Single In The Suburbs, Installment 139

Eager to begin her basement renovations, Sara is quickly taking the steps needed to secure her home improvement loan. However, a mysterious delivery interrupted her appraisal…

By Sara Susannah Katz

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

n our previous installment, our writer, Sara, was nervously watching the bank’s appraiser do the walk-through in order to secure a home equity loan when suddenly, the doorbell rang. What could this mysterious “special delivery” be that’s left our writer dumbstruck?

Thursday, 3 p.m.
Standing on my porch are three college students dressed like Beatniks in black turtlenecks and black berets. One guy is sitting on my little stool with a pair of bongos wedged between his knees. The other
This total stranger has seen me cry twice already.
guy has an upright bass. The third member of this trio is a girl with cat’s-eye glasses and a blonde pageboy haircut.

The moment I open the door, bongo guy starts tapping out a beat as the other plays atonal notes on his bass. The girl unfolds a piece of paper and, in a complete deadpan, goes into the following riff while slowly snapping her fingers:

We heard from a friend that you lost your job.
And that’s a drag, man.
But it’s better than working for some stupid blob.
That’s not your bag, man.
You’ve got better things ahead.
Don’t get so hung up on the bread.
Just let go and play it cool.
You’re a cool cat Sara, that’s your name.
Sara Cool Katz, that’s your game.
Stay cool, Katz. Real cool.

Then it’s over. And yes, I’m crying. Because I can’t help myself. I realize that Jamie Cale, the appraiser, is now standing on the porch with me and she’s patting me on the back. (This total stranger has seen me cry twice already. How weird is that?)

As one guy packs up the upright bass, the girl reaches into her pocket and pulls out an envelope. She hands it to me and says, “Have a good life, Sara Susannah Katz.”

I watch the three walk down the street, one boy wheeling his bass behind the other two Beatniks, and think: What the heck just happened? A Beatnik singing telegram? I tear open the envelope to see who masterminded this incredible gift. I read the note aloud: “For Sara Cool Katz on the occasion of her liberation from capitalist oppression. With love and pancakes, Ethan.”

“Awww,” says Jamie the appraiser, my new
I’m sorry to tell you we can’t approve you for this loan.
best friend. “That is so incredibly sweet. Is that your husband?”

“Actually, no,” I say.

“What are you waiting for?”

I’m wondering the same thing myself.

As the appraiser finishes up her report, I call Ethan. “I don’t know what to say. Nobody has ever done anything like that for me before.”

“Sara, you deserve that and so much more. Every day of your life.”

You know how it feels when you’re splashing around in the ocean? You start out near the shore and now you’re drifting a little deeper without realizing it, but you still touch the ground with your feet. Then one wave — and all it takes is one — suddenly hits you and pulls you into deeper water. At this point you have a couple of choices. You can fight this force of nature and struggle to regain your footing, or you can just let go and let it take you, carry you out to sea. It’s been four years since Craig and I split up. It has taken me that long to realize that I can and must know how to take care of myself. When we first divorced, I was certain I wouldn’t be alone for long. And after a year or two I was certain I’d always be alone. And just as I was beginning to make peace with that possibility, I met Ethan. Smart, gentle, sexy, big-hearted, handy with power tools, lasagna-loving, ponytailed Ethan. I think I’m ready to lose my footing and trust that the wave will carry me somewhere amazing.

I tell him to come over and stay the night. “I’ll make you pancakes,” I say.

“It’s a deal.”

Friday, 9:50 a.m.
I wake up to the sound of my cell phone. I look at the clock. haven’t slept this long on a weekday in years. “Hello?” I ask, groggily.

“I’m sorry, Sara.”

“Who’s this?”

“Sandy. Sandy Eller. At the credit union. I’m sorry to tell you we can’t approve you for this loan. Not until you’re re-employed.”

I can feel my heart breaking. Ethan is still asleep, one arm curled around my waist. “Are you sure?”

“Unless you can get someone to co-sign. Assuming that person has good credit.”

I have an idea. It’s not the perfect solution, but it may be my only solution.

Attention, faithful fans of Single in the Suburbs! Our writer, Sara, will be winding down her column with the final installment scheduled to appear in October 2010. We’d love to hear how the ongoing saga of Sara’s love life has affected you personally. Have you tried online dating yourself? Have you struggled to re-enter the dating world after the end of a long-term relationship? Did Sara’s story encourage you to get out there and date again? Send your thoughts to Your comments and stories may be included in a follow-up article discussing the series’ overall impact and what Sara sees for herself in the future.

Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 140

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Would you buy someone a holiday gift that you've been dating for less than 6 months?

Yes, if I want the relationship to continue

Maybe, but only to avoid seeming rude

No, that's too early to exchange gifts

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