Rants & Essays

Strippers and the Service Industry

By Chris D'Agostino (Grimm)

I feel like Holden Caulfield. I'm really not understanding the world today. It's like I woke up with an entirely different set of eyes. They are not mine, and I don't know where I got them.

The day started off rather normally. I stumbled out of bed, and tried to stay awake for my first few classes. Lunchtime, however, is a stranger thing. I am supposed to go home for lunch today. My mom should be picking me up any minute. I stand on the sidewalk trying not to look like an idiot. People walk by. The same people walk by again, on their way back to school. It's now 12 o'clock. It's cold out, and she's half an hour late. I dig through my pockets for a quarter, and eventually find one. I call home. "Oh! I was supposed to pick you up for lunch!" she says. "Do you have any money?" I have two dollars. There is a Country Style Donut shop that has just opened up across the street. I'll go there.

The shop is disorganized. That's a nice way of putting it. I look at the menus. The pictures of the food on the overhead menus look heavenly. The food of the gods. It's funny how when you receive your food, it's usually a soggy little crapcake. A decent meal costs $3. I remember the good old days. Actually, I don't. I don't remember much past a few weeks ago. Moments seem to blur.

I hang out near the door, hoping to get some spare change from someone. "Excuse me, sir, I'm very hungry, and my mother was supposed to pick me up for lunch, but she forgot...do you have any money?" I realize how preposterous this sounds. Would I give money to someone with this story? Probably not. Maybe if they were scary looking, which I'm told I am. "A gothic mobster," my friend explained it to me. Regardless, I eventually raise a dollar.

I wait patiently in line for at least 5 minutes. I finally make it. "Hello, I'd like the meal combo 6." "Sir, you'll have to go over to the other counter to order. This counter is for ordering small items only." she says. Oh pardon me. I didn't see the sign. "Can't you just tell the person at the other counter what I want?" I ask. "No sir, I'm sorry."

I wait patiently in line (the other one) for at least 5 minutes. It is an inevitable fact that when you are next in line, the person ahead of you will take a very long time to finish getting their order. The lady behind the counter is making some sort of pita roll. She slaps a bunch of toppings down and begins to roll it up. She tries to put the toothpick in to hold the sandwich together…it doesn't work. She begins to panic. A co-worker begins to help her out. He sounds like a police officer trying to talk down a roof jumper. I almost begin to laugh.

I finally get my food. It doesn't taste half as bad as it looks. That's a plus.

I'm finally on my way back to school. I pass by the strip club, simply titled "The Club." It's funny, we have two strip joints, but no movie theatre. Two strippers are on their way into the club. They each have a gym bag with them, presumably holding props and "clothes." When I was acting in a play, they told us never to let the audience see you during intermission. "It'll ruin the spell." It's sort of like that. I've seen the clowns without their makeup. They both look tired, and not a lack of sleep tired. One is very pretty. She smiles at me, and I blush. I think about talking to her for a second, trying to find out why she strips, before I blush even more furiously. I decide to head back to school instead.

I pass an elementary school. It's recess, and children are playing. I see two boys taunting a third, they call him "fag." I'm not sure what saddens me more. The fact that this is the most witty insult they can come up with, or the fact that they're using it as an insult.

The more I think about life, the more I realize I don't have the answers. This is depressing and comforting all at once.