She was a prostitute.
I could tell she was because this was Vegas, and the only women in Vegas who talk to me are either my vendors, or prostitutes. And this one sure wasn’t a vendor. i said “hi” to her in response (and don’t you look at me that way – if i’m allowed to talk to other women, i’m allowed to talk to her as well – i mean, she’s obviously someone’s vendor!) and i made it quickly known, with my best altar boy smile, that we would only be sharing a brief verbal exchange – nothing else. And we did. And it was quite nice. Turns out she’s a single working mom (of the “working girl” variety) and she has a teenaged son that she’s trying to raise to be better off in the future than he is today. The chat didn’t last long, and she was even nice enough to ask me if i had changed my mind about, ummm – making her a vendor of sorts – before trotting off to the next drinking hole. Presumably one where the men were willing to do more than just chat for a spell.
Now, this exchange happened several years back, but it still sticks in my noodle, creeping back into my memory on occasion. And for the most part it does so because of her eyes. You see, when she was speaking of her son and their life together, they positively twinkled – but when she was “talking shop” they deadened to the point where you would have thought she was describing the passing of her first puppy. She never mentioned anything remotely like that, of course, but she did have a way of letting me know, mostly through her body language and facial expression, that she had definitely seen the death of innocence. She had most likely seen it several times, in fact, and was clearly no longer surprised by the human animal. Unless one of them said that they just wanted to chat for a spell, i suppose.
So, why did i speak to her? Excellent question. Especially considering the environment i was raised in. One wherein on almost a daily basis we heard that we were to “love the sinner, but hate the sin” while at the same time being taught (sometimes subliminally, sometimes outright) to not only avoid and shun “the sinners”, but anyone at all who had the bad misfortune of being even remotely different than us. Being seen with a hooker gets you arrested. Being seen with a drug dealer gets you killed. Being seen with a gay person makes you one as well (i suppose it rubs off or something?). Being seen with a homeless person makes you a ne’er-do-well, and being seen with a priest gets you molested – oh no, wait – they never did alert us as to that one. Anywho, i guess against my upbringing and my better judgement, i ended up speaking with her, once again because of those eyes. i suppose i just needed to reach in and see if they really were as dead as they appeared. i was relieved to find out that they were not, but saddened to realize that we live in a world where so many eyes are dead, so many innocence’s killed. For the life of me, i simply can not understand why it happens so often – this human ability to see another as mere property, or worse. For one of us to determine that our needs are so very important, we can treat other humans as little more than disposable play things, in order to achieve our goals. In short, i guess i’m just not getting why we created a world in which we need some people to be gainfully employed as prostitutes.
And just before i get down from my soapbox (“Oh hell no, he’s on another one of his meandering rants!”) – to those of you who are captains of industry, religious leaders and citizen-kings or queens – please note that i am not only speaking of, and to, the people who dismiss humanity for their own sexual gratification. i am also including those of your ilk who simply have to have – all to yourself – the same amount of acreage that at least five families could live comfortably on. Those of you (both religious and atheist alike) who needle your way through religious texts and hand pick words and phrases solely in an effort to damn someone to hell, simply because their way differs from yours. Those of you who shun and ostercize good people and neighbors simply because they don’t wear the right clothes, or have the right job, or share the correct color of skin. To you too, i wave my not-so-mighty finger of indignation (shaming you undoubtedly in the process), for your excess, for your selfishness, for your abuse of your fellow man, for your – well – for all the things you do that i try to pretend i don’t do as well. And in my train(wreck) of thought, this is usually right about the point where Jesus steps in… (What? It’s not like i didn’t warn you he was making an appearance right up there in the title or anything):
“Whoa pally, just back it the flip up there for a second! I mean, let’s be clear: you’re not exactly due for Sainthood anytime soon either. Well, of the Roman Catholic variety, at any rate. We’ll discuss true sainthood when the time is right. And yeah, you were nice enough to talk to one of my sisters who happens to be an “undesirable” in most humans eyes. It’s been duly noted, and that’s one more Gold Star for you that I’m placing along with the rest. Yeah, I actually do keep track of those things. Surprised? But I gotta tell ya – even with it’s addition, you still wouldn’t have nearly enough to cover up all the check marks you’ve made in the book, to date. And no, I don’t keep track of those – so stop gettin’ all bug-eyed, and just relax. My point here is this: you focus on your story boy-O, and stop with all the ‘i can’t understands‘. YOU stop treating my people like mere objects. YOU do the right thing – all the time. Or at least as often as you can.”
“You know, my Light may have come into this world through my own actions, but it can only be spread through yours. I need you to carry on my work – not in word, but in deed. OK fine, in word AND deed. Go ahead – keep your silly blog, but don’t focus sooooo much on the words only – I’ve got quite of few who do that already, and their follow-through is spotty at best. You see, we’re a team, you and I, and I have no use for whiners on my team. So stop pontificating. Stop ‘wishing‘ you knew what to do – because we both know that you already do. Just get out there and do it already! I love you bunches, t. Now you go and do the same – Cool? (((MeHugs))) And hey, next time you’re trying to be all ‘High n’ Mighty’ in my name, you might want to think about actually mentioning my name in the process. Just sayin’…”
That Jesus, always derailing my most stoic, “in-your-face world!” posts. The way he talks, you’d think he was the son of God or something. Heck, the way he talks, you’d almost swear that i didn’t speak to a prostitute at all, but rather, just a person. One who, like many of us, has a hope for a better future – and unlike some of us, still a bit of a twinkle in her eye. And maybe in the end, she helped me far more than i ever thought i was helping her as a result.