An Onion Experience

15 Dec


I’m going to be frank: I recently got chased and “spoken to” at a fine art museum – the exact name of which I will not mention, to protect the identities of the guilty – for wandering into the museum restaurant’s kitchen.

Am I proud of this? Well, yes and no.

On the one hand, well-behaved women seldom make history. (Which is what I said to my captor.)

On the other hand, misbehaved women are seldom allowed to stay at classy events…so it’s really a toss up. Making history or hors d‘oeuvres and overpriced Chardonnay…HMMM…

My friends and I set out for this classy event with all of the best intentions. My intentions were (in no particular order): dressing up, wine, dancing, wine, and pizza – the same intentions as any other day of the week.

The dressing and the wine and the dancing were all very easy to accomplish. A little too easy, in fact. Despite having waited for an hour in freezing weather to get into this event, things couldn’t have been going any smoother. But, you know what they say: if things are going too well, then it’s time to break and enter!

Well, maybe “break and enter” is a bit strong. It was more of a “wander and then move aside a barrier and then enter,” type of situation.

Mid-dance, I decided I had to use the ladies room. I inspired my friend, Celery (names have not been changed), to also use the bathroom. I am very inspirational, like that.

As we were looking for the bathroom, I saw a doorway with a big, black plastic barrier in front of it.

OH LOOK, A DOOR THAT IS CLEARLY BLOCKED OFF TO CIVILIANS. Could they beg any harder for someone to break through? That door was clearly flirting with me. I mean, if you want me to come inside, at least ask me to go on a date first!

I can’t tell you what made me think I should scoot through the crack in the barrier and enter into a room where I was clearly unwelcome.

Actually, I can. It was the $4 Pinot Grigio from Trader Joe’s. (Quick plug here: excellent wine at a very good price. “Pay rent AND drink like a fish!” That should be Trader Joe’s new slogan.)

Pinot whispered to the imp on my shoulder, “Go, Sophie. That barrier doesn’t apply to you! Sure, it’s tall and plastic and big enough to be a sled for a family of twelve…but what’s stopping you? The law? Your mom? The patriarchy? TAKE DOWN THAT WALL.”

And so, I – along with Celery, who will probably never, ever listen to me again – slithered past the barrier and entered into the restaurant kitchen of this fine establishment.

No one was in there. I was in an empty industrial kitchen, untethered. This is dangerous for a number of reasons.

Celery and I felt like we’d entered into Ellen DeGeneres’ bathroom and were getting to look at all of her soaps and medicine cabinet contents. (I have no idea what Ellen’s bathroom is like…I just love Ellen.)

We noted the deep sink and the very utilitarian faucet. We appreciated the stature of the oven. We looked for snacks. There were none.


There, in the corner, was a bag of onions.

Apparently, I love onions. I don’t mean like, oh yum, onions are great when they’re caramelized and on a sandwich…I mean, WOW, I love onions so much that I’ll fondle a bag of them that I find in an industrial kitchen, as if I’ve never seen an onion or a mesh sack in my entire life.

As I was fondling the onions, Celery and I noticed a few kitchen staffers standing at the far end of the kitchen. (It was a huge kitchen.)

This was our queue to go! I dropped the onions and started to make my exit, but NOT before deciding to take just one peek into the fridge on the way out because WHY NOT??

And that was the straw that broke the back of this entire Pinot/curiosity-fueled mission.

“Hey, what are you doing in here? HEY!”

I took off like a rocket. Every cross-country running instinct I’d ever had kicked in, and I flew out of there like an advertisement for American Airlines.

It was a foot race. We – Celery, the staffer, and I – were engaged in a full-on foot race.

I buzzed out of the space we’d created between the wall and the barrier, while Celery took the more genteel approach of plowing right on through the barrier and knocking it over. And do you know who got chased and caught by Mr. Fridge? Take a wild guess.

I’d never been chased by a man before. It was kind of like When Harry Met Sally, except it was more like, When Sophie Met a Bag of Onions and Then Got Chased by a Refrigerator Guard – very romantic and highly cardiovascular, but without the New Year’s Eve kiss and marriage. (Although, who knows!) Norah Ephron would have approved.

When Mr. Fridge caught up with me, he started yelling.

“Why were you in the kitchen?” he yelled.

“I was just looking for the bathroom!”

“But you opened the refrigerator! Why did you do this?”

“I was just looking for the bathroom!” I reiterated.

“In the refrigerator??”

“I was being silly! I’m sorry! Where is the bathroom?”

If you’re impressed by my defense skills and critical thinking under pressure, then please, run – don’t walk – to sign up for my defense attorney services. I was clearly born to be a lawyer.

Mr. Fridge was very, very displeased, and I don’t blame him. We came into his house…on the day of his daughter’s wedding…and we (I) fondled his onions.

All joking aside, I do feel bad about this. I shouldn’t have been in that damn kitchen. (And I am apologizing to every kitchen into which I’ve ever walked.)

Mr. Fridge told us we were allowed to stay, but that we had to use the bathroom that was outside of the event room. Not wanting to make any (more) trouble, we followed his instructions, and ended up at the back of an hour-long re-entry line. Manipulation at its finest.

The next day, as I was recounting the events in my mind, I found a video that my friend, Mushroom, had taken of me, post-onion adventure. I was going on and on about the onions: “There were so many of them! Red, yellow, orange – an onion for every occasion! And the fact that this man would dare to interfere with my onion experience is just…well, it’s just baffling.”

I will never see another onion and not remember that evening. I will also never allow my friends to take me out in public without an adult leash. You never know when an onion mood might strike.



















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