It was somewhere between two and three in the morning when Christoffer and I stood on a block in Brooklyn fighting about something for the 100th time. We had been at Glasslands celebrating my new job (The Grindstone!), and somewhere along the line things went awry.
As usual, it ended with me running and crying in one direction, and he walking off in the other. This is it, I thought. I’m never going to see again. This, of course, true of any addiction, was not the end.
I called my friend who lives in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, and asked if I could come over. I knew she’d be up and she was. I hailed the first cab I saw and was on my way to being comforted.
I was still a mess; I couldn’t get it together and the tears were unstoppable. When the cab driver realized I was crying, he yelled at me. At first, I was taken aback. I couldn’t understand if he was joking or not, and honestly, I was too focused on my own drama to even pay attention. But when he said it a second time, it was quite clear.
“Don’t you get those disgusting woman tears all over my cab.”
“What?” I asked.
“You heard me,” he snapped. “I don’t want disgusting woman tears all over my cab.”
I may have been bawling, but I was doing so into a tissue and planned to suck it up and use my sleeve once my tissue was thoroughly drenched and useless.
“I’m not!” I yelled back with the same volume he used.
“Are you yelling at me?” he asked. “You get into my cab and you yell at me?”
“Pull over,” I said. “I’ll walk from here.”
“I’m not pulling over! You and your woman tears got into my cab and I want my full fare.”
With those words, my sadness shifted to fear. Here he was telling me that I couldn’t get out of his cab, it was close to 3am at this point, and I realized I had to get it together. At the next red light, I jumped out. I was going to fucking walk the last few blocks and I wasn’t going to pay him the measly $5 for his degrading service.
Instead of letting me go, he pulled the cab over and actually came after me. He got in my face and proceeded to yell more about my woman tears and how I was a stupid cunt that thought I was better than him.
“This woman,” he yelled, “thinks she’s better than me! This stupid woman!” I wasn’t sure to whom he was yelling, but he seemed to be making a declaration of sorts for anyone who might be within earshot.
I was stunned as I stared into his cold eyes. Sure, I had been called a stupid woman before, but not like this; not by a stranger in my face yelling it. He was inches away from me and I thought for sure he was going to smack me. Why I didn’t run in that moment, I don’t know. I think it was the sheer shock at the situation.
When I finally came to my senses, I told him to fuck off and turned to walk away. By this point, I had stopped crying and had switched into anger mode. He grabbed my arm, and told me if I didn’t pay him he was going to call the police. He, this man, this cretin, this misogynist, who had just spent the last 10 minutes of his life spewing his sexist and ignorant comments at me, was going to call the cops on me over five fucking dollars.
“I have your cab’s badge number,” I yelled. (I had been smart enough to plug that into my phone right after he told me he wasn’t letting me out.)