Well not exactly…
Thursday after my philosophy exam (which I totally nailed) I went to lunch with a class mate. He and I went to the Penny Coffee House and had a lengthy conversation about life and philosophy. Cool kid.
After we were done I walked across the street to get into my truck (RAM-50) and drive home. As I climbed in I saw a group of about 5 or 6 guys in shabby clothes with one girl. I reached down to put the key in the ignition and looked up to find the girls rapping on the passenger side window. Too lazy to wind down the hand crank I opened the door to see what she wanted. She jumped into the truck. Before I could say or do anything she asked me to take her to a shelter on the north side of town. So I pulled out into traffic. To be honest my heart went out to this kid – not more than 17 years old. I have had the opportunity to interact with homeless people on several occasions with the urban mission projects I have worked on. I know that there are many choices that have put these people on the street and many circumstances that are beyond their control that strongly affect those choices. So I decided to take her to the shelter.
No sooner were we in traffic than she spoke up. "Hey mister could you help me out with thirty bucks. I need thirty bucks. I was wondering if you could help me out and I have condoms and everything if you want."
My brain froze. I had just gotten propositioned. Me. ME!
Then my brain goes into overdrive. Millions of thoughts blasting through my brain.
"Sorry I don't do stuff like that." I say half whimpering. Silence.
I'm driving, turning. "Can you help me out though?" she says.
"No! I don't have any money on me."
"I just need 30 bucks for a ride home."
"Where's home?" I'm asking still dazed but starting to organize and rank the thoughts chasing through my brain.
"Coaldale. I need a bus ticket."
"I live in Coaldale." I blurt out - stupid brain is letting me down again. And I follow it up with…
"I could give you ride to Coaldale."
"No that's okay. Just drop me off where you picked me up." She says obviously disappointed and disinterested in wasting anymore her energy on me.
"You know," I say, "having sex with you is worth a whole lot more than $30."
"What…" she seems somewhat reengaged- maybe I have reconsidered.
"Really it should be worth somebody spending their whole life with you. $30 is far too cheap to sell your body."
"Yeah" she says. And it occurs to me that my attempt at a coy counseling tip is lost on her. Perhaps this is due to drugs but likely due to a built up resistance to self righteous jerks trying to guilt her into some sort of change. So I drop her off where I picked her up.
I told my story to police officer who lives in our cul de sac and he scared me a little. He said that I could have been picked up and charged for being in the act of soliciting for sex. A cop who knew the downtown could have arrested me. Now wouldn't that be a pretty different story if I was writing it with a court date pending…
It pisses me off that the law works like that. I was just trying to do something nice. But on the other hand I still wince in anger when I draw on the pictures of the johns in their new SUV's and minivans pulling up beside these wasted pieces of flesh. And it fills me with hopelessness for a world where grace can be a crime and where indecency can perpetuate profound brokenness…
Toothless girl sleep well tonight…