So okay, sometimes I think that my brain doesn't send messages to the rest of my body quickly enough for me to realize I'm doing something stupid, so I end up in the middle of a stupid situation before I come up with a good plan for getting out of it. This would be okay if I could act on said plan in a timely fashion, but usually the best plan is avoid the situation in the first place.
Recently I ended up in one of these situations trying to be a good and helpful Samaritan. I'm in my car pulling up to an intersection, minding my business when I see two distressed looking girls trying to wave me down. At first I assumed it was a case of mistaken identity and they thought I was someone they knew or maybe they just needed directions, but deep down I knew that look. It was the 'can you help me?' look. But by 'help' they didn't mean information. I knew they would be asking for a ride and/or money and a normal person under these circumstances would roll up the window (or they would already be up and the AC would be on since it was like 90 degrees) and not make eye contact. I, as you may be coming to realize, am not normal.
Even though my instincts told me that these girls were not to be completely trusted I still acknowledged them and asked what was wrong. The first girl, who I'll just call Vanessa (since that's the name she gave me and it's probably not her real name!), tells me that they are waiting for some money to be wired to them through Western Union, but the one they're at is having machine trouble. The sob story was that they needed diapers and formula for their 3-4 kids (I can't remember and they're probably not real either) that are at home with their mother (oh yeah they're allegedly sisters too). So would I be so kind as to drop them off... Oh no I take that back, not drop them off, take them to the nearest Western Union and then bring them back there because it's near the house, and of course I have time for this. Technically I did. I was on my way to class but I was going early to sit in on an earlier class that I wasn't actually taking (another story for another blog). Anyway, all I really wanted was to get a smoothie before class. It was SO hot and I just wanted something fresh, fruity and delicious to quench my thirst. This was to be postponed for quite some time...
So Vanessa and Monique (the alleged sister), get into my car and thank me profusely for helping them out. Vanessa, who probably is a lot cuter when she isn't in sweats and looking stressed out (and trying to hustle innocent students), turns to ask me if I believe in psychics. She caught me off guard because at that point I was scanning the car for any valuables that might be easily accessible. Luckily there were none. The only thing sitting in the cup holder was my sour apple hand sanitizer (of which she did partake), my phone was in my pocket, and my school bag was in the back with Monique, but I doubted that she would need any paper or text books. When she asked the question I thought that she was going to tell me that it was fate that I picked her up, or that she felt I had a positive aura or something and I was prepared to not laugh at this. What I was not prepared for was for her to tell me that she was in fact a psychic and she could read my palm for the bargain price of $20. Before I had the chance to give her my "bitch-are-you-serious-I'm-giving-you-a-goddamn-ride"face she quickly rescinded her charge and said "Or, I could give you a free one once you bring us back." Thanks.
Next I drop them off at a Western Union spot a couple of blocks away and I tell her I have to get gas (which I was in desperate need of and should have been the reason I never picked them up in the first place. Damned hindsight!!). I assured her that I would be right back to get them and take them back to where I found them. A normal person would have been lying at this point, jumping at the opportunity to rid themselves these girls and considering the fact that Monique had a plastic shopping bag that contained something that looked suspiciously like Pull-Ups. But I'm not that person.
I went to a gas station a block a way and was annoyed to find that it was jam packed. It was Saturday and barely after noon so I couldn't understand where all these people had come from already, so instead of waiting in a line that would have either had me sitting in the street or in the way of everyone trying to get in or out, I decided to just leave. There was no line at Western Union so I figured they'd be done already anyway.
When I pull in the parking lot of the Western Union. I see Vanessa on her cell still wearing the same pained look she had when she flagged me down, and Monique is talking to (harassing?) a slightly frightened looking woman trying to go to the adjacent doughnut shop. So Vanessa hangs up the phone and tells me that, wait for it....................the money's not there! You think she would've saw that coming.
She motions for Monique to give up on her other victim and get in the car, then explains that she was just talking to Monique's babydaddy who was supposed to send the money and claims that he did send it but he's a big fat liar. I could've taken this moment to second guess Vanessa's psychic abilities and explain that she might've saved us all a lot of time (and gas!) had she checked this at the first Western Union, and maybe I should've because she would have felt bad and refrained from asking me for money. Alas, I didn't and she did. Fortunately, I had just had my wallet stolen the week prior (yet another story for another blog) and I was more guarded than usual in this area. Plus all I had was two fives and one was definitely for my smoothie, and I'm pretty sure she couldn't get any diapers for five dollars. I turned her down and decided not to add insult to injury by asking for my free palm reading.
In retrospect, I think not asking for the reading was actually a mistake. I think that there was never any money at Western Union and she knew it. She just wanted to impose on my kindness and she sensed that I was stupid enough to give her a ride and feel sorry for her and possibly give her some money or at least lead her to a new batch of suckers that she and her 'sister' could prey on. Her abilities were probably sharper than I gave her credit for. She tried to make some observations about me from just looking at me ("That's a fake smile. You're not really happy." Duh!), but I wouldn't take off my sunglasses. Maybe if I would've she could've told me if a relationship will come out of the situation I'm in now, or if I'm gonna do well on my Environmental Science test. But then again, the free offer was probably null and void since she the only money she was really expecting was from me, and all I had was two fives.