Monday, October 24, 2011

That time someone thought I was a hooker ...

PHOENIX -- I was mistaken for a prostitute tonight by a very persistent john. Seriously. I had gone to dinner in a less-traveled downtown area, a nondescript Mexican restaurant next door to nothing. I finished licking a bowl of vanilla ice cream about 10 minutes before my bus was due across the street. I paid, clomped through the parking lot and waited to cross the road to the bus stop opposite the restaurant. 

A beat up red pickup traveling south slowed down as it neared me and the driver gave two short beeps. I ignored him and crossed the road. Then he did a U-Turn so he was headed north, on the same side as me, and pulled onto a dark avenue half a block away. I ignored two more short beeps, but an Uh-Oh that had started at the U-Turn was getting bigger. 

He pulled back on to the main road, headed north, and cruised past the bus stop very slowly. I kept my antennae on him while not giving any sort of gesture or look that would indicate a willingness to star in his own personal Shake Weights commercial. Beep beep.  

The driver kept rolling and made a left turn on to another avenue on the other side of the street and honked again. First I just walked quickly away from him, then I busted out a sprint across the street and back to the parking lot of the restaurant. He honked again, like he thought I was confused. No! I'm over here! Where are you going? 

I was pretty deep into the parking lot when he sped past the restaurant, faster now, and back the direction he was originally traveling. I watched him disappear and waited until I saw the bus coming to cross over again. 

Whether it is a legitimate question or not, you're probably wondering what I was wearing. At least Rad-Attack-Ack-Ack was as I texted her with the close call. A T'shirt dress, cowboy boots and a zip up hoodie. Truthfully, I'd probably wear the dress with leggings in Duluth, but Duluth isn't in the desert and in Duluth it never feels like the sun has singled you out for special treatment.

I hopped on the bus, and hopped off again at a light rail stop because the route would get me closer to my hotel. I sat down next to an older man who was quiet for a few minutes, then drawled: "Hey, cowgirl. Where ya headed?" 

I rolled my eyes at him and said: "You know what? I've already gotten mistaken for a prostitute tonight, so I think that's about enough." 

His tone changed immediately. Funny how some people are balanced on a thin barricade between creepy and a-ok. He told me that sort of thing happens all the time downtown and then over compensated his disgust with dudes. 

At the other end of the spectrum: I was the only person on a city bus today when the driver pulled over at a stop and hopped off. He left the doors open and the bus running and I think he said something about going to the bathroom before ducking into Walgreens. 

I sat in my seat, confused, and watched the door of the store. I imagined a wild card with a commercial drivers license coming along, yelling "FREE BUS!" hopping into the driver seat and spiriting us away to the mountains. Then for awhile I imagined myself hopping into the driver seat and making for Mexico armed with just a smart phone and a 17-year-old C+ in Spanish III. Then I decided to get the hell off the bus so that if someone did try to steal it, I wouldn't have to ride along. 

About 10 minutes later the bus driver came back and we both got back onboard. 

I thought we had shared something important so I confided: "I had to get off the bus so I wouldn't get kidnapped if someone stole it." 
He didn't respond. 

1 comment:

chuck said...

But what if the guy stealing the bus used the secret Pista family code word? Then you'd be safe. Or would you?