My First Serious Job Offer in Literally Years

My morning was interesting. I finally made it to the food pantry in my neighborhood on the day it was supposed to be open (it is advertized as being open on Friday mornings when in fact, it is open Thursday mornings — something that I only became aware of last Friday after one month of repeatedly finding them closed, followed by careful questioning of several people regarding this).


So I arrived this morning half an hour early, as I was advised to do last week, only to find a note written on a paper towel in Spanish that was taped to the wall, stating that there is no food today.
Well, great. Just great.
As I stood there sweating profusely (and oh, so attractively) in the surprisingly hot morning sun, deciphering the spidery handwriting, a man walked up and began talking to me. He wanted to know my name.
“So do you often introduce yourself to girls while they are waiting for the food bank to open?” I laughingly asked him, thinking that he also was waiting for food.
So I didn’t see any harm in telling him. Stupid me, I know. He then told me his name is Tony. I looked closely at Tony’s face and noticed that several of his teeth were broken off near the gumline. That’s gotta hurt, I thought.
As I went to leave, Tony’s intentions became clear: he is a drug dealer who is looking for new customers — oh, and since I am female, he also is happy to act as my pimp. Wow, a real job that pays good money with all the fringe benefits I could ever want! In fact, this is a job that is nothing but fringe benefits — and for a wage, too! What more could I possibly want? Gee, thanks, Tony! Where have you been these past four years while I’ve been struggling just to stay alive and off the streets?
“No,” I responded. “No, thanks. I am not interested.” Despite the fact that I was freaking out, I tried to maintain a calm demeanor, although I did leave immediately.
Of course, Tony obviously believed that “no” is the new “yes” so he followed me, repeating his generous offer of free drugs and lots of sex and money. I ignored him and continued walking as fast as I could. Finally, after following me for a block, he fell silent. Whew.
I walked past the fruit stands and other sidewalk vendors that were just opening and finally arrived at my building. But as I unlocked the security door to my building, I was shocked to find that Tony had followed me! And of course, my cell phone battery had died, so I couldn’t call the police, as I should have done right then and there.
Fortunately, Tony didn’t follow me inside my building, although he did repeat his generous job offer several times — even shouting it, so his voice eched down the hallways of my building, alerting all my neighbors to my good news. In retrospect, I am pleased to remind myself that almost none of them know English very well.
After making sure Tony did not follow me inside, I made it to my apartment, heart pounding, and hid for awhile behind a door that had been secured with a variety of chains, locks and deadbolts while I screwed up the courage to grab my laptop and go to my coffee shop, and wifi.
I guess I am anti-American to not want to participate in good old-fashioned American entrepreneurism.

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About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to My First Serious Job Offer in Literally Years

  1. Luna_the_cat says:

    Wonderful…how utterly, er, delightful. Creep.
    I imagine you’ll always check to make sure you’re not being followed again.
    In situations like this, it does sometimes help to hold your ground, look them in the eye, and say very loudly and firmly, “NO, GO AWAY. Don’t bother me any more.” But I don’t know that you didn’t, of course. I do know from experience how hard it is to stare someone down.
    Man, this sucks though. Your readership worries about you.

  2. i actually said no, i am not interested and walked away. but i am absolutely certain that unless i had stuck a loaded gun up his nose and repeated my counter-offer, he really would not have left me alone.

  3. Joe says:

    Glad you are okay, but that’s scary.
    This sort of thing is rare, but should it happen again do not head directly home. Instead, go to a nearby bodega, bakery, McDonald’s, etc. any busy place of business. Tell the manager/owner that there is someone following you and you want to hang out in the store for a while. If you sense you are in danger have them call the police. Time is money for a guy like Tony. If you stay in a store for a few minutes he will go away to look for another mark.
    By all means report the incident to the police. There have been a series of unsolved muggings in your neighborhood this spring and any leads the NYPD can get will be helpful.

  4. that’s a good idea, joe. the police like to drop in to my coffee shop several times each day, so i will be sure to mention it to them when i see them today. thanks.

  5. Ian says:

    I’m so glad you’re okay (as okay as you could be after that, that is!)
    What an awful thing to happen. It’s not like you were hanging around that neighborhood for no good reason.

  6. yeah! i was job hunting!

  7. Rick Pikul says:

    If you’re trying to shake someone like that, a better place than a business might be a police station.
    It’s the one place a drug dealer isn’t going to follow, and since you want to report this anyway….

  8. Chris' Wills says:

    Well bummer, I was actually looking forward to hearing some good news :o(
    Hope that you’re not pestered by this creep again, remember to tell the police. They probably know the person and it might help them in doing something about him and his actions.

  9. trog69 says:

    Mebbe “more to the story” guy from the atheism comments could explain how God is protecting you against ‘Tony’. Of course, God could be lookin’ out for ol’ Tony, and presented you as a gift? Sheesh.
    This post is a wake up call; Not for the obvious “Men like Tony should be put down like the rabid dogs they are”, but that food banks nationwide are finding their shelves bare. Please give ’til it hurts, people. When at the store, buy a can of beef stew or 3 to donate, or similar foodstuffs. Please.

  10. thanks trog69 for mentioning this. in fact, as a person who relies a lot on food banks once again, let me make a few suggestions as to what i personally never get enough of: cheese and other dairy products, and fresh fruits and vegetables. if a person was interested to donate to food banks, i highly recommend these non-perishable items: peanut butter; good-quality jellies or jams instead of the taste-free brands (Polaner) that i sometimes mistakenly purchase; teas and canned coffees; real fruit juices, soymilk and real cow’s milk that are packaged so they can sit on a shelf at room temperatures without spoiling; BROWN rice instead of highly polished nutrition-free white rice; dried peas, lentils, beans, etc.; canned stews with chunks of real meat in them; salt-free or low-salt meats canned in water instead of fatty oils; dried or “jerked” meats; bullion cubes and canned broths for cooking; complete meals that are enough for one or two people; and special diets like ethnic, vegetarian and vegan foods and meals are very appreciated.
    i don’t know what my neighbors do for fresh fruits and vegetables, but i purchase these items from a grocery store after they are marked down as “unsalable” because they are bruised or overripe or whatever (i give fresh produce to my birds and only eat it myself if there is enough left over for me or when i lack the self-control to resist). i also buy fresh produce from street venders when the price is affordable, especially since street venders’ produce is typically of higher quality and is more accessible than that in grocery stores.
    which leads me to mention that it is a very thoughtful thing to donate pet food — both canned and dry dog and cat foods along with good quality bird seed mixes for small and large birds and parrots — to food banks because lots of low-income people do have pets.

  11. How scary! 😦
    Thanks for the food bank tips. It helps a lot.
    (I’ve been looking at your blog off and on in my reader all year. I’m another Blog 365er.)

  12. themadlolscientist says:

    As a sometime food bank “customer,” I heartily second the call for more – and more varied – donations. The “selection” can be really weird at times. On occasion we’ve been practically bombarded with one kind of food while the place was just about out of everything else.
    The weirdest? One week it was pies, and another it was lemons. And of course there’s the occasional glut of overripe bananas, wilted lettuce, or zucchini. (Actually, I love zucchini, so I don’t consider that as big a problem as some folks do. =grin=)
    Not really worth walking 2 miles for. Is it any wonder I live on ramen noodles (or rice or potatoes for variety) and eggs? Thanks be to Ceiling Cat for multivitamins!
    I also second the suggestion of ducking into the nearest commercial establishment if you’re being hassled on the street. Going home is probably the bigest mistake you can make. I’m glad you’re safe!