Walking up the steps after getting off the 6 train at City Hall on Sunday afternoon, I was accosted by a young woman. It seems like I am always being accosted by someone. Here are some of the most common reasons why I am constantly being stopped:
1. Someone needs directions. Get a map! No, just kidding, I don’t mind giving directions.
2. Someone is begging for money. Get a job, please! We are all struggling.
Okay, we have all been a victim of numbers 1 and 2. But what about the latest… #3?
3. Someone needs to borrow your phone.
Hmmm… how would you feel about that? It has happened to me a couple of times recently. So, on Sunday, when this young woman accosted me, I thought: Here we go again. She is going to tell me she forgot her wallet and just needs subway fare to get home, or some such rubbish.
This young woman told me that she had forgotten her phone at home and needed to borrow mine so she could call her mother and tell her that she had gotten off of the subway safely.
Whatever happened to pay phones?
So, I looked at the young woman beside me. No way am I handing my I-phone over to her I thought. My whole life is in here. I was in the middle of showing apartments, and my appointments were all in my calendar. All of my phone numbers are in there. Birthdays, important notes, apps I seem to suddenly “need”.
She was young, maybe in her mid to late teens, the age of my children. I quickly thought of my children, without a phone, needing to reach me. Wouldn’t I want a kind stranger to hand their phone over to them so I could stop staring at my clock at home and biting my fingernails down to the quick with worry?
She had nice skin, and was dressed neatly. She was black skinned, with smoothed down hair. She was not very well spoken.
“You need to call your mother?” I confirmed.
“Yes,” she said.
I imagined handing my phone over to her. She was in sneakers against my high heels. Surely she could flee up those stairs and out of my reach faster than I could follow. It has happened to me before with muggers. They bump into you, and then they grab your stuff and run, run, run. I am a runner, but when you are not dressed properly and they have the edge, you are unlikely to catch them. And, if you do, they could shoot you between the eyes, right?
“What’s her number?” I asked.
The girl told me the number, and I dialled.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
She told me her name. A heavily accented woman answered the phone.
“Your daughter just got off the phone at City Hall,” I reported, telling her the girl’s name.
Honestly, I think I scared the woman half to death. She couldn’t understand me and I couldn’t understand her, but I still wasn’t handing over my I-phone.
“I told her,” I told the girl, and took off quickly, wanting to be done with it.
Fifteen minutes later my phone rang. It was the mother, still frantic. Why had I called her? Where was her daughter?
Oy. No good act goes unpunished. Children… remember your cell phones at all times. Your mothers are waiting to hear from you.