daily preciousness

Saturday, November 04, 2000

on being an escort...

We were laughing and joking. I was in the lobby of Hill Special Library, at LSU. It was my first day on the job. I was telling my new co-workers about my exploits as an escort.

They suddenly got very quiet. James’ and Jennifer’s eyes widened a little. I was pleased to have given them a little shock; it’s one of my favorite reactions from people.

I didn’t mind being an escort. I only did it twice and the woman was very pleased to have me there. To be honest, I was glad to oblige her. She really needed the companionship.

At my last job, I walked a woman from the office to the parking garage down the street. She’d been attacked and robbed, I told them, a few months before. The garage in question is dark and cavern-like. There’s little or no security to speak of. And I bet that plenty of folks are nervous to park there. I didn’t blame the woman for being skittish still.

Chris, the understated and overworked secretary downstairs, spoke to me in the unmistakable tones of workplace confidence. In a hushed voice, she said to me, "You know Janet was walking to her car at the Centroplex Garage a few months ago, with all her bags. All of a sudden, she got jumped by this black man. He got her purse and ran… She had her keys in her hand, so she drove home just cryin’ her eyes out. Now she doesn’t ever leave the building alone."

I nodded at her, a little surprised by the frankness of Chris. Her voice was so quiet and measured that the revelation seemed even more shocking. I felt so sorry for Janet. I was glad to walk her out, if she needed a little company for her peace of mind. And so I did. Janet was a petite little woman, shy and a little shriveled up. (She reminded me a little bit of my Mom, except for the shriveled up part.)

The conversation flowed pretty well. She was curious about my schoolwork and we talked about that. It seemed a safe topic. We ambled past the chlorinated water fountains in the atrium on the way to the garage.

Boarding the dim, coffin-like elevator, she laughed a little nervously at a lame joke I made about how inefficient the state government was run. But she had a warmth to her smile that I found very charming and sweet.

As we reached her car, Janet apologized for asking me to walk her out. I reminded her that I’d want somebody to walk my Mom out to a dark and scary garage. I think that helped; she smiled sheepishly as I said it.

James and Jennifer seemed to think that my experience as an escort was disappointingly non-scandalous. Not quite juicy enough for them, I guess. Nevertheless, I'm glad that I had that little job because it will always be something I can brag about.

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