On The Street Where You Live

Posted on November 14, 2012

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Where did you say you live again?

This story is from Debra, a 29-year-old playwright in NYC, as told to Raz: 

A couple years ago, when I was absolutely old enough to know better , I would still sometimes give my number out to men who approached me on the street.

One day, as I was taking an afternoon break from work to grab some coffee, a man approached and told me that I looked nice. He was cute and introduced himself as Tom Wright. Mr. Wright, how awesome. I’d been having kind of a rough day, and it felt nice to be complimented, so I gave him my number.

He called a couple days later, but I missed it. When I called him back on the number he’d used to call me, the voicemail at Staples picked up. OK, so he must work at Staples, I thought. Maybe it was just my Ivy League guilt, but I decided not to judge him for that.

We missed each other a couple more times. I’d always leave him a voicemail, but every time he called me, it was from a different number. Weird.

We finally reached each other and chatted for a while. He said he was an actor in between gigs, and that he’d lost his phone in a cab the day we met .(That’s why he’d been calling me from friends’ apartments or public places.)

We decided to get coffee, and he asked me to meet him in Columbus Circle. I thought that was a perfectly safe, public enough location to meet a complete stranger, so I agreed. (But I made sure to tell multiple people where I was going just in case.)

He was very late to our date and while I was waiting, it started to rain. I was already peeved when he showed up, and we ducked into a nearby Starbucks.

I waited for him to order first, so I could judge what I should order price-wise. (He was paying, right?) He said he wasn’t getting anything, so I should go ahead and get a drink. I ordered and paid for a small coffee. In the time it took to drink it, he took every excuse to touch me. Just way too handsy for a very public date. He then launched into a sob story about his rapidly declining financial situation—dodging questions about where he lived and what he actually did for a living the whole time. By the time his tale was over, I’d had enough. I politely told him that I thought he was very nice, but we weren’t a good fit.

That’s when he lost it. He started screaming and cursing: “All you women, you were so eager to get on my dick when I had money and was a big deal! Now nobody wants this!”

“Good luck,” I said as I literally ran away

Later, when I was telling the story to my brother, he laughed and told me that if you live in a shelter you have to have a number to get a job, so they give you a voicemail that you can’t actually call out from. That’s when all the pieces came together. He didn’t smell weird or look dirty, but it was the middle of day when we met, and he wasn’t at work. Plus, he was carrying an awfully large plastic bag. I realized my Mr. Wright was actually just a homeless man looking to get laid.  That’s the last time I ever gave out my phone number on the street.

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Posted in: Your Stories