Take the Girl out of Humboldt: Part III

 

Part I link

Part II link

 

 

Job interviews terrify me. But this was dream employment so I girded my loins and knocked on the front door. It opened inwards. A big haired blonde wearing a grimy gray sweatshirt and too tight jeans stood there. She stared blankly at me for a moment before mumbling, “Yeah, that’s right. You’re the redhead. C’mon in the next room. We got a coupla chairs there.”

 

She led me through a cavernous shell. The house seemed to squat around itself like a hen over an egg. Basically it was empty. In the next room was a young guy at a card table. He nodded over the top of his paper at us then went back to reading.

 

The woman plodded to the one ratty armchair and sat down thickly as if the air coagulated around her. I sat, legs crossed, in a folding chair across from her.

 

“So what you lookin’ for?”

 

In a fit of nerves, I told her. I believe I started when I was born, worked my way minutely through various childhood traumas, described all the jobs I had had and ended with how I had let my money slip through my fingers. “I just can’t ask Mom and Dad for help. I’ve got to get a job and this one sounds great. I love people.”

 

The woman gaped at me, blinked, and asked, “Got a problem with having chicks and guys both as clients? ‘Cause we can see as how you can have just guys. If you don’t like workin’ same on same.”

 

“Oh, no,” I reassured her. “I love working with women. In fact, I prefer it. I’ve done most of my massage work with them.”

 

The woman looked taken back. “Well, there isn’t all that much call for just workin’ with women but, if you don’t mind workin’ with another one of our girls…there’s a lot a call for two on one you know.”

 

Wow, I wasn’t even going to have to massage all by myself. I had been a teeny bit worried that if I was alone in a room massaging a man he might get frisky with me but now I grinned and nodded happily picturing this great working relationship where my co-worker and I would chat happily as we worked oil into our client’s shoulders.

 

The woman looked over at the young guy and he nodded and smiled. “Well, now, I think you’re gonna be alright. I been workin’ this buizness for long time and I can tell a good girl from a bad one and you’ll do alrigh’ with us. ‘For we can get down to hours and days, we got to get John’s okay but he’ll like you. ” She turned, “Pass me the phone, Don.”

 

 

She popped a Coke that had been sitting on the card table beside her. “So honey, who taught you the buizness?” She took a swallow and began dialing.

 

I beamed at her, “My grandma.”

 

Maybe it was the dead silence, maybe it was the way the guy put down his paper, maybe it was just my superior awareness of the subtle nuances of human behavior but suddenly I knew that this apparently innocuous answer had just changed the course of the interview.

 

The other two looked at each other quickly and then the woman said, a little breathlessly, “Um, so uh.. what’d Gramma teach?”

 

Hoping to recover whatever I had ground I had inadvertently lost, I quickly asserted, “My grandma is an expert in Foot Reflexology. She knows how to grind the big toe and under the ball of the foot. She can bring tears to your eyes.”

 

“Shit…I mean shucks,” the young guy actually laid his head on the table as if he were unable to hold himself upright. “Holy schmoly, Sheila, I think maybe we are in a bit of a mess.”

________________________________

 

Tomorrow Part IV The end

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16 comments

  • It took them that long to catch on? Not too bright, those two. And they were supposed to be the worldly ones.

  • It took them that long to catch on? Not too bright, those two. And they were supposed to be the worldly ones.

  • WHAT!? They didn’t ask for Grams to come down & interview too!? Sheesh! They really weren’t too savvy, were they? wink.

  • WHAT!? They didn’t ask for Grams to come down & interview too!? Sheesh! They really weren’t too savvy, were they? wink.

  • Writing this, I realized that we (those other two fellow travelers and I) all saw what we wanted to see. I had always blamed myself for being such an idiot but now I realize that we all were in the process of blinding ourselves to reality. I, so I could get this job where I got lots of money for very little. They, so they could have a clean looking college girl doing a job often done by women who show their desperate lives on their face.

    (I want to make clear I don’t think all prostitutes are desperate. I took a class in college once called Pornography and Women that introduced me to some pretty interesting and savvy women in professions that the rest of society looks down on. … I’ll have to write about that too;>)

    You know, Grandma could have had those two whimpering, begging to be set free if she ever got her hands on their feet.

  • Writing this, I realized that we (those other two fellow travelers and I) all saw what we wanted to see. I had always blamed myself for being such an idiot but now I realize that we all were in the process of blinding ourselves to reality. I, so I could get this job where I got lots of money for very little. They, so they could have a clean looking college girl doing a job often done by women who show their desperate lives on their face.

    (I want to make clear I don’t think all prostitutes are desperate. I took a class in college once called Pornography and Women that introduced me to some pretty interesting and savvy women in professions that the rest of society looks down on. … I’ll have to write about that too;>)

    You know, Grandma could have had those two whimpering, begging to be set free if she ever got her hands on their feet.

  • I think your insights in the previous comment are right on track. However, from my reading of it, I’d put an even finer point on it: the really interesting thing for me that’s developing out of this story is that it’s not just about you losing innocence, but it’s about how the circumstances of your encounter reveal and threaten their innocence too…

    They may have been more “worldly” than you in some respects, but they were innocents when it came to how they saw you and how they understood the role of “grandma.”

  • I think your insights in the previous comment are right on track. However, from my reading of it, I’d put an even finer point on it: the really interesting thing for me that’s developing out of this story is that it’s not just about you losing innocence, but it’s about how the circumstances of your encounter reveal and threaten their innocence too…

    They may have been more “worldly” than you in some respects, but they were innocents when it came to how they saw you and how they understood the role of “grandma.”

  • You know, you are right innocence is really relative. Sophistication or as some might put it, corruption in one area doesn’t automatically mean that one can’t be innocent in another.

  • You know, you are right innocence is really relative. Sophistication or as some might put it, corruption in one area doesn’t automatically mean that one can’t be innocent in another.

  • Yes, and in some respects we use our own innocence (or illusion of it) to hide or make more palatable the corrupt parts of ourselves. They would be horrified to find out that your Grandma had been so corrupt as to instill in you the very skills and attitudes towards sex that they were looking for themselves.

  • Yes, and in some respects we use our own innocence (or illusion of it) to hide or make more palatable the corrupt parts of ourselves. They would be horrified to find out that your Grandma had been so corrupt as to instill in you the very skills and attitudes towards sex that they were looking for themselves.

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