White Lies in L.A.
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Dagoberto Gilb’s short story, deceiving titled “Love in L.A.”, paints a portrait of a hilarious event involving a minor car accident on the jam-packed Los Angeles freeway. When first reading the title, you automatically start making assumptions that this story has something to do with how a couple finds “Love in L.A.”. This story has nothing to do with love, in fact it has nothing to do with a minor car accident; it has more to do with our high valued thoughts which our minds fantasize and make life full of lies and illusions. We all like to fantasize and wish we had something’s we don’t necessarily have now, but Jake takes it a little too far.
We are presented with the main character, Jake, in the first sentence of the story as he is “slouched in a clot of near motionless traffic” (Gilb 43). Jake’s mind, left to wonder, jolts to the fantasies and luxuries he desired to obtain. He is mentally creating his quest to the eventual, lavish lifestyle he has fantasized. He needs something better than his ’58 Buick of his. Something with an FM radio, a crush velvet interior, cruise control for those long trips, a warm heater and defroster for the winter drives at the beach, and the list goes on. The only problem with that is that he would practically need to change his whole entire life style, “Exotic colognes, plush, dark nightclubs, mai tais and daiquiris, necklaced ladies in satin gowns, misty and sexy like in a tequila ad” (Gilb 43). These all fall in to play with his fantasyland, ideal lifestyle.
Jake, thinking about his freedom so much that when he caught a glimpse of his free will “ he just went ahead and stared bye-bye to the steadily employed” (Gilb 43). As Jake turned his head back to same direction of traffic, it was one second too late to react. He slammed on his brakes and tried to steer the car away from the car in front of him, as the brake lights got closer and closer. “One second more and he’d be crawling up the Toyota’s trunk” (Gilb 43). The accident didn’t seem fatal, and it definitely wasn’t as bad as the fender bender on the back of his 58’ Buick. Jake wanted to pull a hit and run but he was afraid that the traffic would hold him back. On second thought, Jake thought that the traffic would aid him to getting away too. As he got out if the car Jake slammed the car door twice just to buy him some time and stall for a second more. Jake toured to car front to back of his Buick for damage on or near the bumpers, just as any man would.
Before speaking to the driver of the Toyota, whose looks could astonish a busy city, he waved someone who stopped to help them to keep on driving, so the driver waved back and starred his engine. Jake begins to blabber about how he didn’t even scratch his paint. After saying that, just like any man would do to a gorgeous looking lady, he immediately asks her, “So how are you doing? Any damage to the car? I was kinda hoping so, just so it takes a little more time and we can talk some. Or else you can just me your phone number now and I won’t have to lay my b.s. on you to get it later” (Gilb 44). What kind of “man” asks a woman for her number without introducing himself first? Jake finally introduces himself as he holds out his hand. Come to find out, the beautiful lady is named Mariana.
“They shook hands like she’d never done it before in her life” (Gilb 43). After Jake apologized for hitting her, he instantaneously with no hesitation asks Marina “So maybe we could go out to breakfast somewhere and talk this over” (Gilb 43). Marina isn’t handling this entire small take so well and asks Jake for all his information, driver’s license etc. Jake, making up all the necessary information, lies to Marina about his last name, address, and wrote down the name of the insurance company belonging to his old girlfriend. Jake asks Marina for her phone number and she gives it to him. As Jake is getting ready to leave he realizes that Marina its taking down his license plate number on the Buick, too bad those were fake too. He started his car, revs his engine, and slaps that transmission in drive burning the tires.
Love in L.A. is not the story you think it is what so ever. Jake is stuck in traffic on the Hollywood Freeway. He is a lying creep who is just looking for a girl to pick up and take on a date, and possibly fine love, like most men in this world. He is in a fantasy land, day dreaming about all the luxuries he wish he had in his life. Reality slaps him the face when he realizes he doesn’t have any of those things and now he has rear ended a lady, whose looks mesmerize him. Long story short, Jake essentially just wants to take Marina out to breakfast, for he finds her to be a very beautiful lady. After just hitting Marina’s car, you would think asking her out for breakfast would be the last thing on Jake’s mind; in this case that’s the only thing on his mind. Jake is just a delusional freak that lives to tell lies about his and day dream.
Gilb, Dagoberto. “Love in L.A.” Literature and the Writing Process. Ed. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice, 2014. 43-45. Print.