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the politics of contraband

*nock, knock*

After dropping a loaded trailer at my company's drop yard in Girard, I was lounging in the bunk and chatting with welfy on-line. When I heard the knocking, I assumed it was one of the other drivers in the yard; maybe they needed a couple of spare trip envelopes or help sliding trailer tandems and saw the light inside my cab. My truck has crank handles on the windows, and I'm typically too lazy to bother with them, so I popped the driver-side door open to see what they needed. A woman hopped onto the side-board to greet me.

"Can I sit inside for a minute? It's really cold out here. I'm a sweetheart, you don't have to worry about me."

I already knew where this was going, but it wasn't the typical opening. She was in her late-30s/early-40s with a slim build. Even in the dim light of the cab, I could see her face had the weathered look of someone who's had a hard-knock life so far. She wasn't dirty or unkempt, and her clothes were in good shape, but she looked tough, like sun-dried leather. I was standing on the other side of the seat. I stuck my knee into the seat and leaned forward.

"I'm getting ready to go to bed, hon. I can't let you in."

She asked again, sticking with the "it's cold" and "I'm a nice girl" routine. When I refused again, the story changed.

"I ran out of gas and need some money."

That's how it usually opens. I gave my usual reply that I didn't have any cash on me, that I don't carry it and just use my bank card while I'm on the road. Of course, she volleyed with the typical response.

"What about change? Anything?"

I conceded and scraped the silver from the inside of my pocket and handed it to her.

"You got a cigarette?"

I thought I could at least give the girl a smoke before sending her on her way. I glanced at the dash but the box of cigarettes weren't there. I had left them in the bunk where I had been resting. I told her I'd give her a cigarette, and removed my knee from the seat and turned toward the bunk. I just needed to take a step back there to grab the smokes. On my way to the bunk I heard her say, "I just want to warm-up for a second."


Cigarettes in hand I turned to find her sitting in the driver seat. I pulled one from the pack.

"I really am a sweetheart. Look at these, nice body and everything."

She was referring to her breasts, as she had pulled her T-shirt up to reveal them stuffed into a black bra. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a nice rack.

"I'm not interested," I replied. She lowered her shirt and I handed her the cigarette.

"I really could use $20. Maybe we can work something out?"

I told her again I wasn't interested and handed her my lighter. She lit the cigarette and handed it back.

"You don't have a change jar or anything?"

I told her that I needed for her to leave. She reluctantly pulled the door handle and exited the truck, back into the cold, rainy night.

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How often do you get approached?

From hustlers in general, all the time. Maybe once every couple of months from actual lot lizards.

Didn't your mother tell you not to open the door for strangers?

Those admonitions fell on the deaf ears of a trusting soul.

I felt so sad when I read this.

You do write exceptionally well, BTW.


Yeah, I felt sorry for her. She was probably just trying to hustle 20 bucks for some rock.

Nice! You need a video cam/cab cam, my man.

It would be excellent YouTube material.

I never knew such a thing really happened. Wow.

Oh, I see, your username is a typo... naivegreen? ;)

Heh... I love the underbelly of society. It fascinates me. There's an entire culture of etiquette and economics that is so different from mainstream society.

There needs to be a "Secret Lives of Truckers" on Oprah or something.

I've always wondered about some experiences I've had. One time, I could swear a trucker was trying to get me to pull over into a rest stop (by honking, passing, etc). When I pulled off (because I was terrified), it seemed like he was looking for me. And sometimes when I leave my sunroof open, I hear little horn taps from semis.

Is this some kind of code? If it is, I'm sure she gets plenty of business.

HI MISSY!!!!!!!1 Are you a new addition to the Soopageek fan club?!

Hey, at least you got to see teh RACK3D!

Maybe I should've offered her twenty dollars just to take pictures?

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I'm not familiar with the song.

I prefer the term "recreational reptile" usually, but "lot_lizard" made for a better tag. :)

That story makes me a little sad, but at the same time, I admire the woman - I always make the joke about sucking dick at the truck stop for beer money, but there is something that i think is noble about it all. Like you, I have a thing for the underbelly of society, maybe that is why I surround myself with some of the company that I do... X cons, X drug addicts, current drug addicts- there is something to be said about it I think... now you have me thinking :)

It's kinda what I meant in a previous comment. There is a certain nobility to it. A lot of people feel a certain bit of sympathy, as do I, but at the same time, other than a clashing of ethics between mainstream, middle-class/working-class culture is there really any difference? Survival in a capitalist culture depends on the exploitation of personal assets, whether they be learned via education/training or naturally acquired (athletic ability, artistic proclivity, brute strength). They are exploited for the purpose of procuring an income which we spend on the things we deem important in our lives.

The only difference is that there is an entire class of people in our culture that for whatever reasons, by birth-right or personal choice have found themselves in the situation they are in. It's a cultural with a whole different set of values and economy. I have at times in my life associated with certain people and run with certain crowds that were on the fringes of that underclass, like yourself. There are some scary people there. There are also some very good people, who are doing the best with what they have.

I tried very hard when writing this entry to not judge the lady from last night, to just present it the way it unfolded. I have no ill will toward her, other than she was invading my personal space after multiple refusals. She's got her own life to lead, one which most likely involves addiciton, which is tough enough as it is. She needs to make a few bucks to support her habit and she was doing it one of the few ways she knows how. At least, in my opinion, she was doing it honestly. Sure she layed a couple of lines on me, but that's part of The Game and anyone who's been out here for a while knows how it's played. But it's better than scamming someone or outright theft. She was trying to make an honest buck.

Wow, you're nicer than I am.

Bum in a parking lot: "Hey, lady! Can I wash your windshield?"

Me: "Get away from my car."

Bum: "It won't take long? I really could use the mo..."


Charitable, aren't I? I always tell Pineapple I'm going to end up as the scary old lady on the corner whose door kids will dare each other to knock on. :(

I tend to be exceedingly gracious when it comes to the down-trodden. I don't usually give them anything, though. I've never been confronted with that particular type of hustler, though... the kind that will do the "work" without permission so that you feel like a heel if you don't give them some compensation. I guess at least there's a certain nobility to trying to offer a service rather than mere panhandling.

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I'm sure it is, too. I figure she's got a shitty enough of a life as it is without someone getting rude with her while she's trying to make a few bucks.

For some odd reason I look forward to seeing my first lot lizard. :^P Maybe because I'm curious as to how they'd react if I was in the truck.

You'd probably never see one. Even if you were in the truck with me, if there was a knock on the door in the middle of the night, chances are that you'd not come with me to the door to see who it was. And, chances are you wouldn't say, "Stay there, I'll get it." ;-)

Innnteresting...how often do you get propositioned like that?

Once every couple of months. It kinda comes with the territory; an industry populated by lonely men, gathered in one huge parking lot with a bed in every truck. I'm sure it's pretty easy pickin's.

Best thing ever written in your LJ. Period.

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