Was it the time of day or something else in the air?
*As a note to my family, you might not want to read this entry here.
Saturday evening was littered with the makings of a "I'm-glad-that-I-didn't-die-or-get-raped" evening. But first, a precursor mini parable (as often seems the case with things as they go with my life in general):
A few weeks ago I was working in my freelance warehouse gig listening to my usual binge of TED Talks. Perhaps one recent TED talk I'd heard stained my mind. It was about the happenings of a certain hour. While I was already keenly aware about the animal of embedded veracity that comes to the surface at certain hours even before hearing that talk, I had yet another dose of a reminder Saturday night. Ron Jeremy's birthday being at 4am was among the things discussed in the talk. It would be brought up in a later fare that was actually not creepy but perhaps another entry might be in order for that.
The evening started harmless enough as I wrote with my last posting about Boring Aspirations and New Destinations. However the evening was... dynamic... as many Saturdays in Los Angeles at the way to the wee hours have a habit of being.
My day had started off fairly calm and "honey badger" as some of the kids may say. I had done some storage tango'ing with my best friend and hadn't put much effort into how I was dressed afterwards. I felt that I looked like crap. I was exhausted but extremely motivated.
The evening presented several cases of something in the air. Was I exuding some pheromones? Was it just an ordinary Saturday night and I had been off the late night radar for far too long? Was it just the push of Summer? I don't know. I could guess.
The first incident happened around midnight. I went to pick someone up and was entering her destination when a random guy came up to my car and opened the door to yell at me for it. We were in a line of other cars waiting anyway. It scared the absolute crap out of both me and my passenger. It was a scary reminder that doors really need to be locked 99.99% of the time.
A little while later, while waiting for another girl who eventually no showed a guy walked up to my car and asked me to go to a bar. I said no thank you I'm working. He left me alone. I called the passenger to find out where she was. She said she'd be right out. I waited and said guy came back to ask me again. It timed out so I bounced. What is up with this night and people being creepy?
The night had several other men hitting on me. It was humbling but a bit frustrating and exhausting. A couple of men were picked up and felt compelled to actually reach out and rub my shoulders, etc while on the fare. This was so inappropriate. More men were blatantly hitting on me and asking me out. What is going on? Why does this happen so much on the weekend late hours? Why is this a seemingly everyday occurrence?
Finally, I was out in West Hollywood and got another request. The guy called as I was heading there and says he's not there but cross town. He wanted me to pick him up. I told him that he should cancel and get a closer driver. He repeated that he wanted me specifically. He told me that the drivers near him are all guys and that he moved the pin to find me there. At this point I told him that I'm a little creeped out and that he should really cancel or that I'd be going to the place the pin said and waiting the five minutes and no showing him. He didn't cancel. I no showed him and took that the application charged him a cancellation fee. I was relieved and thought that was the end of it. It wasn't.
A couple of hours later this passenger named Dennis called the phone number that Lyft uses to contact customers/drivers with. Thankfully it's masked for the protection of both parties. When this person called I didn't recognize the name or the voice. I had had several male voices in my car that evening so it could have been anyone. When he asked if he had gotten me and told me his name it was a bit frightening. I immediately hung up and I have contacted and informed the platform about his behavior. It was... beyond inexcusable.
Saturday night was an exercise in patience and frustration and... humility. I feel that I shouldn't be having to execute as much trepidation about the stories entering my vehicle on any given hour but, there it is: reality.
If you are a fellow female driver I urge you to be extra mindful of those who are entering and exiting. I'd like to believe that I am aware but there's always room for more caution.
Of course for more stories about the joys and perils of perspective from a Little Girl in a Big City working rideshare, you can tune in here. Until then, have a most safe and prosperous successful day.