Two weeks ago, I took another work trip, this time to St. Louis. It was a lot more profitable, but significantly less eventful. The most interesting thing that happened was that I encountered another provider while I was there.
“Sarah” was, it turned out, staying in the same hotel I was in. I was alerted to her presence by a client who suggested the two of us have a meal together. I suspect he was hoping the two of us would hit it off so well that we’d give him an unplanned, unpaid double out of gratitude, but that was not going to happen.
Meeting Sarah for the first time was awkward. It was like a blind date without the promise of romance: neither of us were completely certain what was expected of us, we didn’t even know if we had anything in common other than our shared profession, and as I sat down across from her at a table in the hotel restaurant, I was pretty sure this wasn’t going to end well.
Sarah was no remarkable beauty–but then, most of us aren’t. Sitting at a table she looked pleasant and buxom enough, though. She was very young, with stringy bleached hair and too much makeup, but somehow her lack of polish was almost charming. As I approached the table, she stood up and greeted me very loudly, causing the other patrons to turn around and look at us. This was a very rough start to the evening, but it was too late to back out now.
The first question she asked when I sat down at the table was, “Do you drink?”
That was it, no “what brings you here?” No “where are you from?” Just, “Do you drink?”
“Of course,” I replied, “but never when I’m working. The most I’ll do is have one or two cocktails if a client wants to have a drink with me. Why do you ask?”
“I just always have a bottle in my room, in case you need it. I can’t work sober.”