1/06/2012

Crack Whore

The first time I went to Kansas City, Kansas, was for a job interview. I flew in from Seattle. Rented a car by myself (I started living with my ex at 21. At 26, I'd pretty much never done anything by myself). Navigated my way from the airport hotel into downtown KCK. Had a typical teaching interview with a woman who looked exactly like all the women in my Seattle area, award winning, suburban school district.

Then I drove to meet the first of three principals who were "interested" in me. The human resources director had assured me that the first school was relatively nearby. The directions looked uncomplicated. Which was good, since I forgot to look at them while I drove into the ghetto.

I took the crack whore waving at me as a good sign.

I imagined her like the 3 homeless guys who'd stayed by my first apartment. They were always fairly friendly to me, rude to the hipsters invading the neighborhood. Sometimes they even complimented my beauty. . .and I gave them my laundry quarters. But anyway, I saw her wave as an indication that I would be accepted into the neighborhood.

I didn't really think about the fact that the crack whore was looking for business at 10 am on a Wednesday morning. And that no one was bothered by this.

I'll say this for her, though. She was the only one who came out and cheered when we did our "Just Say No" parade around the neighborhood. Because of course the girl who let homeless guys flatter her out of laundry money would be the girl who had to teach in the neighborhood with the crack whore.

When I got to my interview, I was a little surprised that the school looked sort of like a bunker. There weren't a lot of windows, to say the least. And there was a security camera mounted outside the door. Which was kept locked. Which is not so shocking now, after Columbine and all sorts of insane school rampages. But this was in 1998.

The school was a science and technology magnet school. I had student taught at an arts magnet school and loved all things magnet school. Plus, I really wanted a full time teaching job of my own, not the series of long term subbing jobs I'd had in the suburbs. When I walked in, there seemed to be so much energy in the building.

That energy was actually noise because the school was, "open-concept". As in, no walls, just partitions. But I totally fell for the principal's line about how the open-concept building fostered community among staff and students. She said this with a straight face while she was actively applying for grants to put walls into the building. Of course I didn't know that at the time.

After the interview, where I'd been offered (and accepted) a first grade teaching job, I saw the crack whore again. She came up to the car and I rolled the window down. She looked me up and down and asked, "You gonna be a teacher over there?" I nodded cautiously. Because it's one thing to have the crack whore wave at you and quite another to have her leaning into your car. But after my nod she just started laughing and walked away.

I still wonder if she ever got clean.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought you were going to end by saying she turned out to be the mother of one of your students!

tripleZmom said...

Hehe - almost. Her kids were already at the middle school, but I had students who were related to her.

Cuz Greg said...

That was awsome. " I nodded cautiously. Because it's one thing to have the crack whore wave at you and quite another to have her leaning into your car." Best thing I have read all day.

Anonymous said...

That story sucked me right in. I'm sure it was the crack whore.

Tammy said...

What a great story! Maybe it's my perspective, but it's her laughing that got me. Wise woman--laughing at the school, not the new teacher, of course.