It is the most clichéd of phrases, but truth is truly stranger than fiction.
I was heading to a friend’s birthday gathering this past Saturday night and I was running a little behind. I thought that luck was on my side though when I found a parking spot across the street from the restaurant, and, even better, no parallel parking was required. Just as I slid into the parking spot I saw through my peripheral vision a figure in a white jacket stumbling over the steep snow bank and across the icy sidewalk…landing
firmly against my car. But this person didn’t just land on my car, they also tried to get into my car. Now, I should add that all of the doors to my vehicle were locked so this person was having significant difficulty getting in. They tried not just once, but six times – maybe more – to get into my car, while I sat in disbelief, looking – and shouting words I will not repeat here – towards the rear passenger window as this person – who turned out to be a young woman – made attempt after attempt to get in.
I wasn’t sure if this woman was homeless and somehow thought that my car would be a nice warm resting place on a cold night. But, she had headphones and an MP3 player, so either she was the most connected and technologically savvy homeless person to ever exist, or she was crazy.
So, at a loss for what to do, I decided that I should get out of my car and try to confront this woman. I figured that I was bigger and stronger and, if need be, I could take her down. I say this not ever having been in a fight – a physical one that is – so perhaps this was a bit of a gamble, but as there is no training for the situation I was facing, I went with the first thought that came to mind. I failed to remember, however, that pressing the ‘unlock’ button in my car would not only open my door, but all the doors in the car. So, guess what happened next? The young woman, ever determined, finally opened the car door successfully and planted herself firmly in the back seat.
I’m not known to use expletives or raise my voice, but this night, I let ‘er rip. The young woman, maybe in her late teens or early twenties, was either full-on drunk, or high as a kite, because the words that erupted out of her mouth came out slow, slurred, and unsteady. She looked confused and within a few moments said, “I’m so sorry, I thought I thought you were my taxi”.
I should add, for those who do not know, that I am not a taxi driver, nor do I drive a car that in any way resembles a taxi. It is not yellow with checkers, like the taxis in New York; nor does it say “taxi” on it. There’s no light on top of the car signalling whether I have a passenger in the car and I don’t have a meter. So I had a lot of trouble understanding why she was confused and how she mistook my vehicle for a taxi.
In the end there was no knock-down drag out fight as the young, clearly wasted woman – at all of 7 p.m. – was so apologetic that I soon began to feel bad about screaming at her. So there we were, two complete strangers, her feeling sorry for her actions, and me feeling concerned for a young woman on her own and so clearly out of sorts that she could mistake me for her cab ride home. Fortunately, we were both saved from any prolonged discomfort as a cab – a real one – finally arrived to take her home.