Record 5: Venice, California, Sunday July 5th, 2009. Day.
So like Reed and I got to the Whaler a few hours (yeah, fucking hours) before his mom even called us. She texted me earlier, which seems weird, but she always texts me when Reed doesn’t answer his phone or leaves it on silent. Her text said: TELL MY SON TO TEXT ME K? So I told Reed to text her a few hours later when he woke up. It was around 1:35 in the afternoon. I remember because I was on my phone playing Candy Crush and I had an alarm set for 1:30 to remind me to stop playing Candy Crush. He’d woken up a little after the alarm went off.
Reed sipped some Red Bull and put a Coachella 2008 shirt on (we went last year, which was our junior year at LMU, and, to be honest, I can’t remember much of it because I was drunk as shit). Anyway. Reed like always drinks Red Bull in the morning. Like instead of coffee. He’s done that ever since I met him in the dorms freshman year when we were roommates. I remember he was a pretty good roommate who was clean and actually made his bed. I remember thinking that was, like, commitment.
He sat down next to me on our Ikea couch and he’d apparently already talked to his mom because he said she wanted to meet him at the Whaler that night to have a drink and catch up.
So, here’s what you need to know: Reed’s mom just went through a divorce. She doesn’t really have a ton of friends, he told me. I mean, she has some people she does shit with, but they’re not like really her best friends or anything like that. “She just wants to spend time with people she considers close,” Reed told me. And I thought that was pretty decent, you know, that he wanted to spend some time with his mom at the bar, but then he asked me if I wanted to go. I didn’t, really. I wanted to just binge watch Breaking Bad since I’m only on season 3, but our internet wasn’t really working that good and so Netflix was being annoying. So I said I’d go. It’d be chill anyway. I was just going for like mutual support or something. He said that was cool and that she wanted to meet at 7:00 that night.
We showed up exactly on time. Like literally right at 7:00. She wasn’t there, so Reed texted his mom and asked what’s up and she didn’t respond for an hour and when she did she said sorry and that she’d been asleep. Then it got weird for a second when I asked why she was sleeping and Reed said that she probably stayed out late the night before. I know I shouldn’t have asked anything else, but I was stupid, and I asked if she was at a bar or something. I thought, “If she was at a bar last night, why does she want to go to a bar tonight?” I never really went to bars two nights in a row unless it was spring break or something. So like I just wondered.
I could tell Reed was pissed when I asked this. He just gulped his beer and said something vague like “I don’t know man.” And I didn’t ask him anything else. For the next hour, actually, we only talked about the Lakers. I don’t even like the Lakers.
Then finally his mom showed up at 9:45. I guess it took her like an hour and a half or whatever to get ready. She ambled into the bar and up the stairs, all flimsy and tired looking, and gave Reed a hug that lasted pretty long. She apologized for being so late, saying it just took her a while to get dressed up. Reed was calm and said everything was cool and bought his mom a gin and tonic with her money. She completely like pays for all his shit.
A lot of times, especially recently, I’d ask Reed how his whole job hunt was coming along. Mostly he’d get frustrated and ignore me or change the subject. Sometimes he’d get like super angry and blame something irrational on his laptop, like: “I can’t get a job if the fucking internet doesn’t work!” And stuff like that. I’d just be all “Whatever” and leave.
It didn’t help that his mother never like encouraged him to find a job. She basically gave him free reign to spend money on weed and Starbucks. Whenever I’d give Reed shit about this, he’d just smirk and say: “Hey. My mom makes good money.”
And she seriously did. She created some colorful fucking clothing line about 10 years ago, and now probably at least every teenager in America owns like one article of clothing from her company or whatever. I mean, I didn’t run any kind of numbers or anything like that because I actually have a job and I don’t have time to run numbers.
Reed’s mom suggested that we head out to the patio so she could have a smoke. This meant she wanted to smoke her e-cigarette outside, as opposed to inside, which you can totally do with e-cigarettes. She started puffing away on her futuristic tobacco and like immediately began asking Reed and I how our weekend was going. Reed joked and said he was job hunting, and all three of us laughed, then cheers-ed, then drank.
Then Reed’s mom told us that she had a confession to make, and I started like really paying attention. She said she was going to be meeting a “gentleman” at the Whaler in the next few minutes. I thought that was totally weird, but Reed was like abnormally into it. I mean, he asked his mom what the guy does and like how much money he makes. She told us he’s a surf instructor – a very “salt of the earth type” or some shit. Reed laughed and said: “So you’re dating poor people now?” She did this strange giggle thing and nudged Reed with her shoulder. “You’re just like your father.”
“Rebecca?” We heard a deep dark voice say behind us, and Reed’s mom turned around to face this like 60 year-old bald dude in a Kobe Bryant jersey, board shorts, and, I shit you not, a goddamn Panama hat. She gave him a hug and they started their bullshit small talk and she laughed at a lot of his stupid jokes about the thumb he was missing on his left hand: “That’s just the kinda risk you take when you surf! Can’t be married to your thumbs! HA HA HA!” (I’m really not kidding. That’s what this guy said).
Reed was pissed. I could tell. His eyes were tight and straight, and I knew he wasn’t going to let this flirtation go on much longer.
And I was right.
Reed downed his beer and carefully took the empty gin and tonic glass away from his mom. “I think you’ve had enough.” He told her, and she introduced him to this Kobe-Bryant-surf-instructor. The guy extended his hand in a super jovial way and like he was smiling all sincerely and Reed told him that he doesn’t like the Lakers. I laughed. His mom didn’t.
“Be nice, Reed.” His mom whispered through some seriously clenched teeth. And I knew this was only going to get better.
“What’s your income?” Reed asked the guy, straight up.
“I’m sorry?” Kobe asked.
“Reed, stop it.” His mom insisted.
“It’s not an unfair question.”
“He’s right. It’s not.”
“See?” Reed said to his mom.
His mom turned to face surf-Kobe: “Fine then. What’s your income?”
“I make around 25k a year.”
Reed and I totally broke out laughing. We couldn’t help it. I mean, even knowing that this guy was a poor-ass surf instructor, like, it was still funny because he basically makes as much as a teacher.
Rebecca slapped her son and surf-Kobe’s eyes welled up. I felt bad now or whatever.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Reed’s mom asked him.
Then surf-Kobe intervened: “It’s fine, Rebecca. Really. Maybe we could find a place to chat, you know, alone?”
“Why do you need to be alone with my mom?” Reed asked, all demanding.
Surf-Kobe’s lip quivered and he told Reed he was just really interested in getting to know his mom since they met on eHarmony a few weeks ago.
“Why don’t you two just keep the relationship that way?” Reed asked surf-Kobe.
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about dating my mom on the internet! Just do it there!”
Surf-Kobe and Reed’s mom looked at each other. Totally confused. It was hilarious.
Reed pulled his mom aside and whispered to her and I could hear what he said because I was totally eavesdropping. He said: “If you go out with this pathetic old man, I promise you, I’m gonna get a job.” Then she said: “That’s ridiculous, Reed. You know I can take care of you. You’re being very irrational.” Then he said: “Well, mom, employment’s not rational. You remember that.” And he let her go. She left with surf-Kobe, her arm around his waist.
Then Reed grabbed my wrist and pulled me downstairs and I spilled my beer on the floor. I tried to pull away from him, but Reed’s got a seriously radical grip.
“What the fuck? Where are we going?” I asked.
“We need to get the internet to work so I can find a job.”