Evangelical Jake

The final part of Sleepless City is coming soon, apologies for the interruption. Instead allow me to discuss a recent real life even that I found interesting.


Evangelical Jake

I usually go to the Ava Rostaria in Beaverton, but this time, for the first time, I went to the Tigard location while waiting for my friends to meet me for a movie. The moment that I sat down, I heard a heated altercation directly behind me between exactly the sort of elitist entitled douchebag you picture when you hear the phrase 'elitist entitled douchebag,' and a couple beanie-wearing kids my age who were having a smoke.

“Grow up!” The elitist entitled douchebag was shouting at the crowd of beanie-wearing smoking kids. “When someone comes up to you and tells you that you're in the wrong spot, the polite thing to do is say 'I'm sorry,' and move!”

The elitist entitled douchebag probably got his feathers ruffled when the beanie-wearing kids started smoking on the non-smoking patio. He probably thought that the moment caught a whiff of smoke, he'd instantly be rushed by an endless stream of malevolent cancers, like an invading hoard of Huns waving their maces readying themselves for another round of raping and pillaging.

Or maybe he didn't. I wouldn't know. All I know is that he was an elitist entitled douchebag who couldn't keep his voice down and wanted everyone around him to know that he had caught a whiff of tobacco without wanting to.

Eventually a security guard came to the scene. She had a soothing presence and in minutes had assured the elitist entitled douchebag that the smoking kids had not actually gotten him infected by so many cancers that they'd soon start bubbling from his skin like soup.

And that's not even the most interesting part of that particular evening.

Almost immediately after the altercation was finished, I met Jake.

Jake was an unassuming, completely featureless creature plain as an unwritten sheet of paper and just as indescribable. He was wearing a red hoodie which was currently pulled over his head, and there was a look in his eyes that reminded me of Mitt Romney.

“Hi!” he said. I pegged him as a caffeine-powered evangelical the moment he said this. “I'm Jake! Can I sit here? I see you here all the time, I thought I'd introduce myself.”

I shook his hand and said, “Hi Jake, I'm Giando, and this is literally the first time I've ever been here, so there's no way you could possibly see me here all the time.” But I motioned for him to have a seat anyways.

Jake was not phased by this. His smile flickered, but in a moment it was back.

“Are you from around here?” he asked by way of conversation.

“No, I'm from Arizona,” I said. And then I launched into an abridged story of how I got to the Pacific Northwest, how I moved there for a girl who I knew was going to tactlessly dump me, but didn't care because now I wasn't in Arizona anymore.

“Well, that's too bad!” Jake replied with the same smile.

Jake approached every question with the same hyperactive puppy dog energy that I'd seen in exactly two types of people: evangelical Christians, and drug dealers. I closed my laptop, with which I was using to write a short story, and pulled my possessions close in case he decided to snatch them from me and disappear into the night.

“What about your family?” Jake asked.

Tentatively I described the version of my family history that I call the 'stranger edition,' which provides basic information about my immediate family: Enough that you get the general idea and containing absolutely nothing about the things that people who don't have broken families judge people who do have broken families about.

Not that it mattered to Jake of course. He just kept smiling, his Mitt Romney eyes wide and lifeless. “So what do you do here?” he asked.

And I just knew it. In my heart, with ironclad certainty, I felt it.

This guy is going to try and sell me all of the drugs.

I got up out of my seat, making a completely accurate excuse that my movie was about to start. And that's when Jake dropped the mother of all bombshells.

“Man, I know this might sound weird, and let me know if it is, but I was just sitting over there, talking to God, and when I looked up, I saw you. And God just ...wrote you into my heart. And I just knew I had to come over and that we're connected. Do you know what I'm talking about?”

Oh, I see. This whole time I thought Jake was a meth-addled drug dealer trying to push a sale on me, but he was only an insane evangelical gay man with a frightening lack of perception and tact.

I put on a smile that was so glazed it could have produced a factory of Krispy Kremes. Mitt Romney would've been proud. “Well Jake,” I told him, “You go ahead and just keep talking to God, because he and I are not on speaking terms.”

“Can I ask why?” Jake asked, his hands on his head and his elbows extended high in the air in a desperate failed attempt to appear casual.

“Because he's not real, Jake,” I said. “Have a great night.”

And then I saw my friends walking towards me, coming to pick me up for the movie, and I knew salvation.


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