The other evening, after a long day of writing, a train stalled on my line as I was attempting to make my way home. The train wasn’t stuck for long, but all the people who had been kicked off other trains behind it were now at the same station. It was so crowded that I couldn’t even make it down the stairs onto the platform. I took one look and decided to take a taxi. I jumped in the first available one I saw, thinking $15 wasn’t a lot to spend for an uneventful commute home. But things didn’t actually go as I had planned.
As we were driving, I kept thinking: “Why is he driving on local streets to go from the South Bronx to the north?” All was revealed when he pulled over and asked me if I’d wait while he dropped off some money at a barbershop. I considered jumping out and hailing another cab, but anyone who is familiar with the Bronx knows that Southern Boulevard and Boston Road isn’t someplace you want to hang out. So I waited, thinking the whole time that I’m always in the predicament of waiting on a man.
Yes, there are all those jokes of women taking twice as long as men to get ready for dates and such, but I believe that a woman is either a punctual person or not. Yet there’s something innate in men that makes them believe we should wait on them no matter what. My theory has been proven in most of my experiences with important men in my life.
I remember waiting on Friday nights or early Saturday afternoons for my dad to pick me up on his weekends. He was often late with no explanation. It didn’t matter that my mom might have things she needed to do or that I would want to spend my whole weekend with him. I accepted this as my dad’s way of doing things, but I soon found out most men assume their time is more important than mine.
My ex, D, had this problem big time. Whether we had a date or I was waiting to meet him somewhere, what he needed to do was tantamount. Once, a friend of D’s was supposed to drop something off to him, but was late, so D was late picking me up for our movie date. Then, we had to drop the friend home in Yonkers because how dare the friend be inconvenienced. Since the movie theater was on the other side of town, we missed our movie. Sometimes D would tell me ahead of time that I’d be playing the waiting game and other times, I’d sit around for 15 minutes, an hour, or 90 minutes without any explanation. What was it that made him think that I had absolutely nothing else to do? Maybe it was the fact that I had put up with it so many times, but even when I would complain he continued to make me wait other times.
After reading Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment, I realized that I made a mistake the first time D asked me to wait without any real choice. As Steve wrote, a man can only get away with what I let him. The first time D made me wait or put me on the back burner, I should have let him know I wasn’t going to stand for it. That assuming I’d wait wasn’t going to be the norm, and that I’d walk if he couldn’t understand that. Now I know for the next time, whether it’s a boyfriend or a taxi driver.