Loyal followers of Operation Global Media Domination will no doubt have several questions at this point.
- Who’s the stupid girl and dear god raincoaster’s not talking about me, is she?
- What does one of the best music videos of the 90’s have to do with the economics of prostitution?
- Really, she’s not talking about me, is she?
Newcomers to the ol’ raincoaster blog will no doubt have an additional question, What the hell is she talking about?
She’s talking about this.
Now, to pick up the story where we left off (have you done your homework? Skim it at least enough to pass; didn’t you learn that essential skill in high school?)…
This post, and that post, were sparked by this post on Valleywag which in fact I did not read, because I went off on my own little egotistical tangent and became far more interested in what I had to say than what Melissa had to say.
That’s not like me, eh?
Now, if you’ve read your homework you know that the general opinion among economists is that prostitution is economically not only viable but also cheaper than being married. One economist went so far as to suggest that men open accounts with their wives and pay only for services rendered, on the basis that this would save the men money overall. One presumably unmarried economist (or, if married, presumably permanently celibate after penning the column).
The consensus was that marriage had one single advantage over prostitution as far as men are concerned:
I’m not exactly sure how it is that all these economists are unaware of the phenomenon of surrogacy, but apparently they are. The laws around surrogacy are quite obviously not relevant to the discussion because in most of the areas studied by those economists I referenced prostitution was itself illegal. Illegality and unregulation obviously pose no meaningful barrier to entry for clients as far as these studies are concerned; things might be different if everything were legal, but the studies stand for our current situation regardless of the legality or illegality of the activities described, which presumably extends to surrogacy. If a man can find a woman who will accept cash for sex, he is presumably not constrained by conscience or threat of the law against finding one who would accept cash to carry a pregnancy to term.
What I am saying is that: these women exist. I know one. She has babies for money. It is her career. And that song is dedicated to her.
Read past the jump for the whole story.
Let us call her Flora. I met Flora when we were both working at Starbucks. She was fucking the store manager at the time (well, not at the precise moment we met, you understand) and who could blame her for he was a catch, but she was funny and smart and conscientious and generally a joy to work with. She went off to Japan to be a hostess at a hostess bar, with all that entailed, and we warned her sincerely and wished her well and heard no more from her until she showed up a year or so later, asking to be rehired. Normally that’s not policy, to rehire someone who quit without sufficient notice, but she had been a very good worker, so we went to the walls for her and the company rehired her. Little did we suspect…
Problem: we had a new manager. And instead of being tall, blond and euro, this one was short, dark, and from Surrey. He was not Flora’s type.
She began to be ill. She began to be ill, in fact, 75% of the time she was scheduled to work (I still have my notes; I’m a vindictive sumbitch of a packrat). The pantheon of malingerers gained a new leader over the several months she tormented us with her Heisenbergian presence. She was positively Satanic in that she generally didn’t manifest but, when she did, she was hell to be around and gave everyone a lot of heat. One Monday she claimed she was diabetic; on Wednesday she was hypoglycemic. The apotheosis of absurdity arrived one day when she had been ostentatiously pincering the drinks between her wrists, explaining to all the customers that she had carpal tunnel syndrome and we wouldn’t let her go home. I gleefully hung over her shoulder and explained that she was actually faking and had a softball game that afternoon and was trying to get the day off.
At which point she lay down on the floor behind the till, claiming faintness. I suppose I could have had a pair of baristas grab her by the arms and legs and move her like a pile of firewood, but the fact is the only reason she was still around was that the company was deathly afraid of being sued and that would only have made my next review that much trickier. Instead, we just stepped over her, back and forth, back and forth for every transaction, sometimes remarking how long it had been since those floor mats were washed.
One customer asked, “Is that girl all right?” to which Lisa at the till perkily replied, “Yes, she’s faking it. You know Flora!” At which point she got up and ran to the back room, laughing but pretending to cry.
And so it went.
Until one day…now, I’d better backtrack. I need to explain that, while Flora was off in Japan hostessing, I’d been off work entirely, being treated for third stage cancer. I had eight months of biweekly chemotherapy with a 66% chance of survival. It was an unpleasant process which added insult to injury by gifting me with thirty extra pounds. You think, you know, “at least I’ll have great Terry Fox hair and be slim” but Noooooooooo. In any case, back to our story.
And so it went, right up until the day she was being even more useless and moody than normal. I walked over and said, “Flora, something is up. What is it, because you need to be doing this better.”
She whipped around and snapped, “I need Friday afternoon off because I found out yesterday I have cancer and I am scheduled for an operation at Mary’s Mount Hospital.”
Well, she WAS scheduled to work Friday afternoon. And she had asked for it off. Just like always. And she hadn’t mentioned anything about cancer to me. And in Vancouver they don’t just go ahead with treatment for cancer before sending you for a panel examination before the Cancer Society specialists. So, of course, I assumed she was taking faking it to an egregious new level, turned around without a word, marched over to where the store manager was sitting in the window, calmly eating his lunch which one is verboten to interrupt because the job is tough enough already, but this was a special occasion, and said, “You need to talk to Flora because now she’s faking having cancer and demanding Friday afternoon off to get it taken out, that is NOT how cancer is treated in this city. She is lying. I can’t handle this, for obvious reasons, because I will hit her. You’re the manager. You handle it.“
He did, immediately. She was, obviously. She was pregnant and wanted an abortion. The really ridiculous thing is, it was Starbucks. They’d have just given her the time off if she’d said what it was in the first place. The lying about having cancer is why I’m posting this now, many years later, why I will never forget her real name, and why I came up with the following plan, the most evil of my life.
This was real. I was really going to do this.
As I said, I’ve had cancer. Serious cancer. And having had cancer you get a cancer princess card to play the rest of your life. And I was about to play it on Flora.
She doted on her parents, and she was the light of their lives. As far as they knew, she’d gone to Japan to be a model. And as far as they knew, she was a star at Starbucks. And as far as they knew, she was neither pregnant nor cancerous.
I was about to change that.
I looked up their phone number. I wrote it down. I carried it around with me for a few days rather than dialing them directly from the back room that very day, because a little voice in my head suggested I gather some respected opinions first. What was this neutron bomb of plans? Simply this:
To call her parents. To say, in my best Concerned Shift Supervisor voice, “I’m so sorry to hear Flora is sick. On behalf of the company and as someone who’s been through it myself, I just want you to know that if there’s anything she needs from us while she is dealing with cancer, we will be there for her.”
The verdict: Everyone I asked who worked in the store was in favour of me calling, except the manager, who said, “Now, don’t do anything hasty” and then smiled and congratulated me on a beautiful, albeit potentially actionable plan. The assistant manager was so enthusiastic that for the next three days he kept asking, “Did you do it yet? Did you do it? TELL ME WHEN YOU DO IT!”
But two people whose moral opinions I respected more than my own at that moment said no. They both, in fact, said the exact same thing: “That would be truly evil.”
And so I didn’t. (hi Flora!) I did pick up the phone and start dialing, twice. I didn’t actually start talking before I hung up. But this is what I can do when I’m angry.
In any case, a week after her mysterious surgical procedure which was performed at a hospital that does Ob/Gyn work, not Oncology, she got a clean bill of health and went off to Japan again.
Since that time she’s had three children that I know of, by three different men, none of whom are Canadians. These are what you call Anchor Babies: if you’re a foreigner whose child was born in Canada you have one foot in the door to immigrate, should things go badly for you in the other country. Flora at last report was doing well; she gets a lump sum “Gift” when the baby is born, plus of course child support for each. I’m not sure if the various fathers are aware of the existence of the others, as I understand when she goes overseas for the “meeting” she leaves the children behind. But it’s a nice enough racket from a cash-flow perspective, as long as her womb stays productive and the sperm donors stay liquid. But if she had trouble handling something as simple as pouring coffee for a living, I can’t imagine what kind of a mother she makes.
And that concludes today’s epic blog post. Now don’t piss me off. But you knew that.