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Posts Tagged ‘anecdote’

Every week, sometimes more than once per week, I share news reports of cops molesting, sexually harassing, sexually assaulting and even raping women and teen girls, and sometimes even men, boys or children.  These reports appear on average every five days, but that’s only counting the incidents which are both reported and rise to the level of a crime; most rapes, molestations and other sexual misbehavior by cops falls short of an actual crime, and most of the crimes are not reported because most of the victims are wise enough to understand that their lives will be overturned and their affairs pried into by “investigators” with very little chance of the rapist cop suffering even the slightest consequences (unless you call a paid vacation a “consequence”).  Most regular readers know that I myself was raped by cops in May of 1995, but today I’d like to share all of the other incidents of sexual harassment that, while they weren’t quite crimes (though a couple of them certainly constituted malfeasance and abuse), may give you an idea of how frequently cops try to apply sexual pressure of one kind or another on women.  With the exception of the cops when I was arrested for prostitution in 2005, none of these knew I was a sex worker (and before September of ’97 I wasn’t, not full time anyway); they and others like them are out there in their tens of thousands, making life more difficult and scarier for any attractive woman who has the misfortune to cross their paths.

First, there was the one in my (small) home town who carried a grudge against me for over 10 years because I wouldn’t date him in high school; as an adult cop in the early ’90s he delighted in stalking me to give me tickets.  It only stopped when he tried to frame me for an accident in which an elderly man ran a stop sign and slammed into my car; my mother was furious, so she went to the sheriff and reported him.  That one had a happy ending; the sheriff actually refunded me the costs of several of the tickets the guy had written in the past year.  But had the town been bigger and my mother not had a political connection that allowed her to gain the sheriff’s ear?  Forget it.  In the spring of 1989, a cop who had pulled me over on some dumbass excuse forced me to walk about 800 meters along a busy highway at night in pumps and a none-too-long skirt to the nearest service station to call a friend to come and get me and my car, which he wouldn’t let me drive because he claimed my license was suspended.  I later discovered (when I contested the FOUR tickets he gave me) not only that it wasn’t, but that this cop had a long history of humiliating attractive young women (the tickets were dismissed because the DA & judge were so sick of hearing about him).  Then on two separate occasions, both in the ’90s, state troopers pulled me over on I-10 and asked me for a date; the second one had the nerve to do it after he wrote me a ticket for some kind of bullshit like a burned-out brake light.  That was the same excuse used by a cop in the town nearest my Oklahoma ranch to stop me not once but twice, about a month apart; after the second one I went straight to the police chief and told him if it happened again I’d know it was harassment and would not stay quiet about it.  Surprise; it never happened again.  Another pig in that same small town (< 20,000 people) stopped me for some BS on three separate occasions when I was out in my convertible.  He never gave me a ticket, just wanted to gawk at the hot chick in the cool car, so I thought it was best to leave well enough alone on that one.

When I was arrested for prostitution after Katrina, a jail cop wanted me forced to strip in front of male guards and prisoners; the female guard refused and told him off, and to her credit stuck to her guns even after he tried to cite “regulations” at her (which, judging by her reaction, he clearly had never tried to invoke before for female prisoners he didn’t find attractive).  Then one night a week and a half ago, a Seattle cop who pulled up beside me at a traffic light then proceeded to tail-gate me for 11 blocks, even when I changed lanes (twice) and turned into another street; he didn’t give up until I turned into my own street, which is not a through street (I guess that would’ve been a bit too obvious).  On another occasion in the ’80s, a cop tailed me with lights flashing in a secluded part of I-10; following my then-boyfriend’s advice I refused to pull over until I got to a brightly-lit filling station.  And as I exited the freeway, the cop turned off his lights, accelerated and kept going.  I don’t want to think about what might’ve happened in those pre-cell phone days had I pulled over.

There are probably other incidents I’m not remembering right now, but I think you’ll get the idea.  And I’m willing to bet most every woman reading this has at least a couple of similar stories.  But go on, authoritarians, tell me how cops are there to “protect” women, and how we’re supposed to feel “safe” around them, and how they’re the only ones who should have guns.  But you’ll have to pardon me if I spit in your face when you do.

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My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!
 –  Edna St. Vincent Millay

I think I’ve said before, somewhere in this massive edifice of words, that I really hate it when other women respond to the realization that I have the figure I have without special dieting or exercising every day with “I wish I had your metabolism”.  I used to simply reply with “thank you” or a Southern belle “I guess I’m just blessed that way”, but I’ve grown so weary of the hidden bile in such statements that I now reply with a cutting glance and a darkly-intoned, “You wouldn’t want what goes with it.”

Engineers, scientists and medical professionals understand what most people don’t: that every dynamic system (such as a human body) exists in a state of homeostasis, and that a gain in one part of the system can only be achieved by shorting another part of the system.  Squeeze the balloon in the middle and the ends will enlarge at the expense of that middle, not to mention putting considerable pressure on the structural cohesion of the plastic if one squeezes hard enough.  Burn the candle at both ends?  Twice the light, but half the life.  Yes, I have a great metabolism…and it’s so finely-balanced that I become completely non-functional if anything knocks it out of that balance.  You know how most people can push themselves to go without sleep if necessary?  If I try that, when I get to about the 20-hour mark I get dizzy, start shivering and vomiting (sometimes accompanied by diarrhea and/or hives) and then literally pass out.  Some of my friends can walk around in public while high; I have to crawl to make it to the bathroom.  And on the rare occasions when I succumb to some illness, it generally manifests as 24 to 48 hours of dizziness, vomiting, chills, weakness so profound I can barely move, and fever so high that those attending me (if they can handle all the screaming at them to shut up, go away and turn off every light in the house) get frightened.  And that uncannily-high pain threshold some people envy?  It’s because sensations below the “imminent threat of maiming” level just don’t register on my hyperactive nervous system.  Consider what that does to my ability to sense pleasure, then tell me you still wish you had my physiology.

And while we’re on the subject, let’s talk about that hyperactive nervous system.  On the good side: extremely high intelligence, quick wit, lightning-fast reflexes, and hyper-awareness.  On the bad side: debilitating vertigo, OCD, ADD, insomnia and anxiety (the latter three all aggravated by long summer days).  That prolificity and vocabulary envied by other writers?  Paid for by a nigh-complete inability to shut up (ask my long-suffering friends how literal this is) unless I’m deeply drugged or unconscious.  And that superhuman memory of mine, the one everybody thinks is so bloody wonderful because I can pull up facts faster than Google and order them in a way no machine yet built can manage?  While the joy of good things fades with the neurochemical changes generated by those experiences, the emotional damage done by the bad ones remains and never completely heals, if it heals at all.  It has been said that no woman would ever have more than one baby if she could actually remember how it felt to have the first one; if that’s true it’s probably best I couldn’t have children, because I remember pain – whether physical or emotional – every bit as vividly as I remember facts.  Every laceration and every rejection; every broken bone, and every broken heart.

I’m not saying I would have it any other way; I am who I am and what I am, and it’s all I know.  What I’m saying is, when you look at someone else’s life and human condition, please apply at least as much thought as you apply when shopping for a new piece of technology, and consider the actual cost of what’s in front of you.

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Diary #364

Some of you know that I’ve got practical reasons for distrusting the government as well as philosophical ones.  I hear phrases like “I’ve never seen this before” and “That’s not supposed to happen” with depressing regularity; that’s bad when the person saying it works for a corporation and the problem involves money, but it’s absolutely horrible when the person saying it works for an unaccountable, monopolistic bureaucracy whose mistakes can destroy one’s whole life (or at least make it incredibly difficult for many years).  For example, an error made by H&R Block on Matt’s 2001 income tax return (this was before we got married & I had my CPA do his taxes) triggered an ordeal which ended only last year, having outlasted the marriage by a year.  And a computer error made in Louisiana at some point during my marriage to Jack (1992-95) cascaded through the government records system, creating problems that were finally resolved when a DMV supervisor in Seattle actually made it his mission to track it down in April 2015 (partly because he’s a decent human being & partly because I cried in front of him.  A lot.)  But even though he told me there should be no problem getting a new passport now, I was still very gun-shy about applying for one; frankly, I was traumatized by the whole thing and felt as though I should just leave well enough alone.  However, a couple of weeks ago a very generous gentleman who wants to take me to Europe insisted that I apply; he offered to pay for expedited service and even enlisted Lorelei to his cause, and she cleverly researched every step I needed to take, giving me the exact locations and procedures so I’d have no excuse not to comply.  In the face of such loving pressure I could hardly resist, and two weeks ago today I steeled myself and walked into the office.  It wasn’t easy for me emotionally; I was literally texting four different people to calm my nerves during the process (Lorelei, my gentleman, Matt and my little sister), but I got it done and all that was left was to wait.  Well, on Friday I got an envelope from the State Department; what I expected to find within was a form letter and a bunch of documents telling me additional rigmarole I would need to go through, but what I found was my actual passport, the first one I’ve had in 25 years.  So all the stress paid off, and it’s good to know my 20+ year paperwork nightmare is over.  And most importantly, gents:  Europe is back on the table again, if any of you care to hire me for a long appointment.

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Live fast ’cause it won’t last.  –  Chris Stein & Debbie Harry

In Monday’s column “Crystal-Gazing” I wrote, “I don’t think it’s likely I’ll be around to see [the mid 2030s], but many of you will be.”  Several readers asked me why I believed I wouldn’t make it to that point; after all, I’d only have to live to 70, and the average white American woman born in the 1960s lives to about 75.  Now, I could point out that statistically, my chance of dying before 70 is roughly equal to my chance of living past 80, but that wouldn’t quite be true; a lot of the reason the life expectancy keeps increasing is that infant mortality keeps decreasing, so anyone who survives childhood isn’t statistically likely to live as much longer than her ancestors as it might appear just from looking at those life expectancy figures.  Also, most of the female members of my family live into their ’80s, even if the male ones have an odd tendency to die under strange and often newsworthy circumstances (ask me about that if we ever get drunk together).  That having been said, a fair number of relatives of both sexes have contracted cancer or more-exotic terminal diseases, some of them at early ages (like the maternal uncle who died of leukemia in his late teens), and I’ve had several close brushes with sudden death (two of them of the “hushed-nurse-saying-I-shouldn’t-be-alive” variety), so I don’t think my familial or personal life expectancy is quite as high as that of the general population.

And thereby hangs the tale.  As I’ve stated before, I have absolutely no intention of ever enduring chemotherapy; if I develop cancer I’m going to seek out palliative care, put my affairs in order and let the disease take its course.  I’ve seen more than my share of people I love spending their last days hooked to machines in sterile institutions, dying in infernal contraptions surrounded by shouting doctors and nurses pounding on their chests and shooting chemicals into their veins, or electrically shocking their soon-to-be-corpses, instead of expiring quietly in their own beds surrounded by loved ones.  So I have a DNR order; if it’s respected I will die when I die rather than being dragged violently back across the threshold because mere humans have decided I’m not allowed to leave this plane yet.  Furthermore, though the more strictly-rational among my readers may scoff, I’ve never claimed to be strictly rational; my several close brushes with death (and a frank assessment of the chances I have taken in the past and those I continue to take on a regular basis) have led me to feel that I’m living on borrowed time, and Death knows that “when he at last come to collect me it will be a rendezvous rather than a capture“.  Death and I are old friends; he was gracious enough not to interrupt my work before it was done, and it’s the least I can do to return that favor when the time comes.  He’s passed me by on several occasions when he probably should have taken me, and I’m not such a fool that I think he’s going to keep doing that indefinitely.

Nor would I want him to.  I’ve clearly stated my philosophy on this subject many times, including in my fiction; it’s mortality which gives life meaning, and I think it’s a bit rude for those whose dance is done to keep hogging the floor rather than making “room for the new dancers who are always waiting for their turn.”  And besides all of that, I’m far too independent to be able to enjoy a life of decrepitude and dependence, and far too vain to desire a life in which I’m no longer the object of desire.  The song below has always been among the larger group of my favorites, and I don’t feel any differently about it at 50 than I did at 15; when I go, I want people to still be able to honestly talk about how beautiful I was.  Shallow?  Probably.  Silly?  Maybe.  But my friends will tell you I rarely ask for anything, so I don’t think it’s greedy of me to ask that no one begrudge my wish to not have to endure years or decades of life after the things I like best about it are gone.

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I have some good news for those of you who’ve been waiting patiently for me to come to your city, at least if you live on the West Coast:  I will be driving down the coast in advance of my giving the keynote address for the Freedom Rising 2017 Convention for Outright, a libertarian group for gender & sexual minorities (including sex workers).  That’s on January 21st in Phoenix, Arizona, so my tentative travel schedule is this:

Date City
January 10-11 Portland, OR
January 12-13 San Francisco, CA
January 14 Sacramento, CA
January 15-16 Los Angeles, CA
January 17-18 Las Vegas, NV
January 19 Tucson, AZ
January 20-21 Phoenix, AZ
January 22-23 Albuquerque, NM
January 24 Denver, CO
January 25 Twin Falls, ID
January 26 Return to Seattle

Those dates are not set in stone; for example, if I get a lot of bookings for Los Angeles but few for Las Vegas, I could stay an extra day in LA.  The sooner I know, the better, so here’s your chance to get a great deal on time with me: until Saturday January 7th, I will give DOUBLE your time if you book and pay in advance.  Two hours for the price of one, three for the price of 90 minutes or four for the price of two; it’s a steal!  The reason I do this (it’s my traditional pre-tour deal) is that I like to know my schedule in advance and I like to have my expenses covered, so the discount is my way of thanking gentlemen (or ladies, or couples) who help me with that.  Please note:  on the first day in a city I’ll be driving there from the previous city, and I’m not an early riser.  So evening appointments only that day!  I can take afternoon appointments on the second day in a given city.  I’m going to be very busy in Phoenix, so I may not be able to take more than one or two appointments there; if you’re interested, you should probably contact me ASAP.  Finally, I may (though I can’t promise) have some copies of my new book for sale; we’ll know once we get closer!classic nude

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Diary #332

selfiecamera_2016-11-05-12-53-43-464On Friday I flew out to Oklahoma to speak at the #OKAnarchy2016 conference at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, and if you’d like to see what was going on there you can look at that hashtag on Twitter.  My talk on “The War on Whores is the New War on Drugs” seemed well-received, and my friend Angela Keaton kicked ass with her concluding talk on the problems with many “-isms”, especially “feminism” that serves the carceral state.  I got to meet some new allies in a group fighting for the rights of sexual minorities, and though the drinks in Oklahoma are far too watered-down to be effective I certainly gave it the old college try.  On Sunday Grace picked me up, and I spent a night at my ranch before she took me to Dallas yesterday afternoon so I could fly home.  Unfortunately, my new drug regimen failed me for the first time; the ride proved too rough for the meds to control, and I got very ill.  But fortunately, the diazepam kept from from having a panic attack when the sickness set in, and the ondansetron at least helped me from the attack much more quickly than I usually would.  I was also invited to speak at an event n Phoenix in January, and I’ve decided to drive down so I can tour along the way; watch this space for details!

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Diary #329

selfie-10-13-16Though last week was full of the little chores which are necessary to real life, it was also full of the kind of weather which tends to raise my spirits.  Plus I had a multi-hour outcall with a very nice gentleman whom I hope will become a regular, and I restarted one of my old ads and started up a new one.  But I suppose the most interesting event of the week from your point of view (besides the taking of this selfie) was that on Saturday night, Christina Slater and I went to dinner with Desmond Ravenstone, a lifelong advocate for the rights of sexual minorities who has joined the fight for decriminalization and recently helped found Clients of Sex Workers Allied for Change (COSWAC).  I’m impressed by both his energy and the knowledge and experience he brings to the table; if we can keep attracting individual allies of his caliber and pulling groups like Lambda Legal and the ACLU into our coalition, I think decriminalization in the US can be achieved a lot sooner than many people imagine.  And it’s about goddamned time, considering that there’s never been a valid legal rationale for criminalizing it in the first place.

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