*MY LIFE TURNED INTO A COUNTRY SONG

Being in love is great, and when you’re in love you’ll do anything for that person.

I gave Sonodoro the second set of keys to my SUV. He cried. “No one has done something like this for me before. Thank you.”

The running commentary in my head was: I’m not giving you the car. I’m simply giving you the privilege to drive the car, when I’m not driving it.

After Dad drove his other car into the ground, he used the slightly used SUV for his weekly commute of 350 miles. Then, my parents gave it (Connecticut plates and all) to me. My parents sill had the registration and technically, it wasn’t mine when I gave Sonodoro the privilege to drive the car.

8-9-14 Red Chevy

Now, after after driving it cross-country, the burgundy red SUV as my commuting vehicle. Hours working as a Paramount Page were dictated by tours, tape schedule and temping, Tours ran throughout the day and you needed to be there before 10AM. Tape days for Dr. Phil work began at 7AM, sit-com, 3PM and if we were temping 9AM. Then, there were days there was no work. These were the days Sonodoro used his SUV driving privilege. And, it was on a day like this I got a call from him, crying.

He was in jail.

My precious Guatemalan boyfriend got arrested. Got my car impounded. And, somehow (with all my sheltered-life-experience), I needed to fix if.

Sonodoro instructed me to go to his closet and take $300 form the $1k he had stashed there. (Believe me, more than finding out my boyfriend was arrested, I LOVED finding out he was hiding things from me.) I thought about taking all of it, getting my car and moving out. Instead, I handleded-up and did what I thought I should do in that moment— I stood by my man.

I called his best friend, Shaggy. (Seriously, his friends named him after the cartoon character.) He though I was joking until I kept crying. He came over, took me to the impound lot and then we had to go to visit someone everyone wants to see— a bail bondsman.

8-9-14 Bail Bonds

Yippie. (Sarcasm)

I do not know what is worse:
1. Receiving a call from your boyfriend saying he’s in jail.
2. Receiving a call from your fiancé asking you to put your up car as collateral so he can help his best friend post bond.

Remember, technically I didn’t own my SUV so I couldn’t use it as collateral. Shaggy made that dreaded call to his fiancé. She was less than thrilled and particularly mad at me.

When we bonded Sonodoro out of jail, he went through the events of that morning:

He was carrying his prescription narcotics for the kidney stone attack he had a month earlier. He alleged he was at Citibank (at 5:00am) withdrawing money on his way to his early-morning shift. (He did have a shift that began when it was dark out.) Whatever he did or whatever the cops saw, they tore apart my car when they arrested him. Sonodoro claimed it was racial profiling. Permission slip or not (I had one in the glove box for him), he was a Latino guy driving a car with CT plates in the early morning, down Brand Blvd (in suburban Glendale, CA) and past a bank where the alarm went off. It really didn’t matter what got him in jail. And, I really didn’t care. I needed to fix the problem and hopefully fix my boyfriend.

Between making bond and his trial, Sonodoro had to start taking classes with Narcotics Anonymous (NA), which lead me to believe that he had something more on him than the prescription for his kidney stones. (I’m guessing he was self-medicating with pot since he would later rationalize that it was cheaper than seeing a doctor and asking for a prescription.)

Even though we bonded him out of jail, there was still an upcoming trial where he could face possible incarceration. He didn’t want me going with him to the trial, so we had to make our possible last “good” moments together special. I know we went to see a Bruce Lee movie. I know I made him a nice dinner in case he lost his trial and was hauled off. This was a pivotal time for me. I knew I would never forget the details.

I was wrong. 



The details are murky. I do not know if it is time and frustration that wiped away the details or if he simply hid them from me.

I think it’s a combination of both.

8-9-14 Garbage Picker

 

I do know, he ended doing community service (picking up roadside garbage) while continuing his drug abuse classes. I’m pretty sure I sent him with food, but I could also see myself forcing him to make his own food. I was pretty mad and my perfect little relationship wasn’t so perfect anymore.

*IN THE BEGINNING

There was loneliness. 

I was painfully shy growing up and had major body image issues that made me feel like Quasimodo. These insecurities led me to being nearly mute around people I considered close friends. My friendship circle consisted of people I barely spoke to, people that made me feel like I was on a rollercoaster and my sister. Even though I felt close to those I was nearly mute around, we didn’t hang out beyond school walls. Through it all and despite typical sibling disagreements, my sister was my closest friend. It was hard enough for me to make friends, the idea of making myself vulnerable to date was incomprehensible.

When I was in high school, the contemporary version of Sabrina was released. I immediately connected. I wanted that beauty, class, and for men to see my full potential. (I subsequently saw Billy Wilder’s version and fell in love with the food.) When I was younger I desperately hoped by traveling away from my hometown I would magically transform into a sophisticated woman men would fight over.

Image

From Paramount Pictures’ 1995 Remake of Sabrina.

I first moved to Boston (where I have the esteem of being the subject of a drunken bar fight…), then I moved to Los Angeles (no bar fights yet). The internal me still sees myself as squatty (I’m 5 feet tall) and painfully shy. Genetics doomed me to being short, but, like Sabrina, life experiences changed and matured me (like a fine wine).

Nonetheless, dating has still been a challenge.

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From Paramount Pictures’ 1954 Sabrina. Here, the baron explains why Sabrina’s souffle did not rise.

I almost went to culinary school, but didn’t want a career cooking for strangers. I realized my inadequate dating skills could benefit from my love of cooking. I’ll be the first to admit that my favorite part of dating is cooking, and I’ve probably overlooked some early incompatibility signs all for the excuse to get into the kitchen. Going on dates with the goal of it leading to the kitchen gives the experience a unique shape. I like learning about people and using food preferences to steer the conversation. “You like Mexican. You don’t like bell peppers. Oh, you have a peanut allergy…” These are important points to know when you’re preparing your first meal for the object of your affection. While many practice the “traditional 3 date standard” before they give up the goods, it’s usually 3 dates before I cook.

I had one long-term relationship in college, followed by another in my mid-twenties with a third in my early thirties. Sprinkled around these three questionably long relationships are men. Some got to my kitchen (and only my kitchen), and some stories are included because the early dates were such a fantastic disaster it’d be criminal not to include them.

When you first like someone, you look for the smallest thing to connect to: “You breathe air, oh my God, me too! We’re meant to be together.”  It has been a work in progress, but I’ve figured out what I need (and it’s more than the similarity of breathing air).