A Hooker Ruined My Day

This hooker ruined my day yesterday.  Any time I use the words “this hooker” in a sentence, everyone always asks, “how did you know she was a hooker?”  Well, there are several ways I knew she was a hooker.  One of them is that my neighborhood is full of hookers.  They’re everywhere.  If you’re driving home at 1am and see poorly dressed women posted on every corner, talking to slowing cars?  Hookers.  (I pointed this out to Stephanie once.  She was like, “What?  Really???” and I was like, “Hookers.”)

To get to and from work every day, I drive through a worse neighborhood than the one in which I live (hooray for South City!).  Broadway borders St. Louis on its east side.  The only real thoroughfares any further east are I-55 and the Mississippi River.  Beyond that you’re in East St. Louis, where there are even more hookers.  Maybe its because Broadway has an “end of the world” feel to it, maybe because the area around it has been miraculously decaying for decades and still won’t die, but it’s full of hookers.  And not just the middle of the night hookers, either.  Broadway hookers work all hours of the day.  I’ve seen them out at 7am, noon, 5pm, and, of course, late at night.  They are round-the-clock hookers, which actually depresses me a lot because I think that if I were a hooker, maybe the only benefit would be the flexible hours and late sleeping schedule.

Yesterday, I was at a light at Broadway and Gasconade.  I looked over to the sidewalk and saw a woman walking down the street.  Her hair had been dyed that Bosnian-ish auburn, meaning it’s like henna but fries their hair completely, and no one seems to notice it needs to be re-touched until the roots are halfway down the head.  Her clothes were teeny tiny but ill-fitting, like she’d picked them up at a Kmart in 1996.  Her shoes were that South Side compromise when you realize that it’s really gross to wear bedroom slippers in public, so you just stand on the heels of your canvas shoes until they become slip-ons.  But she still walked with a swish in her meth-bony ass, which is what made me look at her and think, “Hooker.”

Stopped coming out of Gasconade was an older white guy in a new, super clean Mercury.  The boat-shaped kind.  Now, no one comes out of Gasconade at this point unless they’re lost, because a) the west side of Gasconade is a dead end and b) only one street goes into that part of Gasconade and it’s a strange little loop-y road with no purpose.  And as a general rule, the only older white guys with new, super clean cars in this area are either slumlords or johns.

I was hoping.  I was hoping she was just on drugs and he was just a slumlord, and as she crossed the street in front of his car and almost made it to the other curb, I was happy for a second.  Now, I’ve got no problems with sex work.  It’s a legitimate trade and it’s certainly been around for far longer than Information and Business Technology has been.  But dudes, when you see hookers every single day like I do, it starts to wear a little on your soul.  You know she’s not going to spend that $10 or $15 on her gas bill.  You know that guy’s probably going home to a wife.  You want these women to learn a trade, you want the men to stop being such disgusting piggy assholes, and it’s not like you can choose another route home from work because every other way is full of traffic or stop signs.

She got in the car.

She was almost to the curb when he said something to her.  She turned, said something back.  Negotiation.  Again, when you see it all the time, you can tell.  She nodded, the car door opened, she got in.  Deal.

I can’t say that I was having a marvelous day before the hooker.  Truthfully, I was a little worn out and didn’t really want to go to Jazz at the Garden like I’d promised Graham.  But I was taking Kat’s advice and pretending it was Opposite Day: I am so happy to be going to Jazz at the Garden!  Yippeeeeee!  And then I saw the hooker, and she got in the car, and all I could think about after that was how making any sort of plans felt like dragging junk cars up a mountain (or something equally difficult, I don’t know).  Forgetting to bring a blanket to the Garden was enough to make me want to curl up in a ball and cry.  Graham saying that everyone else does things after work so why can’t I* made me want to stomp off, curl up in a ball, and cry.  Even sitting by the lake in the Japanese Garden with pretty much a perfect view in front of me, so perfect that I thought if I could choose the places to haunt after I died, I’d choose a library and the Japanese Garden, made me think about how there were so many hookers out there who were still crawling all over Broadway, and Grand, and all the shitty streets in between.  And I just wanted to cry.

*According to Graham, it’s not my problem that I’m like this, it’s everyone else’s, too, because no one ever gets to see me.  Which is bullshit, because the only people who hang out during the week (all of whom either work later than me or go to work hungover and red-eyed from exhaustion, no thanks) always cancel any plans they make with me.  Which they did last night.  Naturally.

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About erineph

I'm Erin. I have tattoos and more than one cat. I am an office drone, a music writer, and an erstwhile bartender. I am a cook in the bedroom and a whore in the kitchen. Things I enjoy include but are not limited to zombies, burritos, Cthulhu, Kurt Vonnegut, Keith Richards, accordions, perfumery, and wearing fat pants in the privacy of my own home.
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