Walking the Whores Path pt. 1


There’s an invisible curtain which separates the quaint neighborhood I live in from a seedier portion of Tenth Street. It’s funny to imagine that I sit and write this sermon in a placid old community filled with happy folks and just a few blocks away lies a sea of dystopia. I am consumed with wanderlust and feel the need to witness and observe “what’s goin’ on” there on Tenth. I’m an urban anthropologist and savor the ruddy streets where human deformities empathize with one another and do what they can to make it through another day.

My latest fascination out there on Tenth is observing the prostitutes that pepper a city long block and a half area close to that invisible curtain. The daytime typically brings out only those that absolutely need to be on the street but the evenings, when the temperatures dip a bit, that’s when the hookers take to the streets. It’s become a hobby for me to sit and watch them work, take note of their m.o. and ponder what it is that would drive a woman to do the things they do for money…..I guess money is the bottom line here.

Observing them was step one but my next phase involved engaging them in conversation to learn more about them as individuals, or at least to learn a bit about their tribe to see if there might be any pinpoint characteristic that sets them apart from the rest of us. Not everyone is equipped mentally and emotionally to handle blowing a total stranger for cash and I wanted to find out what type psyche (or lack thereof) they had. I took baby steps upon approaching them so as not to scare them off. I didn’t want them to think I was some deranged prostitute killer stalking the streets for my next victim so this meant having some finesse in approaching them…walk the line and let them get to see you on the streets as one of those regulars out there just trying to get through the day. Every evening after writing or working on some project I would take my nightly walk along the whores path, that stretch of Tenth where they contain their practice. I make it a point to talk to home owners and bench sitters out here, all sorts of souls out here with good nature but tough skin. Nice folks like the couple I passed by the other night and  talked to. They sit at this one particular bus stop chatting the night away with one another, some evenings until close to midnight. The man’s name is Donald. He’s this old black man who mostly dresses in mechanic’s overalls. Her name is Shaleah. The night we all spoke Shaleah wore this gold shimmy blouse and had a black wig that looked like something from the classic Motown era; as I pass by I ask them how they’re doing.
“Doing fine….you know who you remind me of?” she says. “You remind me of that guy on those tv commercials that sells guns. That dude who says ‘I don’t wanna make any money, I just loooove to sell guns.”
We all crack up over that one and sit a while and talk. I greet people out here constantly, watching the whores, waving and smiling to build up recognition in their minds to let them know I’m not a cop, I’m not a killer, I’m not a customer……

Just what the fuck am I?


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