Sunday, February 05, 2006

Shaken Down in Capital Hill

On Saturday, to meet some friends that are Congressional workers, we headed over to Kelly's Irish Times. This was my first time visiting the fine Capital Hill area. I will admit that some portions of this story may sound racist, but that truly is not the intent. To some degree, I believe that almost all people harbor some racism, it just doesn't always come out in the form of a racial slur. Anyways, we got out of the cab, to be met by an African American man that said something to us, but none of us could understand it. We went in, pounded some brewdogs, pretended we were Ron Burgundy by getting some scotch, and a merry time was had by all. The woman eventually had one too many, forcing my hand that it was time to go. I helped her stagger out of the bar, and there was that "friendly" African American fellow. He says "Don't worry, I'll flag a cab down for you." I guess that's what the guy was talking about when we first got out of a cab on arrival. There was a line of five cabs waiting for fares no more than TEN FEET away. The man flags one down by waving his hand to a cabbie. We get into the cab, and the man says "Hey I just got you this cab [as if it was that hard], I just want two bucks from you." At this point, I didn't know what to do. His work probably was worth about 1.5 cents to me. I fumble through the wallet, find a bunch of a 20s and a 5. For some reason, I was afraid of this guy, even though I was in the safety of the cab. For a second, the thought flashed in my head that I was going to get stabbed and the woman was going to get raped. Its horrible that I thought this, but watching the local news around here starts to put those fears into you. Instead of asking for change, I just gave the guy 5 bucks and we sped off. On one hand, I feel bad that I thought this industrious guy was a potential violent criminal, mostly because of his shaggy clothing and race. On the other, I definitely feel shaken down by this guy. I mean seriously, how much do you think this guy makes in a night? He just stands there and flags down cabs that are ALREADY parked there waiting, then pulls in two bucks. Maybe playing off of the same racial stereotype that I was using. It kind of feels like I was a part of a real life Crash.


At 11:42 PM, Blogger RoarSavage said...

Dude. The guy was homeless. This doesn't need to be a race thing. It can be intimidating being around someone whose desperation is palpable. You were "shaken down," but did you really think you could be overpowered by someone who cannot afford to eat? I don't think there's any reason to suppose that you're afraid of black men in general, unless you are. But this post doesn't illustrate that fear to me. And, honestly, people are people. Desperation is intimidating, but no one needs to be harrassed. Next time it happens, take a deep breath. You're safe and ok.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger A Unique Alias said...

I think he makes about five bucks a night . . . :-) I don't tip restroom attendants (I can wash my own hands, thanks,) I don't tip people who are standing in parking spaces (I'll find my own spot) and I don't tip people flagging down cabs (if the cabbie would've stopped for you I know he would've stopped for me, too.)

Toughen up that skin.


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