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Couch #8 - Jay

Couch #8 – Jay – June 7th, 2010

Couch #8 belongs to Jay.  It’s a boring couch, bought online 2 years from a company in Boston. It has a sister chair.  It’s relatively comfortable.  It ranks a 6 out of 10 for comfort in Jay’s book.  Jay slept on it once.  It is stain proofed.  Jay lives in a 3 floor apartment complex in Hollywood, California.  He works in marketing for the music industry and is a corporate sell-out type person.  He likes camping, going to the beach and anything to do with water.  Jay still plays soccer once in a while, as well as video games.  He is interested in anthropology, music,  and design and likes to make shit for fun.   Jay is pretty tame.  People usually think he is weird or eccentric, but he is pretty normal.   We met at the Burgundy Room through our mutual friend Nico (see Couch #6) on Movie Night, probably in the late ‘90’s. We don’t see each other as much as we used to, but we have a good relationship. Jay’s current favorite song is “Don’t Let Me Down”  by the Beatles.  He like the film “Excalibur”.  He is always down for pasta, any kind of pasta.  He has a positive prediction for the project.  It will at very least be a personal success.  It is something both he and and I will always remember.  Jay would probably not have let a stranger stay on his couch, but that’s probably due more to laziness.

When I left Buffy’s house it was midday and as I still had keys to Nico’s place and he was still out of town, I headed there to work for the day.  I made pit stop at Trader Joe’s for some fresh squeezed orange juice, a vitamin water drink, and some Tejava iced tea.  I also picked up a yogurt.  As I had had a full breakfast and expect to have a full dinner,  a yogurt would tide me over.   I also still had a parking pass for Nico’s neighborhood, so I was able to park right out front of his place. I unloaded the usual things including my laptop bag, my clothes and toiletries bag, and my box of cameras.  I settled at his desk a plugged away at emails, blogging, facebook, and any number of other things that eat up one’s time.  Now that I was blogging and moving around every day, my time was getting eaten up much easier than it had been before.   This will be a theme for this project, and I’ll discuss time management in another blog.  Hours passed and before I knew it was time to head out to the my next couch at the home of my good friend Jay.

I sorted out the plan for the evening and  packed everything back up in the car.  When I say I sorted out the plan, what I mean is that I went through the things I had to do, figured out what had to be done still and what could wait ’til tomorrow.  As I would be going to to do some volunteer work on Tuesday, it was critical that I sort things out even more.  Once I arrive at someone’s home for the evening I want to spend time with them.  I don’t want to be doing unnecessary things, but neither do I want to push anything that really shouldn’t be pushed.  When I lived on my own, this was less necessary as I could pretty get everything done on some days.  But with the constant moving around, that was not longer possible.  Prioritizing has to be done and I’m finally getting into a rhythm with it.    Jay had arrived home around 7pm and so the plan was to meet him then.  As I was on my way to Jay’s I was wondering what would be on the menu for dinner.  Some of the meals that I’ve had have been take out or frozen.  Other hosts have spoiled me with home cooking.  Jay is known for his cooking, so I was hoping for a delicious meal.  But Jay was not originally scheduled to be my host for the night.  My original host had concerns about the portrait and the interview as well as time constraints and so I called Jay on Saturday to replace her.  He obliged, but it was sort of short notice.  So, I wasn’t completely surprised when Jay texted to inform me that we would be going out for dinner.  I parked my car outside of Jay’s place and phoned him to come help me and to let me in.  He came down and was hungry, so we immediately headed out for food.  Jack in the Box was close and so Jack in the Box it would be.  I had the Spicy Chicken Sandwich combo.  We returned to his place, parked the car, and I gathered my things once again.  He grabbed the food and his keys and led the way upstairs to his place. Once inside, we settled in at his table to eat our fast food and watch Reno 911.  After dinner, I took a few photos of the couch and the apartment, but like most days, I would save the best photos for the morning.  The plan was to watch Antiques Roadshow and then conduct the interview and photo session.  As Jay generally goes to bed fairly early, there would just be enough time to do all of this.  But it was not to be.

Antiques Roadshow was not on and we continued to watch Reno 911.  We would stick to the plan with the interview and so I relaxed for a minute and had a beer.   As we were preparing for our interview a text came in from our friend, and Jay’s neighbor, Brian, wondering if he could swing by for a drink.  Jay was fine with it and before too long, Brian had arrived.  But Brian didn’t arrive alone.  He showed up with other friends of ours, Robert and Elena.   You see, every Monday, they gather at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood for Happy Hour.  Hearing that I was at Jay’s, they decided to pop in to see how I was doing. Everyone had definitely had a couple of beers and the banter was loose and fun.  We decided to have another drink and watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia while we chatted.  I caught everyone up on my first week of couches.  After a short visit, Robert and Elena headed home.  It was at this point that Jay informed that it was getting late for him and that we needed to do our interview before it got too much later.  Brian, therefore, decided to head up to his place to retrieve a bottle of tequila and give us some quiet in order to get this done.

The interview went fairly quickly and smoothly and was only interrupted by the arrival of David, another friend and neighbor.   He had just finished work and decided to stop by for a visit as well.  Brian returned near the end of the interview as well, but neither interruption delayed us from completing our work.  Once it was done, though, we sat ourselves around Jay’s table and had evening of tequila and guy talk.  The tequila was a bottle that I had given Brian as a thank you gift for helping me move.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I had the bottle sitting around for years, and as I no longer had space for it, I gave it to Brian.  However, I had no idea what I was giving to Brian.  The bottle was kind of fancy and had been given to me by another friend in exchange for house sitting and walking his dog.  It had been a while since I received it, but I was unsure when.  When I gave it to Brian,  he soon opened it and discovered that it was delicious.  Upon discovering this, he wanted to know more about it, so he googled it.  What he found was that this bottle of 2003 vintage Porfidio  reposado 100% blue agave tequila  was going for around $200 these days.  Apparently the company had gone out of business and so this was a collectible.  For better or for worse, however, it was already opened.  He could not return it to me so that I could sell and fund this project.  So, we would enjoy it instead.   And enjoy it we did.  Maybe too much.  And while we enjoyed we had our guy talk.  We discussed women and their sexual proclivities and debated various claims made by each other.  We discussed work with Brian and David specifically discussing computer programming and other geek worthy topics.  And we discussed this project.  David had a few things that he wanted me to think about.  One such issue he wondered was whether I had thought about this from the perspective of my hosts.  While each couch would be one of 50 to me, each evening would a (not-so) special night for my hosts.  I might remember the project as whole , but each of them would remember the single night I spent with them.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around this and being in the position I am in, I’m not sure that I can.   He then suggested that perhaps I should ask my hosts to write a companion blog regarding my visit.  I could then get their take on the events of the day as well as see how they thought and felt.  I haven’t asked anyone to do this yet, but if any of my past or future hosts want to do this, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.  He also offered the suggestion that I set up an FAQ on my blog regarding the project.  This way, as I travelled from place to place, I would not have to answer the same questions over and over.  I still have this on my agenda, but due to higher priority issues and time constraints, I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to it.  We continued drinking and talking and as it grew later and well past when Jay normally turns in, he more or less threw us out.   As both Brian and David lived in the building, we took the party to David’s place.

I had to get up early the next day in order to get over to the animal rescue for my normal Tuesday volunteer work, but the influence of the beer and the tequila told me I could stay up a little bit later.  We continued to drink and converse at David’s  for a little bit longer.  Knowing that film costs were already starting to add up, David contributed some cash to my cause and even lent me his Canon Rebel T1i for me to use.  My Leica point and shoot had been less than satisfactory, so adding this to my arsenal was quite nice.   And cash always helps out.  Even though I no longer had rent and utilities to pay, and even though I had gotten my deposit returned by my landlord, I still had very little income coming in.  My fuel costs had increased due to all the driving and since I had no place to cook, I was eating out a lot more , increasing those costs as well.   It still is very tough.  So, any help that I can get is welcome.  At some point, I’m actually hoping to get a paypal link up on here in order to help fund this thing.  Stay tuned for that.  And hell, I’d love to explore some sponsorship opportunities too.  I spend enough time at Starbucks these days that you think they’d want to give me free coffee as long I show up and blog about it.  And that’s just one thought.   It started to get late and the conversation came to a close and we all took a seat on David’s couch to watch U2 at the Rose Bowl  while we finished our drinks.  Once the drinks were done, the party was over and I headed back to Jay’s to give my teeth good brushing and get some beauty sleep.

The next morning I woke fairly early. I was definitely tired and definitely hungover.  Nevertheless, I took a few more photos around Jay’s place and got myself  together before grabbing a cold iced tea and vitamin water out of the fridge and heading off to Sante D’or Animal Rescue for volunteer time and animal therapy.   And on my way out, the thoughts of the next couch were on my mind.

About 50 Couches in 50 Nights

My name is Dean MacKay. In June and July of 2010, I slept on 50 different couches in 50 consecutive nights. I took photographs of the couches, both as a couch and as my bed. I took portraits of my hosts and interviewed them. I documented their homes on film and digitally as well as in a journal. I was treated to home cooked meals and intimate secrets. I was cared for when I was ill and checked in on after I was long gone. There were sleepless nights and busy days and times spent discussing the past and dreaming about the future. I drank a lot of coffee at a lot of different coffee houses. There were old friends who became closer and acquaintances who I now call my friends. There were even strangers who invited me into their homes. Threads were woven among them all. My skills were honed as I practiced my craft on a daily basis. I learned many things about my hosts and I continue to learn many things about myself. These times are unforgettable. This journey was initially born out of necessity. The economic times had taken their toll. But the fruit of this labor is not simply financial. It is emotional and spiritual and societal. I tapped into something that is still developing. And as it develops I will share with you this knowledge as well as providing you a way to share it with others. I hope that you will support me as this journey continue and grows. I plan to unveil many things from this work including a coffee table book on the couches, and perhaps other books and a documentary. I'm also hoping to get the blog carried on a major website. Of course, and second project is also in the works although what form it will take has yet to be determined. Any assistance or advice that you can offer to further these projects is welcome. Your support, both financial and emotional, is crucial to my success. Thank You. © Dean MacKay 2010


One thought on “Couch #8 – Jay – June 7th, 2010

  1. That was some damn fine tequila and some great conversation. 🙂

    Posted by Guitarzan | June 18, 2010, 8:40 pm

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