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May 3rd, 2008


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12:48 am - Wanna Go for a Ride?
A few weeks ago, I went to hecubot's book reading in the Haight. Fellow Buffista Sylvie was there, and she had brought a friend of hers from work. Or her ex-work, I think it was, actually. Anyway, before the reading, the three of us were talking, and her friend mentioned she lived in the East Bay, so I offered her a ride across the bay; I could drop her off at a BART station on the other side on my way home. She thanked me for the offer, and we joked around a bit about the state of my car. We talked a little more after the reading, too.

I also offered to drop Sylvie off at her place, of course, as I had done so on previous occasions. By the time we were off, however, her friend had unexpectedly changed her mind, as she was asking how late the BART trains ran and when the last bus might leave. I told her it was really no trouble for me to take her, but I came to realize that wasn't actually the issue. I tried not to take it personally even though I was a little hurt that Sylvie's trust in me wasn't enough for her. And besides, I had taken a ride with a woman I'd just met a couple weeks before. But I knew that was just the way the world was. Plus, she could have had some bad experiences of this nature.

Muni had shut down early, so she had no choice but to ride with me a little while longer after I dropped Sylvie off. I took her to the nearest BART station on my way to the highway.

I considered writing a post about the experience, but it's just as well as I didn't because it may work better in this context.

Tonight, I went to a Rice Alumni Happy Hour, the most well attended I'd ever been to. After the drinking, those of us who remained went out for our traditional burritos.

Emily (tigeremme) had BARTed in, and she asked me for a ride across the bridge before I had a chance to offer it to her. Outside, the group were determining which direction they were heading, BARTward or anti-BARTward. Ryan was talking to a girl I had seen back at the Skylark and throughout the night; I didn't recognize her and had not gotten a chance to introduce myself, but I assumed she was a Rice alum who knew someone, possibly Dave, whom she'd sat next to at dinner. I had noticed her iPhone a few minutes earlier, and that was the extent of our interaction. Ryan noted that I was heading toward the East Bay, so she would have company on BART. But then he realized I wasn't taking BART. I said I could still take her across, however, and asked where she needed to go. Her car was in Berkeley, Shattuck and something-or-other. I could do that, sure. Sometime during this conversation, we introduced ourselves.

So she, Emily, and I walked to my car. On the way, I discovered that she wasn't a Rice alum at all; she was a friend of Ryan's from work. So she didn't actually know any of us, but she said we seemed like good people, and I agreed. She and Emily talked music during the drive, and I learned that she had taught herself how to play the accordion, which I thought was awesome. I dropped Emily off at Rockridge and then attempted to find Shattuck and something-or-other. Ryan's friend thanked me for the ride, and I said that people had given me rides for years and years, so now I took every opportunity to give people rides as a form of repayment. What else did I have a car for?

I followed some random streets and found my way without her having to bust out Google Maps. I dropped her off at her car, and she thanked me once again.

Now, she hadn't even met me when she accepted a ride from me, and she didn't know I was also taking Emily (I don't remember the exact timeline of when I brought that up, but I honestly don't think it made a difference, based on her reactions and behavior, especially in comparison to the earlier woman). But I assume she thought I was safe enough based on Ryan's trust, or perhaps she was just incredibly naive.

Which is the more common reaction, then? Do you routinely accept rides from people you hardly know based on their association with people you trust? Are you automatically suspicious of anyone (especially a man) who offers you a ride? Do I look like a serial killer rapist?
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: The Ting Tings - Great DJ

(38 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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[User Picture]
From:squaringkarma
Date:May 3rd, 2008 08:01 am (UTC)
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Do I look like a serial killer rapist?

Only if one looks at your shoes.

That's the only question I can really answer because I rarely don't go off campus when I'm at school (aside for the road trips) and my hometown is tiny small, so not many cars go by.

Very interesting questions to ponder though.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 3rd, 2008 08:16 am (UTC)
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Only if one looks at your shoes.
But those AREN'T rapist shoes!
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From:kroki_refur
Date:May 3rd, 2008 08:01 am (UTC)
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And besides, I had taken a ride with a woman I'd just met a couple weeks before. But I knew that was just the way the world was.

Well, I think the issue here is that it really is just different. Women are taught (rightly) that men have physical power over them, and that men may desire to do them harm. In both cases -- when a woman gives you a ride and when she accepts one from you -- she's the one taking the greatest risk.

Do I look like a serial killer rapist?

Tell me what a serial killer rapist looks like (apart from the fact that they're almost always male), and I'll let you know.

...wait, I don't know what you look like. Scratch that, then!

Personally, I would happily accept a ride from a woman who was friends with someone I knew; in fact, when I visited Chicago in November, I accepted a ride form a woman I knew only because she'd commented on my LJ a few times. I've let women I don't know from Adam stay in my house more than once because I became aware they were visiting my town and looking for a hostel. I don't recall ever having been offered a ride by a guy I didn't know or being put in a position to offer them a place to stay (I don't drive, so I can't offer them a ride), but I would definitely be a great deal more cautious about it unless there were other women involved. But I wouldn't be automatically suspicious of them for offering me a ride: I would just be regretful that the world works in such a way that I was unable to accept for reasons of basic common sense.

[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 3rd, 2008 08:27 am (UTC)
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Whoa, a Refur comment!!

In both cases -- when a woman gives you a ride and when she accepts one from you -- she's the one taking the greatest risk.
Yeah, I was wondering whether it was a different situation if the woman is the one behind the wheel. Because there was no weirdness or uneasiness in that situation either.

...wait, I don't know what you look like.
Look up.

Personally, I would happily accept a ride from a woman who was friends with someone I knew; in fact, when I visited Chicago in November, I accepted a ride form a woman I knew only because she'd commented on my LJ a few times. I've let women I don't know from Adam stay in my house more than once because I became aware they were visiting my town and looking for a hostel. I don't recall ever having been offered a ride by a guy I didn't know or being put in a position to offer them a place to stay (I don't drive, so I can't offer them a ride), but I would definitely be a great deal more cautious about it unless there were other women involved.
Yeah, see, just recently, I've stayed with women I didn't know extremely well but for online comments, but they certainly knew me from Adam, so it's not really the same case. I've never really encountered something like that first experience.

But I wouldn't be automatically suspicious of them for offering me a ride: I would just be regretful that the world works in such a way that I was unable to accept for reasons of basic common sense.
It's unfortunate. Think of the cab fare you would save! Also, healthier gender relations, but still: cab fare.
[User Picture]
From:pandarus
Date:May 3rd, 2008 08:09 am (UTC)
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I think how trusting you are of other people does depend to some extent on what your personal (or your friends' anecdotal) experiences have been with people's trustworthiness. I tend to fall on the more trusting/gullible side myself, and in retrospect I've put myself in positions where IT'S A BLOODY GOOD JOB that the other person was one of the good guys. And I've "lent" money to people in need that I'll never see again.

But I've been very fortunate - I've only been ripped off, never physically hurt. Lots of other people have been less fortunate. I know too many people who have been assaulted one time or another, and I can certainly see how they, or their more sensible nearest-and-dearest, might learn from this and be hesitant about trusting strangers.

(On the other hand, maybe you DO look too much like a serial killer rapist. Were you perhaps clutching a bloody axe at the time?)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 3rd, 2008 08:29 am (UTC)
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I know too many people who have been assaulted one time or another, and I can certainly see how they, or their more sensible nearest-and-dearest, might learn from this and be hesitant about trusting strangers.
That's true. I guess it also depends on how strict your definition of "stranger" is.

(On the other hand, maybe you DO look too much like a serial killer rapist. Were you perhaps clutching a bloody axe at the time?)
I wasn't clutching it; I'd left it in the backsea—FUCK.
[User Picture]
From:soundingsea
Date:May 3rd, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
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Well, I've hitchhiked (in my young and foolish days). But these days, I'm extremely reluctant to accept a ride from anyone, male or female, if I don't know them well. I'd just as soon walk, take public transit, ride my bike at night, or call a cab... all of those make me feel like I'm in more control of my own destiny than being in a car with someone who could drive me anywhere.

So, I'm sure it's nothing personal and nothing to do with you. Some women are just more cautious, and probably with good reason. I'm sure you've seen the stats on acquaintance rape/assault.
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From:wounded82
Date:May 3rd, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC)
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Hmm. You drove us to our hostel that one time... We turned out fine. :P But, seriously: I would normally never accept a ride from someone I don't know. Did you get a free pass because I "know" you via TWoP and trust you? Totally. Plus, we had a great time and you were harmless. Or maybe since we were three grils against one, we could've taken you had you tried anything. ;)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 4th, 2008 06:59 am (UTC)
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Hell, ONE of you could have taken me.
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From:etherealclarity
Date:May 3rd, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
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I usually err on the side of not trusting, because I had a bad experience once when driving with someone I didn't know. Sometimes, though, knowing someone that knows the person is enough... depends on the person!
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From:gymble
Date:May 3rd, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
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Hmmm. I'm not sure how often I've ever been in this situation, considering that I'm almost always with my husband. Hypothetically speaking, if I were by myself, I'd probably accept a ride from a friend of a friend under the following conditions: they hadn't been drinking, I'd met them long enough to ascertain that they weren't crazy, and the distances involved weren't too great. I'd be much more likely to get in the car with a strange girl than a strange guy, because, you know, girls are in more danger in this situation. And I'd feel way more comfortable if there were more one person getting a ride.

Sheer personal impressions make a difference as well; I'd feel a hell of a lot more comfortable with a not so big guy than a linebacker type. But I can certainly sympathize with girls who simply won't take rides with strangers. If nothing else, because you don't know what kind of driver the other person is.

Funny story: my sister was at a party in Brooklyn and needed to get back to my parents' house (which is about an hour away). Rather than go into Manhattan to get the train back, she accepted a ride from a friend of a friend (male). He was also driving another guy even farther north. So as they pull up to my parents' house, the other guy getting a ride says that the house looks familiar and says that he thinks he went to a wedding there recently. My sister realizes that this guy looks vaguely familiar and asks him whose wedding. It turns out that he was one of my husband's good friends from high school and had in fact attended our wedding just that past summer. So amusing coincidence. And topical!
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From:lodessa
Date:May 3rd, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
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I have in the past taken rides from friends of friends of friends. In retrospect it was probably kind of stupid, but I'd gotten stranded or it was the only way to go somewhere I wanted so I felt like it was worth it. But as a woman it is always a risk getting into a car with a man... even if you do know him well... or think you do. So every woman has to weigh the risk vs benefit of that decision every time. The more connected you are to someone we trust the safer it seems... also if someone we trust sees/knows that we got into the car with you.
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From:cran
Date:May 3rd, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
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I won't accept a ride from a friend of a friend unless I have to, because I don't know how good of a driver the person is, I don't know how good of a person they are ("my friend trusts them!" is not good enough, as some of my friends are naive), and sometimes (depending on how tired or annoyed I am) I simply have no interest in making small talk with someone I don't know. I'd rather take public transportation.
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From:electricmonk
Date:May 3rd, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)
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Huh. When I don't accept rides, it's usually because I don't want to feel awkward, not because I fear for my safety. When I do accept rides, it's usually because I'm too cheap for a cab or too lazy for the bus, not because I deeply trust the person. Having read these comments, however, I feel like I should reevaluate. (And that sort of makes it sound like I ride in cars with strange men all the time; I don't.)

You don't look like a rapist, but I guess neither do most rapists.
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From:chasethestars
Date:May 4th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC)
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me too. to all of what you said.
(Deleted comment)
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From:zenkitty_714
Date:May 3rd, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for that quote and its origin! I said essentially this same thing to a male friend one night while out for drinks, and he looked utterly gobsmacked. He'd never even thought about it before.
(Deleted comment)
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From:miniglik
Date:May 3rd, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
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I've accepted rides from strange men before, but these days I'd be pretty leery.

It would help if they were 1) a friend of a friend, and 2) not a linebacker (as gymble said) because I'm less leery of men who don't have a large physical advantage. Still, if there was another easy choice, I'd take that over a ride with a strange man.
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From:zenkitty_714
Date:May 3rd, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
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I am not automatically suspicious of a guy who offers me a ride. It depends on the "vibe" I get from the guy, and the circumstances. I'm more likely to accept a ride from someone in a situation like your reunion, where everyone is two degrees from everyone. A random stranger, I wouldn't unless I were totally desparate. (Like, stranded on the side of a country road in the middle of nowhere on a cold night, with a dead car and a dead cellphone, yeah, I'll get in the pickup and hope Billy Bob isn't a serial killer. This happened. Billy Bob took me out of his way to the one open garage for miles where I could make a phone call, and then stayed with me until my sister arrived. Sometimes people don't suck.)

But that's just me. Other women have had bad experiences that make them wary of everyone, even guys who seem totally nice. You do not in any way resemble a bad man. Try not to take it personally. She was just protecting herself; it isn't about you.
(Deleted comment)
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From:spectralbovine
Date:May 4th, 2008 07:04 am (UTC)
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I think I've heard about "go to hell money" before. That's a good idea.
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From:chasethestars
Date:May 4th, 2008 05:40 am (UTC)
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I get into a stranger's car every morning on the way to work, from East Bay to SF. Usually it's with one other stranger, but sometimes it's just me and the driver is a man. I guess I'm just prepared to duck and roll out of the car if I have to?

I wouldn't get into the car with you though, b/c you totally seem like the serial killer I rapist type!(in case it wasn't obvious, j/k)

I'm actually more suspicious of people who are at the bus stops in downtown Oakland late at night, than I am of a friend or acquaintance of someone I know.

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