I did the dummy yesterday. I got into a black car in New York that did not have a T on the front. Let me explain.
New York is a big city full of crooks and unsavory characters. Everyone takes cabs or public transportation. When you're in midtown, you can hail a yellow cab. In most neighborhoods, you can call and Uber or a Lyft, no problem. When you're in Harlem or the boroughs outside of Manhattan you can hail or call a green cab. This is most like a Chicago suburban cab to me. The yellow cabs will take you to Harlem or the other boroughs, but they are hard to hail. They usually head back to midtown. Finally, if you need a car service in Harlem, you can hail a black car. The difference between and authorized black car and an unauthorized black car is a T on the front of the license plate. T 1X2Y 3Z4. This is a simple enough rule to follow, which I did, until yesterday.
I was late for an appointment and there were no Ubers in sight and Lyft was 6 minutes away. I hailed the black car. The guy actually passed me, then backed up. The front license said "Car Service" and the back license was a NY state license. I figured it had to be legit. I was trippin.
I get in the car. It's a Lincoln MKX. There's no NY livery driver license. But the guy had magazines in the back and the air conditioning was good. I think everything is fine. I give him the directions. He's going the right way, no problem.
Then he asks how my day was. Weird. NY cabbies/drivers do not talk. Convo went like this:
Driver: So are you having a good day.
Me: Not really, actually. Paypal took some authorized money out of my account, so I've been dealing with that all morning. I just gave birth to twins and my mom's been in New York with me for 3 months and today is her last full day, so I'm kind of sad. This is actually the last time I'll be able to go out by myself for a very long time, so I'm trying to enjoy the day.
Driver: What kind of fun are you trying to have? Like clubs?
Me: Ha! No, no clubs. I mean like cupcakes.
Driver: You're not a cop are you?
Me: Um, no.
Driver: Oh ok, I have to ask before I tell you what kind of fun you could have.
I SHOULD HAVE HOPPED OUT OF THE CAR RIGHT THEN.
Driver: So are the cupcakes big or small?
Me: Have you heard of sprinkles? Seriously delicious. Medium sized cupcakes with lots of icing. The best $4 you'll ever spend...
Him: So do you work?
Me: I sure do.
Him: That must be hard trying to juggle two kids and work.
Me: It really is... where are you from?
Me: Oh ok, I didn't hear a NY accent. Whereabout.
Me: Where is that next to?
Him: He says the city and it's somewhere I recognize, but I don't remember for the purpose of telling this story.Then he says: where are you from:
Me: Chicago... So has the weather in Pennsylvania been as hot as in NYC?
Him: Yep, it's been about the same... Sorry if I freaked you out asking if you were a cop. I had a cop get in here once and think I was soliciting.
Me: Soliciting WHAT?
I had actually giving him the wrong cross street and notice I missed my destination and I'm like oh, you can pull over right here. How much?
He's like whatever's fair. I run out of that cab so quick, then I take the licencse plate down. I don't know what I'm going to do with it. Report it to the cab association or put out an anonymous tip about prostitution and/or sex trafficking.
An episode of Luther where a girl got in a fake cab and was murdered was on my mind while I was in that car. I also was thinking about the movie Taken where they sold that man's daughter into sex slavery. I also saw the mother of the 5 year old in the sundress who was arrested my militarized police in Baton Rouge. When you're a mom, they never say what you do for a living or where you were from or anything else like that. If it's one child, they say "mom of a XX year old." Two or more, they say mom of XX. Because being a mom is a greater responsibility that any career you have. It jumps to the front of the line in the news reports.
And I didn't think about it while I was in the illicit cab, but they JUST played the Jaycee Dugard 20/20. There are some sick mfs in this world and I could have been victim to one of them. I just kept thinking how I had failed my girls my making this poor decision and how I would fight this man tooth and nail to get back to them.
I also don't know why I finished out the cab ride. He offered me water at one point and I just looked at it in the back seat. I was thinking about how it might be drugged or poisoned and I wasn't dealing with it. I was looking at the locks of the door to determine if I could claw them out with my fingers. I decided that I'd rather be shot and have someone hear it than to be quiet because he had a gun and be driven off where no one could find me. I was wondering how he would move fast enough to stop me from dialing 9-1-1 if things went south. I thought about hopping out of the car at a red light. I thought about making a call to tell someone I was on my way where I was going, so he would know people were expecting me.
Most of all, I thought about how women are the more vulnerable sex. If I'm watching a movie or the news or even reading something about rape, molestation, sex trafficking, sex slaves in war, anything like that it makes me queasy. It feels like a helpless cause. How can a woman who is physically weaker, fight off a man? Ever. And in most societies it's either accepted, ignored or in the case of America systemically protected. It is SO hard to prove rape, yet it's so prevalent that police departments have hundreds of untested rape kits. It makes me so uncomfortable that I just have to stop thinking about it in order to keep my peace and my sanity.
I'm writing this post right now because after the girls' 4 a.m. feeding, I couldn't get what COULD have happen off my mind. And it infuriates me, but also makes me feel helpless at the same time.
I believe in the power of prayer. I was praying like you would not believe in the back of the cab. I also alerted my besties as to where I was and what was going on (via GroupMe) and I know they prayed for me too. Just like I believe Lahna's illness was cured by prayer, I also believe the trajectory of what happened to me today was because of prayer.
I cannot control evil, but I can fight it off with the power of God.
I can also make better decisions. I will never get in an unauthorized cab again.
Finally, I'm working on giving myself the power/permission to change course. It was like once I got in that illicit cab, I felt like I needed to finish the ride out. To be fair to this guy in case he wasn't a creep, to get to where I was going, to not have to be in the same predicament (with an Uber 6 minutes away), to not be later than I already was for my appointment. These things all PALE in comparison to my safety and wellbeing. Something about my personality said, you must finish. That something has to be broken. I must give myself permission to break a lease, or leave a city before I was expecting to, or end a date when I don't want to be there anymore, or leave work on my desk because I have more important things to do when I get home, or GET OUT OF A SKETCHY CAB at the EXACT moment that I need to.
I'll be praying about this for myself.
Thanks for reading this long post and please be safe[r than me] in these streets.