Though Jay had utilized the most efficient technology to inhale some of the most potent marijuana on the West Coast, his thoughts were still lost in a nadir of despair.
Driving away from Jumi’s condo, Jay invariably looked out the window and focused on the landscape passing before him.
We had segregated those trees lining the boulevards just far enough from each other so that their branches couldn’t touch – a bi-product of accommodating the automobiles so they would have a place to roam.
With our pedestals mounted on roller wheels, we exploited the little ramps accidentally formed from where the curbs were cut off- at the dead space between the intersection of the streets and the driveways.
We popped the noses of our roller-planks like fulcrums, shifted ourselves against the ridges between the concrete slats of the side walks-gaining slight satisfaction from boosting our selves millimeters from the path.
We mastered our roller wheeled devices, mastered our environment, but we knew we couldn’t fully master our thoughts, our actions, or ourselves. Everyday could be seen as a war against one’s self.
Jay’s old job had been to play with a toy machine- to exhibit his interpretation of what he and the Action Sports Retail Association considered mastery of the land -mastery of the public domain. His desk used to be the tops of those planter ledges which decorated the areas around the downtown financial towers and he would spend hours grinding their surfaces against the wheel holders of his rollerboard.
How Jay decided to manipulate the space, and the ephemera that came from facilitating such actions, gave the public badly needed life style ideas- helped feed the blind optimism behind those back to the school sales, helped give us that futile confidence before we went on all those impossible dates and they clothed our backs as we walked the pavilions of the malls alone.
How does one have fun when their job is to play with an auxiliary recreational vehicle and when their environment allows them to function so recklessly?
Hosoi lost to meth and then would desperately cling to Christianity like a life raft.
Gator would murder his girlfriend’s girlfriend and store her body in a bag that was used for transporting his surfboard.
Michael Jackson, King of LA, perfectly articulated our yearnings with a dozen or so expressions- those expressions so universally identifiable, yielded him free reign. He could have access to date Brooke Shields and Tatum O'Neal, could moonwalk through the courts, could build Disneyland in his own back yard but it still wouldn’t be enough.
What becomes release when one’s body is used to being stoned all day, when happy hour starts extra early everyday- when our bodies build a tolerance against the soft drugs?
Jay himself was familiar with the chemical’s taste as it vaporized against the glass. He had been allowed idle time to indulge in such, before Rocco sold World off, even before Pastras sold Stereo out. When his job as professional pedestal navigator was over, there would be no where else for him to go, as the standard that he set would then be exceeded and supplanted by the sea of hungry ams incessant on staking their own claim. No other companies would have room for Jay or necessarily even want him and thus came into play Reese luring Jay to work at Skatemental. Reese hiring Jay was more token act than a necessity- Jay would become Reese’s trophy, an acquisition, only for Jay to be broken down and neutered into the sales department.
It might have all been a mixed blessing for Jay. As his permanent vacation came to an end, he was now forced to at least somewhat get his shit together, was steered away from the dangers of too many pals and too many parties. Reese promising Jay a job as creative director in hindsight seems ludicrous, as Reese’s uncultured tastes were naturally averse to Jay’s forward thinking proclivities. Nor would Reese want to even put Jay in a position that would elevate him- as Reese’s familiarity from working in such close proximity to Jay activated contempt inside of Reese. Jay’s past accomplishments would continue to threaten Reese, despite Reese now holding a more elevated status.
The Volvo puttered into the driveway of the Grand Luxe and Jay was forced to use valet, as there seemed to be no other parking options. Jay reluctant to hand his car over, asked if they accepted credit card- only to which the valet responded with slightly masked annoyance, that there was an ATM machine inside. Valet parking at the Luxe being twenty-five dollars, Jay imagined having to debit out two twenties only to be charged a convenience fee from both the teller and his bank.
Walking into the vaulted lobby of the Luxe, Jay looked around at the business men and jet setters and wannabes lounging in front of the fireplace as if they were conscious of some shared secret and he was again reminded how he could literally barely afford to even walk inside such a place. A smug DJ with a bic-ed head, wearing giant yellow goggles was in the corner playing some seemingly appropriate mid day Bossanova and House fusion, while tourists sat at tiny tables sipping on cucumber infused margaritas and carbonated waters.
Jay asked the counter attendant- a service industry worker who seemed arrogant from prolonged exposure from waiting on the affluent, where the elevators were and he noticed her eyes quickly darting down at his shoes and then she dryly instructed him, as if the unseen elevator shaft’s location was common knowledge. Jay walked to the elevator and waited for the door to open and felt slight relief as the doors closed in front of him and was glad he didn’t have to expend the mental energy that went with standing next to a stranger in an enclosed space for tens of seconds.