Company at Any Price

| September 16, 2002

She said she had come to town that weekend to party with old friends. Got drunk the night before. Claimed she had quit drugs, quit prostitution.

“It is nasty, and it is degrading,” she said. “A lot of men don’t take baths for a long time. Me, too. Sometimes I didn’t take one.”

Some truckers were mean, she recalled. Some were just lonely. “Sometimes they’d pay me just to sit and talk with them. Talk, watch TV or give them a massage or a back rub,” she said.

In Andy Duncan’s report on how Nevada’s legal brothels cater to truckers, prostitute “Phoenix” had a similar observation: “Some truckers don’t even necessarily book parties,” she says. “They just stop and take a break to talk to the girls and visit before moving on. It’s like a home away from home.”

As I say, trucking has a way of highlighting basic needs. It’s both pathetic and heartwarming to think of a driver, used to whipping out his wallet for things he takes for granted at home, such as a meal or a shower, forking over cash yet again for something as basic as the fellowship of another human being. And if I know truckers, I’d bet some of those rare ones who pay the girls for companionship other than sex are giving at least as much as they’re taking. Giving something more than cash to someone who, like them, could use a little company at any price.

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