Helen, A Prostitute

8 Mar

Of all the corners in Baltimore City, Helen chose my Hampden corner for turning tricks. She was tall, wore a sports bra and rocked a fancy, champagne blonde 80’s-esque hairstyle.

She yelled at inanimate objects and one time was behind me in line at Rite Aid when I dropped my wallet. She picked it up for me, introduced herself and said she had my back.

Thanks, girl.

Once, I saw her checking car doors while singing “Rush, Rush” by Paula Abdul. Two days later, I forgot to lock my car and the next morning I was greeted by a douche in my cup holder and cigarette ashes all over my front seat (which, by the way, was set down and back and likely used for sexual activity. My car was cleaned vigorously for a couple of weeks after that).

When I saw the douche, I had a flashback to the early 90s and for at least one solid minute, thought it was a Berry B. Wild SqueezIt.

 

Douche


 

Squeezit

 

I hadn’t seen Helen for long time and thought maybe she finally got help and gave up drugs and prostitution, but I went out with a guy the other night who told me that she died. He also said there’s a new prostitute. He described her as “in her 50’s and a bit momish.” Mom-prostitute stands on his corner just a few blocks away, so my corner finally gets a break.

This may sound weird, but I am going to miss Helen. I mean, I didn’t know her, but she was quite a character. She was a part of life, you know? And now she’s not. I’ll never find out what her favorite color was, if she was happy at some point, or if she was ever in love.

Rest in peace, Helen. I forgive you for leaving your douche in my cup holder and probably having sex in my car.

I pray you are in a better place now, on that great corner in the sky.
 

76 Responses to “Helen, A Prostitute”

  1. Le Clown at 12:48 pm #

    Lauren,
    This was such a humane, touching post. So beautiful.
    Eric

    Like

    • La La at 1:03 pm #

      Thank you, Eric. Helen was quite a gal.

      Like

      • Le Clown at 1:05 pm #

        Lauren,
        Even if she was an a-hole, it was a kind eulogy to a hard working woman. Kudos on you for that.
        Eric

        Like

        • Kelly at 1:13 pm #

          Bingo. Hard work is hard work.

          Like

  2. that’s quit a story, La La! No one has ever douched in my vehicle that I know of ~ I’d have taken a picture too. I know what you mean – we have quite a few characters in Tucson, and when I learn they’ve passed away, I’m kind of sad b/c they are part of the fabric of my town and the places I’d see them. I was sad when the speedo bike guy died (probably of skin cancer – he was cooked a dark brown except for the speedo area {I’m assuming}).

    And you live in my favorite John-Waters town too!!

    Like

    • La La at 1:07 pm #

      Exactly! That’s such a perfect way to put it, “the fabric of my town.” It’s sad to watch people like Helen and speedo bike guy disappear. It means life is changing yet again.

      And yay John Waters!

      Like

      • Yay indeed! I love him ~ LOVE LOVE LOVE him! Have you seen him walking around Baltimore? I got to meet him once – it was awesome.

        Like

        • La La at 1:12 pm #

          Yes, he picks up mail from the bookstore right down the street!

          Like

          • OH HOW FREAKIN’ COOL! One of my clients at WETA was an extra dancer (for the Madison sequence) on Hairspray. I made him sign my DVD ~

            If you ever get a chance (or have an inclination) pick up “Shock Value” – it’s a great book… I also love “Crackpot- the Obsessions of John Waters” – which are a collection of articles he’s had published.

            Like

          • La La at 1:21 pm #

            I will, thanks for the recommendation!

            Like

  3. I think I would have lit my car on fire after that.

    Like

    • La La at 1:04 pm #

      It was my new Jetta, too. I was so mad at myself for forgetting to lock the doors!!!

      Like

    • calahan at 2:35 pm #

      Ha!

      Like

  4. rheath40 at 1:06 pm #

    Honey, I love this post. Maybe you were the only one that ever gave Helen more than a passing glance. Then you gave her a story. With that, you gave meaning to her life. No matter how f’d up it was. As you said, you’ll miss her. She was a part of life. Isn’t that the point? Every connection we make, is a part of life.

    Like

    • La La at 1:27 pm #

      Exactly. Connections are so important, I think. This is our one life. Thank you, Renee!

      Like

  5. Carrie Rubin at 1:07 pm #

    “I forgive you for leaving your douche in my cup holder and probably having sex in my car.”—Words parents hope they never hear their child say…

    Here’s to Helen. I hope she went peacefully. Do you know how she died?

    Like

    • La La at 1:11 pm #

      Sean said she overdosed. I couldn’t find an obituary, though, so I’m not positive.

      Like

  6. gingerfightback at 1:14 pm #

    Here’s to Helen!

    Like

  7. Karen at 1:17 pm #

    Really nice post. I’ve really enjoyed the posts you’ve written about funny, gritty Baltimore.

    Like

    • La La at 1:22 pm #

      Thank you, Karen. It’s a very…inspiring place, full of characters and stories.

      Like

  8. twindaddy at 1:43 pm #

    Dearest La La (la la la la la la),
    I would like to second Eric in saying that this was a great, touching post. It reminds me again what a kind soul you are and that you, above all else, kick fucking ass. Don’t ever forget that, mkay?

    Like

    • La La at 1:49 pm #

      Oh, stop it. I’m blushing. You’re the fucking best!

      Like

      • twindaddy at 1:53 pm #

        Don’t blush. Just believe it. Otherwise I’m wasting my breath. You wouldn’t waste my breath, would you?

        Like

  9. RFL at 1:56 pm #

    Oh the douche story was maybe the second or third post I read of yours. This was a nice tribute and funny too. Not easy to pull off gracefully with the subject matter but somehow you have. Nice job!

    Like

    • La La at 1:58 pm #

      Thank you, I was nervous about finding the right way to present it. Hope you’re well, missy!

      Like

  10. T. W. Dittmer at 2:20 pm #

    Nicely done. Well written. There are Helens everywhere.

    Like

    • La La at 6:48 pm #

      Gotta love the hardworking Helens!

      Like

  11. becca3416 at 2:31 pm #

    Helen sure knows a thing or two about hygiene. Knew. 😦

    Like

  12. SocietyRed at 2:38 pm #

    Great great post La La.
    Sad and awesome at the same time.
    Red

    Like

    • La La at 6:48 pm #

      You’re too kind. Thank you for stopping by, Red!

      Like

  13. tracy fulks at 3:05 pm #

    Excellent post. Fuckin’ Baltimore. Douche in the cup holder almost makes me miss living in the city…almost.

    Like

    • La La at 6:48 pm #

      Close….but not quite missing the rats the size of tiny dogs, either? Enjoy your space!

      Like

  14. Whoredinary at 3:44 pm #

    Thank you for this La La, and thanks to Le Clown for leading me here.

    I’m relieved to know a moment and a few words are said for a colorful co-worker.

    I laughed so hard I cried.

    ‘…the great corner in the sky’

    I love this more times than once!

    Your Friendly Neighborhood Prostitute ❤

    Like

    • La La at 6:47 pm #

      You’re awesome! Thank you. I am headed your way right now.

      Like

  15. Madame Weebles at 4:15 pm #

    This is a great eulogy, girl. Funny and sad and icky, but great. Poor Helen. RIP, sister.

    Like

  16. The Bumble Files at 4:58 pm #

    Oh, La La, I loved this story. What a moving tribute to Helen. You shared something on this earth together. You never know how someone may affect you. I hope Helen got to read it in her corner of the sky. I think it would make her smile.

    Like

    • La La at 6:45 pm #

      Aw that’s sweet of you. I hope she enjoyed it.

      Like

  17. Aaron at 6:33 pm #

    What a wonderful thing for you to do, you brought poetry to her life, and gave her something we all want. To know that we made an impression on life and someone noticed and considered it.

    Like

    • La La at 7:26 pm #

      Thanks what I was hoping to achieve here. We all hope for it. You’re wonderful for stopping by!

      Like

  18. The Waiting at 7:06 pm #

    Poor Helen. May she rest in peace and get to hang out with Paula once she makes her own trip to the pearly Gates.

    Like

  19. Pigeon Heart at 8:45 pm #

    RIP Helen. Good to befriend people of the night. They got your back. It’s not like she stole your car. (;
    I had a prostitute friend, Monique. Maybe she deserves a post too… You are so inspiring always, thanks!

    Like

    • La La at 8:24 am #

      Monique needs a post. I loved your post last night! You are absolutely one of my favorite people.

      Like

  20. Pixie Girl at 4:40 am #

    Wow. I don’t really know what to say, started funny and then got sad and then got lovely.

    Great post x

    Like

    • La La at 8:23 am #

      Thank you, girlie. Helen had a way about her that I needed to share.

      Like

  21. The Hook at 5:55 pm #

    You have a beautiful soul, La La.
    I hope Helen is at peace now.

    Like

  22. Monk Monkey at 7:59 pm #

    Thank you for showing me douche I had not seen it before. As far as I am aware you can’t get it here but the squeeze bottles look kinda fun.

    Like

    • La La at 10:10 am #

      You would have fun with the squeeze bottle, monk.

      Like

  23. Bob at 9:44 am #

    I used to have a homeless dude we called Jesus of Osborne village. Always in his parka and boots, even in the summer heat. I always have him a few bucks when I had some to spare being a student at the time. He never asked just sat there on the pavement looking sad. Your post reminds me of him.
    http://bahbs.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/the-ghost-of-osborne-street

    Like

    • La La at 10:10 am #

      This is wonderful. Thank you so much for the reblog, too.

      Like

  24. Bob at 10:13 am #

    Reblogged this on Exploring Winnipeg and Beyond. and commented:
    I wrote a post very similar to this one in theme actually a few years ago minus the sex in the car thing about a homeless man who lived in Osborne Village in Winnipeg. This post about the prostitute made me think about him. Thank you, La La for making me remember how lucky we really are. My post can be found in the html link here.
    http://bahbs.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/the-ghost-of-osborne-street/

    Like

  25. Andrew at 11:42 pm #

    It’s funny, because I’m a dumb boy who has no idea about “girl” stuff. And I intially thought squeezit too. Then you brought it up, so I knew I wasn’t crazy. Great job. This was the perfect blend of humor with heartache. The way good ones are always are.

    Like

    • La La at 11:22 am #

      I’m glad I didn’t enjoy it like a Squeezit… thank you so much!

      Like

  26. The Hook at 11:20 am #

    I just reblogged this, La La.
    Thanks for being so gifted. Your work has helped filled the void left by my March Break absence.
    You rock!

    Like

    • La La at 11:24 am #

      Wow that’s so wonderful of you!

      Like

  27. Diane C at 11:45 am #

    What a wonderful view of community. I really believe that everyone needs to be included. I was in Paris three years ago and in the neighbourhood where I was staying there was a mentally ill street woman who was obviously an alcoholic. Everyone that I spoke to wanted her gone. One morning I was having breakfast at a cafe’ and there was a family busking outside the cafe’. They were wonderful. In the middle of a song the street woman came up and started to sing with them. She was amazing! She had a trained operatic voice and in spite of what was likely years of alcoholism and living on the street it was still beautiful. It really made me think about how we can be inclusive of all members of our community, even the ones that may not fit into our ideas of what a good neighbour should be.

    Like

    • La La at 11:49 am #

      Wow, that is truly touching! People can really be surprising. Thank you for sharing this story with me, Diane!

      Like

  28. Katie at 11:45 am #

    What a great story. It’s amazing how we don’t realize how much we value the supporting characters of our lives until they’re gone. When I stop seeing people I see regularly on the train with me, I often catch myself wondering what happened to them.

    Like

    • La La at 11:52 am #

      Yes, exactly! My dad had a similar story where he rode the train every day for a year and one day he switched to a new job and a few months later grabbed the same train he use to take and a guy on the train said he was wondering if something had happened to my dad. Life is so precious and strange and cool like that. Thanks for sharing and for the follow! I love your blog.

      Like

  29. Jen and Tonic at 12:04 pm #

    “When I saw the douche, I had a flashback to the early 90s and for at least one solid minute, thought it was a Berry B. Wild SqueezIt.” You don’t know how many times I’ve thought a douche looked like a SqueezeIt.

    I hope Helen knows what a fixture she was. Enough of one to warrant a blog post so that strangers in other parts of the world could read about her life.

    Like

    • La La at 3:01 pm #

      Jen, such a fixture! The kind of woman that makes Baltimore so unique.

      Like

  30. Janet (ocdtalk) at 6:01 pm #

    Great post…….we have some “Helens” in our town as well, and I would miss them too if they weren’t here……

    Like

  31. Rohan 7 Things at 5:16 am #

    Wow great post, death puts everything in perspective doesn’t it? We all die one day, we’re not so different, just people doing our best with what the world throws at us 🙂

    This story also reminds be of the movie The Other Guys when a bunch of homeless men have an orgy in Will Ferrel’s Prius.

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Rohan.

    Like

    • La La at 10:46 am #

      Rohan, exactly! None of us are getting out alive. And clearly I need to see that movie.

      Like

      • Maggie O'C at 2:30 pm #

        You haven’t seen the Other Guys?! What???!!! Tonight young lady!

        Like

  32. Maggie O'C at 2:29 pm #

    LaLa! This is so good! This is really lovely and sweet and touching, not in a bad touch way. God rest her, I bet she was tired. xoxox

    Like

  33. Christopher De Voss at 9:11 am #

    I bet this was the best tribute Helen got. It’s nice to be remembered. Did her family remember her? Hopefully. If not, she at least has this touching post.

    Like

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