I am having trouble finding employment. I know in a week or so I will surely be hired for seasonal work at a cheese shop or an American Apparel, the only two things I'm qualified to work with, but I've been looking for a job since I landed in LA.
It's hard for me to get hired because I don't know how to drive. Should I learn soon, I still wouldn't have regular access to a car. Most jobs I've inquired about have required a reliable car and a show of a valid license and car insurance in an attempt to keep out ex-pat New Yorkers, illegal immigrants, and all the fun-loving drunk drivers. Because of this automotive prejudice I was turned down for a job as a pomegranate juice ambassador to supermarkets, and everyone I told that to felt no sympathy for me and was instead very disappointed that I aspired to hand out samples.
I had a paid-internship interview late last week with a guy who records soundtracks for documentaries. I went to his apartment building in Little Ethopia. His buzzer didn't work so I had to call him with my phone and wait downstairs for him. The building was pale orange and surrounded by palm trees. Near the door was a saucer covered in wet cat food, and the wet cat food was covered with flies. A small, frail woman was haunting the lobby of the building and opened the front door when she saw me standing there. The old woman had long, dry gray hair and big, dark pupils, not unlike Willie Nelson, and was wearing light, thin jeans. I stood in the lobby with her, which wasn't as hot as the outside had been.
"How are you doing today?" I asked the old woman.
"Terrible," she sighed. "I have burns from radiation on my throat."
"Oh," I said, trying to look sympathetic and not horrified.
"I had cancer," she explained, not looking at my face, "and would you believe it, the cancer's gone. Thank God. But I still have burns on my throat." She put her hands to her glands. Her neck looked normal so I assumed the burns were internal. She began slowly walking in a circle. "And you know what?"
I didn't want to know what.
"I never smoked. I ate fast food, sure, drank soda. But I never smoked."
"That's terrible," I exclaimed, trying to see if the soundtrack composer was coming down the staircase.
"Well, I used to eat fast food. Now it hurts so bad I can't eat."
The old woman continued to pace the lobby and avoid eye contact with me. The composer came soon, and he awkwardly said, "Hi," to both of us.
When we were out of her earshot, I asked him, "Does she live in the building?"
"Yeah," he said in an accent that I was placing as Australian, "in that unit." He pointed to a door. "I think she has cancer."
"She said she got over it."
I really wanted that tax free $12/hour. The job description was promoting his two bands, one of which was solo guitar work that I had listened to on MySpace. It was boring, but no worse than Jon Brion's album. His other band was jazz but I didn't know anything about it beforehand. I spent the entirety of the interview trying to explain how much fliering and other promotional work I've done without mentioning that I have always done it for free. Afterward we chatted about where he had lived; his accent was South African - or Afrikaner or whatever because he was white. He had moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco. We got into a long discussion about why the class wars are less aggressive in Los Angeles than in New York and London. He seemed to like me quite a bit and told me that he thought I was great. Unfortunately, the interview had probably been over soon after I had met him in the lobby. He had asked me if I had had trouble finding parking, and I told him that I had taken the bus.
Today Rocawear called me, which I figured would be kooky because he never calls me. He was in a Salvo and saw a hunting jacket, presumably in Realtree-style camo. I've owned two of them because they're super warm and inexpensive at sporting goods stores, and both have been stolen. The one in the Salvo had probably been mine. He was calling for permission to buy it because hunting jackets are technically one of my signature apparel pieces, and because it's cold in New York. I granted it.
In 2004, when we hung out more regularly and would go on the subway together, he noticed that there were these small fliers in Spanish that were stuck behind the plastic of the subway ads. It still happens now, but the more current fliers are about weight gain and loss. The ones he would see were about finding employment and read, "Busca trabajo?" He copped that phrase and swore to make it his band name. He never started the band, and today I'm using it.
Atlas Sound -- I'm So Lonesome (I Could Cry) [cover]