she made me wait
she added a stop in the middle of the ride
and we had to wait on a crowded street for her child to get out of school
but she was poor, Black and carrying a newborn so what was i gonna do, add to her struggle?
i dont even know how i got over there but i was way over there around 2pm
i know because when i arrived i texted her in the app saying “im on 68th street, not Fig. at the corner.”
and she texted back, “ok, but my son doesnt get out of school until 2:11.”
most days i would have canceled right then because
when you order rideshare, it tells you how far away the nearest car is and so if your child’s school is 5 minutes away and the app says a driver is 10 minutes away, well, don’t order the car too early.
it was not the best part of town. hookers. motels. even the palm trees looked like they had seen too much and needed a vacation.
so i didnt cancel. i waited and waved people around me.
with one minute to go on the 5 minute timer, she came out with a 6 month old in a car seat wrapped in a few baby blankets. it was unseasonably cold. my car was warm.
she was beautiful. but in an ll cool j ’round the way girl type. like the palm trees, she’d seen too much.
huge smile despite being overwhelmed.
she explained we were going to the school
“snatch up my son”
and come straight back to the apartment complex next to the mexican mini mart.
any time a request comes in that mentions an additional stop, i decline the trip. in a way its double the work for not double the pay, and it involves waiting.
i have been waiting my whole life for things, namely the cubs to win the world series, but now that’s been achieved, the end of my life approaches, so i wanna get everything in as fast as i can
i do not want to be looking at women in lingerie and bikinis parading up and down this south central street while i wait for this that and the other.
this woman was on 68th Place on the east side of south central and i realized decades ago i lived on 68th on the other side, in inglewood.
she said, “oh the wild side!”
“thats the wild side?” i asked in a shocked tone, “you got big booty bitches out here twerking in broad daylight trying to make it happen, and the Wood is the wild side?”
she laughed and laughed. then said, “i could be pushing a stroller down that street on a sunday morning and a truck will honk and ask how much. i gotta move.”
we got to the school and the pickup side street was packed full of cars and minivans. it was a narrow street to begin with, but now there were cars on both sides trying to creep close to the chain link fence where their clueless kids loligagged on the playground side ignoring the calls and honks from their parents
ANGEL, GET OVER HERE GIRL
my passenger chimed in TOMMY! oh thats not Tommy. Where’s my child?
i saw a little opening closer to the gate and creeped the Benz between on car or pickup truck, inches from disaster.
a kid in his parents car – which was creeping towards us – hung out the back seat window and then knocked on the drivers window at his mom. he was bored. she was in a frenzy like the rest of us.
Tommy, who is in 1st grade, and adorable, finally appeared and sauntered over to the car. not a care in the world.
now i had to get through.
it was not easy. and it took a while.
a man in an old oldsmobile saw i only had an inch of clearance on either side of my doors, and waved me to him. i trusted him. he knew neither of us should have been in this mess. i followed his hand motions and when i made it through and cruised by him
we high fived.
in the back seat, Tommy said, “mommy i love you.”
i said, “what about me, Tommy, did you see i just got us through all that?”
“how does he know my name, mommy?” he asked quietly, but not quietly enough.
“oh i know everything about you. I know you have two girlfriends, a Mexican and a Sister…”
his mom said, “oh he doesn’t like Black girls.”
why not? i asked.
“they’re mean to him,” she said.
“and I know you love Roblox.” i said and he gasped.
when we were nearly home the baby gurgled and then coughed loudly.
“damn. that was a grown person cough,” the mom said to the little girl. “we getting you home baby. i’ll heat up some nyquil.”