Friday, November 28, 2014

Cuento de Mi Id

“A Day in the Glamorous Life of an Entertainer”

5:30 a.m. You wake up and start getting the kids ready for school. You ignore your ten-year-old daughter when she mumbles something under her breath about you being a whore. You take a quick shower and put on your “mom” clothes: black jeans and a sweatshirt.

6:30 a.m. Your ride arrives. You hustle your kids out the door. You make sure they’re polite to the driver. You ignore the driver’s request for a kiss but you thank him profusely for waking up so early.

7:00 a.m. You drop your kids off at school. You kiss them both and you pray that they did their homework.

Then you look for signs of your ex-husband being in the area and you sigh with relief when you don’t see him or his car. You ask the driver to take you to a doughnut shop. You ignore the calories. It’s only one doughnut and you’re going to be at work for hours.

7:30 a.m. You go home and wave goodbye to your ride. You dodge his request for a quick kiss. You go upstairs to your apartment and you crash for a few hours.

9:00 a.m. You start getting ready for work. You take a long, hot bath. You shave your legs and other body parts. You are sure to use plenty of bath lotion to give yourself that nice scent the customers like so much on the rare occasions that they notice it.

9:30 a.m. You towel off and you get dressed. You take your backpack which contains the clothes you might wear at work. You are sure to include your high heels.

10:00 a.m. Your ride arrives. He requests another kiss. You dodge it. He drives you to the club and he drops you off at the entrance. You go in and you check in with the house mom. Then you go to the dressing room where you ignore the graffiti on your locker and you start changing into your work outfit. Today it’s a blue dress that you bought last weekend. You never wear it outside the club. Only here. And you never wear it when you pick your kids up at school. Never.

10:30 a.m. The club opens. The lights come on. A few customers straggle in but most hang back until lunch time and the free buffet. You’re not particularly flattered by this, but you don’t come here for flattery. You come because you need the money and this is one of the few jobs you can get with your high school diploma that will pay you enough for you to be able to feed and clothe your kids and pay the rent on your $500 per month apartment. And even with that, you often have to use food stamps.

11:00 a.m. The lunchtime crowd starts showing up. Mainly senior citizens and a few blue-collar workers. Occasionally a well-off businessman. But the truly well-off usually don’t arrive until late afternoon. You start getting a few tips but it’s the young girls with hips the size of your forearms that get most of the tips. You mainly get the mean ones who aren’t anxious to waste their SS checks on a woman like you and the poor Mexicans who do their best to cross your “border” with their Roman fingers.

2:00 p.m. The end of the free lunchtime buffet. The crowd dissipates. The club is slow. If you’re lucky, you have made a tidy sum. But you aren’t always lucky. If you’re lucky, you’ve found time to grab a quick lunch from the buffet. But you dare not eat too much lest you lose your job for being too fat. So you play video games in between sets and hope that today your ex doesn’t discover what club you’re working in.

3:30 p.m. The first of the after-work crowd starts strolling in. You dance for a customer and talk some construction worker into letting you have a sip of his beer. You don’t really like to drink on the job but there are times when alcohol seems to be the only way to make it through the day. Even though your kids are out of school, you have no way of picking them up so you pray that they have gone to day care like you asked them to.

5:00 p.m. More after-work customers show up. A rich businessman pays you $500. You don’t get that every day. More often you end up owing the club money. Indeed, this is the first day all week that you have broken even. You hope you get another shot at him but he already has his eye on another girl. A younger, thinner girl. Some of the girls who work here are so thin you can see their ribs and you can’t help but suspect they’re on drugs. But the manager could care less what substances you take as long as you show up on time and the customers don’t complain. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to attract a large crowd of regulars, you don’t even have to show up on time. But you don’t have a large crowd of regulars. And none of the ones you do have have come in today.

5:30 p.m. You’re asked to perform in a special section that is separated from the main club by a wall and an one-way window. Hardly no one goes back here until they are with a dancer so you don’t make any money. You do see one of your co-workers making money in a way that the local vice squad would not approve of. But you say nothing and pretend you didn’t see a thing.

7:00 p.m. You are finally off work. You hurriedly change clothes so that you can leave the club when your ride arrives. Of course, you have to settle up with the management before you can leave. You didn’t make much today so you hardly have anything left when you do leave. Your ride arrives and takes you to the day care center where the lady in charge asks you for money you don’t have. You pick up your kids and once more you ignore your daughter when she calls you a whore. Ironically, you’re one of the few women at your club who isn’t a whore, but she doesn’t care. She picked up the expression from your ex, and you have yet to persuade her not to use it.

7:30 p.m. Your ride takes you to the dollar store where you buy school supplies with what little you have and then to McDonalds where you buy your kids a Happy Meal. You know McDonalds is not the best place to eat, but it’s the best you can afford, and it’s not like you’re in a mood to cook. Your ride takes you to your apartment, where he kisses you on the cheek and asks if he can come up.

You tell him no, but someday you’ll say yes. Your kids get out of the car and you can tell what your daughter is thinking by the way she looks at you. By then, you’re too tired to care anymore. You follow your kids up the stairs to your apartment and tell yourself for the umpteenth time that you’re going to quit your job next week.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home