How Can I Help You?
Speaking of voices, in her comment, Grannymar triggered a memory of a time I worked a weekend job along with a full time job during the week.
Single parent, broke all the time, what can I say? Many of you out there were in similar straits I am sure.
I was hired for my voice, broguey as I now know it to be. The company ran an answering service for doctors, electricians, locksmiths, plumbers and road side assistance, etc. and - oh noes! - an escort service.
An answering service sounds so quaint now doesn't it in the IT world we all live in?
I worked there for over a year and before I worked my shift I had to make sure that I wouldn't need the bathroom for the entire 8 hours. Yes. Really. I could not let those phones go unanswered for more than 3 rings. No wireless enhancements to phone lines then.
Bonus points were my friends would visit and often bring their dinners and eat with me to relieve the tedium. (I've been so blessed with kind friends!). And I knitted. Boy, did I knit. And read. And study. And write. And never touch a drop of liquid for fear of, you know.
The escort service was the most interesting. I was a little naive in those days. I would never question the ads about escorts and 'dating'. I honestly thought that the clients would take the 'girls' out for dinner and have a nice chat over a cup of tea.
Well, the 'girls' gave me the straight dope on that. The majority were hooked on drugs. They would earn my whole weekend's pay-cheque for an hour's work and actively encouraged me to join them. Between 'dates' they would often regale me with stories of their clients and I admit to learning a lot about the travelling-expense-account men who would frequent these ladies. And what rate went with what. The finer points of A Sheltered Catholic Irish Girl's education. I could write a book or two.
Stretch limousines lost their allure for me when I discovered that often these vehicles were floating brothels. Some of the men did not want sex, which surprised me. They were often willing to pay for someone just to have dinner with them for a couple of hours. A few of the men calling in even asked me to have dinner with them in a public place after my shift was over and promised not to touch me or exert pressure to take it further. They just wanted a warm conversation as they were so far from home. So they said. I never put them to the test.
Looking back what I found the most poignant was the loneliness exhibited both by the men calling in and their desperate 'dates' calling out, looking for quick cash and using their bodies as trade.