Monday, 11 August 2014

...but I won't do that.

"Like... I really like you and this is totally not a one time thing... uh... This is kinda awkward to say when the cabbie is listening."
"Don't worry. I can't hear a thing."

There's something to be said for one-night stands.

If there is any doubt about mankind's animal origins, look no further than the weekend nightlife of the western world. Without really thinking about it, we (Straight men, that is. I can't speak for anyone else in this case) enact all kinds of rituals in order to get laid. We dance, we bring gifts, we try to impress with our great survival potential. We start fights and we get beaten. And we will not stop until the female is gone from view.

"Hey baby, what's your name?"
"Fuck off."
"Is that with one F or two?"

I don't know how may times I've had guys keeping women from closing the door of the cab, begging for the names, their number or for a seat in the car. And the ladies tend to simply grin and bear it until the person walks off, or until I start driving. I don't blame them. Spend most of your life being told not to raise your voice, and it gets hard to do just that in these situations. These days, I usually tell them to leave my customer alone in variously clever/uncouth ways. Hero complex aside, I don't really have the patience to listen to Johnny-Come-Early's desperation. 

I've driven guys who dread the evening because all their friends are "on the hunt", and so they don't really hang out as much as arrive at the hunting ground together and then split up looking for their prey.

"I just want to go out, have a beer, and shoot the breeze. All they wanna do is go out and get laid."

Now. I am not going to spend the rest of the entry skewering the male of the species. I know we're not all like that. But let's not kid ourselves. In our culture, men are expected to actively impress the ladies, who will reward their effort with the mashing of genitals. There are individual variations to this, of course, but from where I am sitting behind the wheel, it seems that a significant portion of the population (male and female) who actively take part in that structure. 

But that is not what I want to talk about tonight. Tonight, let's flip it around. Let's talk about female desperation. Or specifically, the story of a woman who knew what she wanted, and wouldn't let something as silly as consent get in her way.

This was about one or two years ago. The shift was ending and dawn was rapidly approaching. I was out in Mountain Lake, when my com buzzed and dispatch offered me a fare from Angeheath. And what luck! This was a big one, a fare that would take me to a city over an hour's drive outside of town, to the neighboring town of Trollhat. This is the kind of fare we all hope for and weep for joy when we get. That is a solid 1000 sek fare (fixed rate); the average fare is between 90 and 150 sek.

Once again, the com burped and I heard the nasal voice Larry, one of the veterans of the company. He asked me to switch to channel two for a private conversation, and there told me to get them to pay me the rate in advance, as Angeheath was a rough place and anyone travelling from there at 4 am to a neighboring city should be viewed with suspicion. I had been in the business long enough not to dismiss his warning.

So I arrived at the place, and I sat down and waited. Along came a goth-girl with a gangsta-guy in tow. She knocked on my window.

"Hi! I'm Michaela. Are you my cab?"
I was. They climbed into the back seat.
"Before we get going," I said. "I'd like you to pay the rate in advance."
"Not a problem!" she said and did so promptly. And then we started rolling.
"Don't forget to make a stop at Yardstone," said the guy.
"Why are we stopping there?" she asked with cold suspicion.
"Cause... It's late, you know..."
"I thought you said you wanted me?"
"I do, I do. It's just... I gotta get up tomorrow and..."

Poor bastard. I felt for him. Imagine having to do the walk of shame from one town to another. His lady love would have none of it, however. For the full hour that the trip took, she spent every minute breaking him down. I'll spare you the full transcript, but here's a handful of quotes, all said by Michaela:

(Huffy and indignant) "I'm offended. I take this as a personal insult. This is you saying I'm not attractive to you."
(Mean and challenging) "Is it your dick? Can't get it up? Is that the problem?"
(Sultry and promising) "I really like you. I really do, and I want you. Don't you want me? I can make every fantasy come true."
(Close to tears) "I thought you were not like the others; that I meant something special to you, but you're just like everyone else."

Etc, etc. All the while this guy (who did not in any way look like a softie, mind you) sat quietly, lamely protesting here, assuring her there and just seeming plain miserable. Finally we arrived in Trollhat, and she left the car. As he was about to climb out, I spoke up:

"Hey buddy.... For half the price of the fare, I'll take you straight back home."

He looked at me, with a glimmer of hope in his eyes, a twinkle of relief. Then he looked at her, who stood outside the cab with an expectant look on her face. He shook his head: "No, man... It's too late for me."

Provided society doesn't collapse utterly, I don't think I'll ever see a man walk toward his own execution. But if I ever do, I imagine that it would look a lot like the way this guy walked toward the waiting Michaela.

I sat there for a while, watching them disappear in the morning fog; she clinging excitedly to his arm, he with a hanging head and a broken spirit.

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