A woman in the Serra Mesa area was turning 21. I got an invite to her birthday party from her mom.
When I arrived, the birthday girl’s mom was cooking tacos for the crowd. I asked her what advice she’s given her daughter. “To live life to the fullest. I also tell her not to stress too much. Life’s too short.”
I asked her if she had any other kids. “A son named Ian.” Joking, I said, “Named after Ian Anderson?” She said yes, and that led to a 15-minute conversation about Jethro Tull.
A band was playing in the garage, and big screens were set up all around the house showing them as they performed. The garage was set up like a nightclub. It had a stage, stage lights, and several seats.
The party was at Jimmy’s house. He told me about how he sets everything up, specifically for parties with bands. I said, “Oh, your neighbors must love that.”
He told me that the neighbors are usually invited and that he’s only had the cops show up a couple of times. “The band that’s playing right now...they’re called PK Fast. They’re neighborhood kids, and they got that name because I call them ‘the punk kids from across the street.’ They abbreviated it.”
I asked him to tell me about some of the crazier parties he’s had. “They’ve been going on at my house since the ‘80s. I’ve had some with Goldie, the guitarist for Dio. Tommy Lee, Mötley Crüe, and a lot of other bands in the ‘80s used to come here. We had Blue Öyster Cult once. One of the parties I had here was filmed by Showtime. It was a Mardi Gras event, with over 500 people.”
When I asked about the craziest thing Tommy Lee ever did, Jimmy had to think for a minute. “Well, that was when I was up in West Hollywood. I was crashed out on the third-story balcony, and it was 6:15 in the morning. Lee showed up, and the gate was locked. He was only wearing boxer shorts, and he started yelling. He asked me to throw him a joint.”
Jimmy told me a little about his music and went off to find me a CD.
I saw the punk band and a few of their friends hitting up the taco stand. With their haircuts and punk shirts, I was surprised to hear them being polite and saying “thank you” when handed a plate of tortillas. One was wearing a Sham 69 shirt. I asked them who their favorite punk bands were. One said Sublime, two said Operation Ivy, and one said a band I’d never heard of — Leftöver Crack.
Eden, the birthday girl, is a security guard at UTC. I asked her to tell me about the craziest things she’s seen on the job. “There have been a few. There’re sometimes problems dealing with homeless people. One threatened to kill me. He was standing in front of the food court watching people eat. I asked him to leave. We had a woman get mugged a month ago. That was a big deal.”
Eden was a petite gal, and I couldn’t picture her dealing with a rowdy crowd at a mall. She seemed a bit buzzed, and I asked her if it was weird to be drinking at a party with her mom. She laughed and said she’s done it before. She started to tell me a story about being kicked out of a bar, but then a few people showed up and she went over to greet them.
Her cousin came over and said, “You crashed my party in Linda Vista. It was about six years ago.” I said, “I think I remember that. There were cars in the backyard that people were urinating behind. And your dad or someone was dating your babysitter.”
She replied, “Yep. That was the party.”
She filled me in on what some of those people are doing these days.
Jimmy threw a few logs into the fire pit, and some sparks hit a woman standing nearby. He apologized.
A reggae band started performing in the garage. And, as at most reggae shows, the smell of marijuana filled the air.
I watched some people play beer pong. A girl named Jamie was rooting for her boyfriend. I overheard a story about him having an injured finger that needed to be fused. It didn’t seem to be affecting his beer-pong throws. One guy playing was getting angry at the bubble machine that was set up on the roof. He claimed the bubbles were distracting his tosses.
Eden’s mom kept bugging her daughter for forgetting to bring the cheese. I offered to make a run to the store to grab some. She said, “No. We had a lot of it, but she left it in her car. It’s not a big deal. The tacos just won’t have any cheese.”
I told her the two I ate tasted fine without it.
A bouncer from Moondoggies showed up. I heard him talking about how they remodeled the place. A few minutes later, I saw him slip on something.
A cute Asian girl and her two friends asked Jimmy if they could use the Jacuzzi. He said yes and went over to turn it on. With that request and the 25 people who had shown up in the span of 30 minutes, the party was really picking up when I had to head out.
When Jimmy walked by I said, “This reggae band is rather quiet.”
“Yeah,” he responded, “the neighbors will laugh. This is the quietest party I’ve ever had. I think the games the kids are playing are louder than the music.”