The decision to stop your car for a helpless woman desperately flagging you down from the side of a deserted road is not an easy one. It seems like the good-guy thing to do, but this is the real world, and there’s a good chance her boyfriend is hiding in the bushes with a gun (for killing you) or a suitcase (for throwing in your backseat and demanding you drive them both somewhere terribly inconvenient). I’ve also seen enough bad movies to know she may be a vengeance wraith trolling the highways in search of the drunk driver who killed her. Then again, I’ve also seen enough good movies to know she might be a Catholic Girls’ School runaway who wants nothing more than to get out of her rain-soaked t-shirt. There are so just many factors you have weigh during the time you see a stranded woman and the time you either stop or speed up.

The first time it happened to me I was living in Tucson and it was midnight. I stopped to roll down my window, which is apparently a form of “street lingo” meaning “feel free to open the door and climb in”. Fortunately, I was able to pull away before the woman could get all the way in and finish whatever she was saying. I felt my action was justified by her brazen audacity, but I still tried to convince myself she had said something completely incoherent about “getting stoned on bong water”. Deep down, I’m pretty sure it was more about “getting home to my daughter”. This guilt, perhaps, slowed my response in future situations.

The last time it happened, two weeks ago, I was not fast enough to prevent an aging, Hispanic lady with a minority of teeth from jumping in the passenger seat to ask if “we” could go get some drinks at a bar, right before she started crying. I told her I didn’t drink, and she asked if I was a Christian. Saying yes probably would have prevented the entire course of the conversation to come, and I’m not sure why I didn’t since I lied anyway by proclaiming, “No, I just don’t like the taste!”

She first explained to me that she hated her husband, which I presume was one of three Mexican men sitting by a broken down car I had passed about a mile earlier. It seemed they had been teaching her to drive but she’d plowed into a cactus and he had’t been too happy with her. Then, she abruptly began to describe what a bad lover he was using phrases like “Mr. Bam Wham Done” and “Short Stuff”. This was a big problem, she explained, because she likes to have 2 or 3 “wow-ee’s” instead of none.

Finally, as my anxiety was escalating, she asked me if I liked blowjobs. To my ears, this was the same as asking if I wanted a blowjob, and even though she knew I wasn’t Christian, I was surprised she thought I was heterosexual after my admission that I just didn’t like the taste of alcohol. “Not me,” I stated, “I don’t like the taste of blowjobs either!” That seemed to clear up the situation.

Eventually, I agreed just to drop her off at a bar because I was very busy. On the way she told me I should never get married and that she “wasn’t a racist, but her daughter was dating a lazy Mexican with no money.” I stopped at the first place that looked like it might have a bar, a pizza joint, and gave her my best wishes. I’m not sure what happened to her, and I’m pretty sure there was no bar in there, but they did have pizza. And who doesn’t like the taste of pizza?