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“Love in L.A.” by Dagoberto Gilb

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Dagoberto Gilb’s “Love in L.A.” is a love story that is set on a freeway in Las Angeles. Now this is an unusual setting for a love story, however, “Love in L.A.” is a different kind of love story.

The story opens up with Jake, a careless and irresponsible guy sitting in traffic. Gilb states that Jake is sitting in “near motionless traffic.” This symbolizes Jake’s life. Jake drives a ’58 Buick which is out of date and old. He wishes that this car had more accessories such as an FM radio, crushed velvet seats, and heat and air. He believes that these things will lead him to a better life of women in fancy dresses that idolize him. However, Jake is doing nothing to make these wishes come true. Much like the traffic, Jake’s life is motionless.

The story progresses when Jake snaps out of his fantasy just in time to witness himself crash into the Toyota in front of him. This is another example of the carelessness of Jake. Also, Jake contemplates driving away from the accident but realizes that the traffic jam would make it extremely difficult. So he pulls over and gets out inspecting his car. Instead of checking on the others, Jake is self-centered and looks over his car first. After making sure his car is not damaged from the accident, Jake goes to talk to the lady that he hit. He immediately tries to sweet-talk the girl and get her phone number.

The girl, whose name is Mariana, is the daughter of an immigrant family from Venezuela. Her parents have worked extremely hard to afford her new Toyota, which is now pretty banged up from the crash. Jake makes another careless comment on how easy her car is to tear up, and then continues to say that they should go out for breakfast and talk this over. This isn’t the only time that Jake tries to avoid the situation. When Mariana asks for his driver’s license, Jake makes up an extravagant lie about how he is a musician and left his license in his other pants. He even goes to say that he does not want to report the accident to insurance. Mariana sees right through what Jake is doing. She suspects that he does not have insurance, but Jake lies and says he does. Jake writes down a lot of false information including his name, address, phone number, and insurance company. Again, this goes to show the carelessness and irresponsibility of Jake. Jake asks for Mariana’s phone number one last time and she finally gives it to him. He tries to sweet-talk her again before leaving, but Mariana still writes down the number of his also fake license plate.. After he leaves the accident, Jake goes back to day dreaming about a better car that would lead to a better life which will probably never come.

Gilb wrote “Love in L.A.” to show how careless and irresponsible people like Jake try to lie and take advantage of innocent and hard-working families like Mariana’s. Jake is doing nothing to advance his life except day dreaming while driving, while Mariana’s family has worked extremely hard. They started out with nothing and have come to be able to give their daughter a new Toyota. Jake has tried to scam Mariana, but she sees right through his act of lies and gets the information she thinks she needs. Jake still came out on top because he lied to Mariana and gave her false information and got away without any consequences. Gilb is trying to say that no matter how hard you or your family work, you still cannot overcome everyone in this world, and that people will always try and take advantage of you.

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