I go to work very early in the morning, around 5 AM. I was waiting on the 23A when a car pulled over at the curb. This wasn’t really a surprise; the bars nearby often get deliveries or newspapers are changed at that hour. But this time a thirtyish man in jeans and a sweatshirt came out of the car and approached me.
Oh, lord. “Hey.”
“What are you waiting for?”
“Want a ride?”
“No thank you.”
“You sure? I’ll give you a ride.”
“No thank you.”
“It’s no problem.”
These are the consequences of being raised polite to a fault. Usually I don’t mind brushing off stuff like this, and I’m more than willing to talk to strangers, but this morning I was genuinely creeped out. How was I supposed to ignore him? What was I supposed to say?
“What’s your name?”
Now I said nothing.
“What’s your phone number?”
I should’ve kept my mouth shut but I was getting increasingly uncomfortable. He was moving towards me, trying to get me to look at him.
“What’s your phone number?” he repeated.
“I don’t use it much.”
“Where do you live?”
“Do you live around here?”
“Would you let me call you sometime? Let me take you out. Lemme give you a ride.”
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he got back in his car and drove off. My hands were shaking. I’m sure he wouldn’t have harmed me, but what made him think it was all right to treat a stranger that way? Worst of all, I think my refusal to say “Please, stop, leave me alone” makes me part of the problem too.
Submitted by JM on 11/7/2009
Location: 23rd St. and Fern
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