Brooklyn and I are beginning to bond, and I don’t mean in the superficial sense. The borough that once seemed so (geographically) far away has been an accessible best friend, providing constant intellectual stimulation and hipster-inspired entertainment. Last night, for example, it shared a Grease sing-along with me.
And this morning– perhaps the more comical part of my stay in the outer borough– it provided me with a remarkable cab ride. In a desperate attempt to make my tutoring appointment, I bolted from my friend’s studio, only to miss the 2 train by a hot minute. The next train would not be arriving for 17 minutes, and I, a German-blooded Jew, could not stand the notion of being late to anything, let alone a well-paid gig.
Nor, apparently, could the young gentlemen caller who happened to find himself in a similar situation on my subway platform. Upset, enraged, and just generally frustrated with the rather pathetic subway service the outer boroughs offer, he asked if I would take a cab with him into Manhattan.
Instantly images of serial kidnappers flashed through my mind. I’d seen videos about this in middle school– a seemingly harmless man offers a young and impressionable girl a ride, and a few months later her face appears on a milk carton. I was not ready to be a bad statistic, but then again, I had my DA badge on me. I could always flash it like I was some undercover cop if he tried anything not too kosher. Simply stated, I acquiesced.
And then I hailed a cab, as only a girl with Kate Spade yellow taxi mittens can do. I informed the driver of the two stops he’d be required to make, and Brandon– the aspiring actor and aforementioned gentlemen caller looked stunned. “Wow, you really took charge there.” Well, I explained, when I know what I want, I go for it. I am a Wendy Wellesley, after all.
He seemed to respect that, but still claimed he knew very few girls who barked orders as quickly– and yet as innocuously– as I did. “I spend a lot of time with children,” I told him. “Oh?” he responded. At which point I told him about my crime-fighting day job, in which I care for adults who behave like small children with little understanding for the consequences of their actions. I could yell and scream and all together terrorize them, but honestly, firm straight talk is significantly more effective.
Little did I know that my professional revelation would spark an Occupy Wall Street conversation. Yes, Brandon, the struggling Brooklynite, was a protestor himself. And while he had managed to steer clear of the law, he had several friends who had been arrested and charged in the course of the protests.
I must say, it was fascinating to learn of the entire movement from someone operating within it. While he still maintained a day job at one of the most delicious restaurants in town, he spent his remaining hours working towards furthering the main objective of the movement– to change the way society sees itself. To force society to reexamine its taught behaviors and to move towards a less consumer, more communal driven condition.
While I wasn’t about to join him in the park, I respected his honesty, his sacrifices, and his willingness to speak to a complete stranger about his nights in Zuccotti Park– nights in which many of his belongings were robbed from him. He provided a counter perspective, as only a true believer could. He didn’t sugar coat the reality of the situation, but at the same time, he still encouraged me to believe in its ability to move moutains.
And as a metaphorical mountain climber myself, his words really did resonate with me. As I searched around in my wallet for some money to pay the driver, Brandon stopped me and asked if this ride was just a “one time thing.” I asked if he wanted it to be, at which point he asked for my contact information, and I– convinced he was not a serial kidnapper– provided it to him.
I suppose that’s what my coworker Maya means when she says, “Don’t actively search for a guy. It won’t happen that way. But be open to one coming along. And Carpe Diem whenever the hell he does.” While Brandon might never call, or he might but just in a friends-only context, it is wonderful to feel like I am finally doing something about my single status, aside for routinely kvetching about it.