I had an odd experience last Monday night. As per any Monday night, I spent the evening watching Intervention and then feeling restless, went to meet Lara for a drink in Adams Morgan at approximately 9 o'clock. Now, I live in arguably one of the safer areas of DC. I literally live one block away from busy Dupont Circle in a well lit building. I don't feel nervous in the slightest walking to the metro at 9 o'clock at night. Swimming after a burrito is probably a riskier action.
That being said, as I walked out of my building I saw a sketchy looking character loomin' around out front. Not a huge deal. I didn't make eye contact and continued on my way. I took about two steps until he shouted at me, "Excuse me miss! You dropped something!" Now normally I wouldn't believe this character, but I happened to be carrying my circa 1991 Olney Elementary tote bag that I insist on wearing ironically, despite the fact that there's a sizable hole in the bottom. I stopped, turned around and walked back. "Oops, did I?" I asked. "Yep—YOUR SMILE!" God damnit.
I gave him the old "HAHAHA, YOU!" smile and turned to walk away, when he grabbed my upper arm. He didn't grab it in a way that made me panic, but it was with enough force that I was detained. I would say he gingerly grabbed my arm. I've lived in various major cities for a while now and I'd like to think that I have pretty good Are-You-Going-to-Shank-Me? radar. This guy was only a minor blip on the screen. I mean, I wouldn't let him house sit, but he seemed relatively harmless, so I decided not to bust out my aerobic kickboxing moves and box step-box step-uppercut-jab my way out of the situation. I thought I'd let him say his little schpeal, explain I had no money (true) and go on my merry way.
"Young lady, I couldn't help but notice you leaving your hotel [blatant apartment] with your makeup on and your hair done up nice [Burt's Bees and a pony tail] and I thought I just had to talk to this young woman."
Frankly, this is the nicest thing anyone of the opposite sex has said to me in a while, so he earned a few points there. However, he was a little slurry and homelessy and drinking out of a blatant red solo cup in the street, so I couldn't exactly take him home to meet mom and dad. He continued to go on and on about god knows what and I decided to stick around for the following reasons: 1.) He still and a firm, yet ginger grasp on my arm and 2.) I was just watching a very touching episode of Intervention about an alcoholic man who was a middle-class father and husband forced to panhandle for change in the street to feed his addiction. So sad. Addiction is a horrible thing. "—Now I see you tensing up a bit, but don't worry! I'm not gonna hurt you none."
Blllaalright...no matter how ginger your hold may be, assuring me that you won't hurt me is the verbal equivalent of showing me your shiv. And I don't see Candy Finnigan or Jeff Van Vonderen hiding in any of the bushes. Perhaps it was time to high-tail it out of there.
I started to pull away from him and made desperate eye contact with people walking by, hoping someone would come to my aid. But nobody did. And what the fuck, DC?! I've always had your back and in my moment of need, you don't have mine?! Uncool! I know people don't want to "interrupt" or "overstep their bounds," but I assure you the homeless man carrying a solo cup grabbing my arm isn't my boyfriend. That's a look of fear in my eyes, not love. Feel free to step on in there anytime.
The man continued, "—Because I would never hurt a woman! My momma taught me to never, ever hit a woman. In fact, I do some freelance bodyguard work down at Camelot." Camelot is the strip club around the corner. The concept of doing "freelance bodyguard work" at a strip club is hee-fucking-larious to me. Because that is the classiest way in the entire world to say, "I lurk around strip clubs and beat people up." I would let this guy re-write my resume any day of the week.
"—I was just at Camelot the other day, and there was this sick motherfucker stalking one of the girls! I mean STALKING! So I walk up to him and I say, 'If she wanted to be with you, she'd be with you, motherfucker!' And that motherfucker told me to mind my own business! So you know what I did? I BROKE HIS FUCKING JAW!" Now what in the sick hell am I supposed to say to that? Kudos? I went with an awkward, "Ah" and decided to hail down a passing cab and get out of this situation.
"OH YOU TRYIN' TO HAIL A CAB?! I'll get a cab for you! You're my girl, so I get the cab for you." He let go of my arm, walked a bit into the street and started to wave at passing cabs. I decided to peace the fuck out. I started walking away and he started running after me, "WAIT, WAIT, WAIT, WAIT! Don't go! I'll get you a cab!" "Yeeeahhh...that's ok...I really don't need you to—" "DON'T EVEN MENTION IT! You're my girl!" And that's when he started rapping a little diddy that I can only assume is entitled, "High Class Bitch," for the most memorable lyric was:
"Yo baby girl, want you to scratch my itch/
But I can tell you won't, cuz you'z a high class bitch."
Frankly, for assuming I was a high-class anything he was back on my good side.
Still, I was now desperately trying to get a cab to stop for me, but cabs tend not to stop for people accompanied by clearly drunk homeless people. I couldn't walk away because every time I did, he followed me. "Look baby, I haven't eaten in four days. I'm hungry. I just need a little money." Truthfully, I did have $20 for emergency I-Need-a-Cab situations like this one. And I only need like $7 to get to Adams Morgan, but I didn't think it was appropriate to ask the homeless man if he had change for a 20 in the middle of a recession.
I was no longer amused by this situation. I would take a step, he'd take a step. I hailed a cab, he'd try to hail the cab. Plenty of people were walking by, not one person stopped to help. I looked as frustrated as I felt. "Don't worry baby, I'll get you a cab!" He then proceeded to throw his solo cup to the ground, walk into the middle of the street and jump in front of a random Dodge Stratus, which came screeching to a halt. He then pointed to the man driving, looked back at me and said, "This guy's white—you know him??"
...I genuinely didn't know if I should laugh, cry, or just get in the Stratus. The concept of all white people knowing each other is a hilarious gross generalization. Like how all Asians look the same. Or when you're abroad and you meet someone who goes to UVA you're all, "NO SHIT! Do you Jason Rosenthal class of '05?!?!?!" despite the fact that over 13,000 people go there.
In the end I chose to scuttle away like a scared crab while Whitie belligerently honked at my new boyfriend.
What I've learned from this situation is:
1.) Washington, DC residents are not good Samaritans
2.) I'm a high-class bitch (!)
3.) Although Intervention is touching, I should not trust every drunk person I meet
4.) All white people know each other
And now you know.