if he could borrow $600, since has broke and Tokyo isn't the place
to be broke in. So I said sure, just like that. I didn't hesitate
one bit at the suggestion. I was flattered that he asked me, and
I know he'll pay me back, so it just seemed sort of automatic. Of
course, he's unemployed, and I'm not exactly rolling in dough myself.
Why he didn't call someone who makes a few more bucks is beyond me, but
whatever. So I called in sick to work on Friday for no good
reason and stuck the cash in his account. Then I sat around for the
rest of Friday and did nothing.
Well, I did nothing until Das and Paul came by after golf around 8:00. Nobody wanted to get up on E with me, so instead we just went to Rubio's so I could once again experience the pleasure of poor service. I got my food just as Das and Paul were finishing up theirs, and they were in the midst of a conversation about work and job-related shit. Paul has to go to Minneapolis in May for a week of training. Das is thinking about quitting his job, but he doesn't want to miss the opportunity to play Pebble Beach (the actual course, not a video game) with some satellite company's rep or something.
During their talk about their jobs and plans and opportunities and shit, I was finishing my scrumptious fish taco & chicken burrito combo and feeling as left out of their conversation as Asians do in Hollywood. I don't have an interesting job, I have no opportunities, and I don't travel anywhere for work besides the LA County Law LIbrary, which makes Minneapolis look positively bacchanalian by comparison. I could feel myself being tuned out of their conversation like a Spanish radio station. I was sitting at a neighboring table, because all we could find were those tiny tables meant for two people but that require anyone over 5'9 to contort their legs like a yoga master to be able to sit. OK, I was going to try and make this into some kind of "spatially disconnected" metaphor, but I'll cut to the chase and explain it -- by not sitting at the same table as them, I was physically separated from them, which serves as a metaphor for my feeling of social separation from Das and Paul. Get it?
My job is a trap from which I can't escape. I can't advance and I have no other opportunities. When I've broached the subject with Paul or James about their jobs and shit, they blew off my advances and instead Paul has tried to entice a less-than-technically gifted soul like like Raymond or an aspiring Luddite like Das instead. I'm particularly drawn to Paul since he never finished school at UCI, had been out of work for almost a year, and doesn't have much of a computer background (he works for some software company in the LBC). I know, I shouldn't count on other people for opportunities, but it hurts to for them not to see me. Shut up! I'm whining here. Go read Jen Wade's journal for someone who has a future she's happy with! Anyhow, the whole thing just gnaws at my insecurities about how people think to low of me to consider me an equal, and since they expect less of me, that's what they get.
Wow, all of this from a 25 minute meal at a fish taco joint. Pretty fucking introspective, huh?
So after we (or rather I ) finished eating, we went to leave. I paused for a moment to fumble for a match to light my tambe with. In that split second, I was descended upon by two college-age white people. They cut me off from my friends and the male of the pair said, "What's up, bro?" and my stomach began to sink into a black hole. I knew what was coming next from these two. "Hey, my name's Jack, and this is Jill and we're students at Biola University." Shit. Biola is a small Christian college in nearby La Mirada. I was hoping that black hole would hurry up and suck the rest of me into it so I could escape. "We wanted to ask you a question: Who do you think God is?"
Years at UCLA taught me one thing: how to get rid of Christian and quasi-Christian apostles. I mumbled, "Sorry, not interested," and bolted for Das and Paul, who wisely had kept strolling along rather then get entangled in my mess. Rude but effective. Once as UCLA I was accosted by some guy who wanted me to check out the Church of Christ. He dogged me for over ten minutes, and I even told him I was Jewish in an attempt to get rid of him. That didn't work. I think I got into some huge line at Murphy Hall to pay some bill, and that scared him off.
A perfect response hit me a minute later when I was talking to Das. I should have said, "God? Didn't he play point guard for the Wizards?" That would not only have befuddled them, but it would have given me a chance to flex my sports trivia muscles (God Shammgod played basketball for Providence University and the NBA's Washington Wizards).