I was schlepping around the Internet yesterday because that’s just what I do, when I stumbled upon a rather interesting post on Facebook. I’ll admit – my interest in Facebook is waning considerably. It used to be such an interesting place to meet new people and talk about interesting things, but lately it’s just become an echo chamber filled with pictures of people’s dogs, clickbait personality tests that are actually just data mining scams, and tepid, regurgitated, and depth-less political opinions. The only reason I’m still on Facebook is because of the #metoo movement – Facebook seems to be the #1 gossip site for outing shitty rapists, and while posts like that pop up only once or twice a month, it is TOTALLY WORTH IT to keep Facebook just so I can catch some fresh, piping hot tea.
This is what happened yesterday, and, yes, it completely validated my use of that website.
Somebody posted about some pirate punk guy, saying that he was a rapist (shocker) and a tweaker. I was combing through the stories, feeling empowered as usual, when I realized: oh, shit, I know this guy! Oh, I used to work with him! As I read through the stories of abuse, I remembered: I have a shitty story, too!
I used to work with this guy five years ago at my first bartending job ever. He did door, and he lived in the same neighborhood as me, so we shared cabs home a once or twice. This is back in the pre-Uber/Lyft era, and let me remind you: cabs never came when they said they would, they were way more expensive, and Oakland cabs tended to have an unsavory creep factor to them if you were just calling the cab company because Carlos was too booked up to pick you up.
One time, on one of those usual late nights, after closing up the bar he offered to split a cab ride home with me. I accepted because, like I said, cabs were expensive and hard to come by, so sharing a cab was the logical thing to do. We got in the cab, and he asked me if I wanted to come over to his house. I didn’t. It was late, after 3 am, and I had worked a full bar shift. I just wanted to go home and shower and watch cartoons. Not to mention, this guy was a pirate punk – no thank you! Also, he was old. And gross. As in, never, I pass, get away from me, I just want to go home.
But he kept on pressing the issue. Come on, come over, we’ll have a drink, blah, blah, blah. No, no, no. He kept on telling the cab driver, “Just go to my house,” and I kept insisting that we go to my house. It was awkward for the cabbie, and as we rolled past my house, he told the cabbie to keep going. At this point the guy was getting close to me, grabbing me, trying to kiss me and prevent me from leaving the car. The cabbie slowed down, confused as to what was going on as the guy told him to keep driving. I flung open the car door and hopped out of the car as it was still driving and ran down the street to my house.
The next day, I told my boss and that guy was promptly fired.
I had totally forgotten about this incident until I saw that guy get doxxed on Facebook for being a rapist. Part of me thought, “How the fuck did I forget I jumped out of a moving car at 3 am in West Oakland to avoid some guy harassing me?” And then I remembered: oh, yeah, I was being harassed by the majority of my coworkers at that point in time. That was just a drop in the bucket.
I tossed my story into the Facebook comments, and then wondered: how much is that shit still happening in my community? I’d like to think that after Charlie Hallowell and the #metoo movement that these kind of issues are being dealt with and perhaps decreasing in incidence, but, honestly, even when I was in the thick of it, I didn’t know who I could talk to about these kinds of things.
We all deserve better.