Saturday, August 19, 2006

World Renowned Millionaire Playboy

I used to drive a 1969 Volkswagen square-back. I bought it my senior year in high school for $1,300. It was white with worn out sheepskin seat covers, no air conditioning and drum breaks. A bitchin' ride to be sure. It was in this car, more then the others, that I had my heart broken for not the first time but maybe the most memorable.

My senior year was also another first for me, it was the year I had my first real date. I'm not talking about the kind of date you have with your high school girlfriend where the whole night is a blue ball attempt to get into her coochie. That happened two years earlier with a girl I'd sooner forget. I'm talking about the John Hughes, star-crossed lovers of destiny, kind of date. The one with the cool 80's soundtrack, a beautiful cheerleader, and a shy but adorable leading male teenager. The one everyone wants to live in high school but gives up on by college. Well I made it happen!

I met Cristina Garcia in Mr. Kosaza's history "class". Actually she came and introduced herself to me after a series of love letters were secretly delivered by my still good friend Danny Guzman (now Rodas). Now it wouldn't be a good first act if she didn't have a boyfriend, and it was at this introduction I apologized for disrupting the serious commitment that a high school relationship is. She was glad we had the chance to meet and was looking forward to being my friend.

I was undeterred. I am nothing if not a spoiled child demanding to get what I want and I proceeded to try and woo her anyway with varying amounts of success. After about a year it was time to make my move. I formed a plan. I asked her out.

I picked her up early and took her to the best restaurant a minimum wage Del Taco job could afford. A Japanese place called Sambi's. Class baby, always class. We ate, conversed, she looked beautiful, I'm sure I said so.

Now the ride in a '69 square-back may not be the most luxurious. The engine is not only in the back of the car but part of the interior. It's loud, and carbon monoxide tends to leak into the cabin so you kind of have to drive with the windows down or risk "falling asleep". But after dinner I had no trouble driving her the 45 minutes it took to get from Downey to the Hollywood Bowl. Hell I was proud to do it.

Tickets to go see Beethoven's 5th Symphony at the Hollywood bowl back in 1991 ran about $37.50 for the best seats you can scrounge. Doing the math, if you compare the relative value of those tickets to my current earning power those seats would today cost me $656 for the pair. More then an iPod, more then a car payment, and about what I spent in a week traveling in Brazil. But it was worth it. I had class, I had charm, I had the girl of my dreams on my arm. How can you beat that?

A side note, I think it's weird that in High School I thought what attracted women was the attitude of a thirty year old. Now in my thirties I think what attracts a woman is the attitude of a high school student. It's probably a subconscious attempt to relive my childhood.

The concert was awesome.

Afterward I took her to the Boneventure's Arco Plaza and we talked under a full moon. (I don't have the slightest idea if the moon really was full, but it's my story so fuck off.) I drove her home a little after midnight with every intention of making my move in the few awkward moments that would happen parked in front of her house. It was a perfect plan.

That is, up until I turned her corner and saw her boyfriend leaning on his car in front of her apartment. It was instant panic, on both our accounts. I stopped my car, she jumped out, I drove away. And it was over. No kiss. Not even a handshake or high five. Nothing.

She would go on to break up with him about three months later, after I had moved away to college. I never fully gave up on her till I was about 25. She would grow up, get married and have three kids. I would become a world renowned millionaire playboy, and in retrospect I should have kissed her at the Arco plaza. Live and learn.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago Katy and Juan (up top) gave me a chance to relive that tragic night from my past, and I was once again happy to take their preemo seats. All it cost me this time was a nice bottle of wine. Or about $2.33 in Del Taco dollars.

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