The whole thing is very bookflap-bio: downtown sub-efficiency with a sink, shared bathroom, thin towels, the view consisting exclusively of another wall. There’s even a jazz band filtering up through the floorboards at night.
Except Jake is no chain-smoking playwright, no starving bassoonist with dreams of bassooning glory. He’s just a wanderlusty working stiff.
He tries to imagine himself as Van Gogh, as Bukowski, as… somebody who played bassoon. It won’t take. They didn’t have clean floors or Xboxes or the ability to leave whenever they wanted; his suffering is insufficient. At least the bathroom smells like pee.