So Im walking in Old Town on Broadway and Everett looking superfly. Its a Saturday night and Im on my way to check out a friends band from San Francisco, Lost Goat. Music sounds better when youre on the guest list and I was all dolld up cause beer tastes better when its freeand wearing tight shorts and cowboy boots is a step in the right direction.
Are you working? an old white guy asks me. Hes a thinner sort with gray hair, riding his bike along side a gal walking down the street. His voice was soft, and I didnt quite catch his question. Pardon? The couple stopped me on the corner. Are you working? he repeated. The lady looked at me intently. Her hair was mussed, she looked in her mid-forties and was in her stocking feet, carrying her tennis shoes. They looked like a street couple. They were asking if I was a street prostitute.
Are you working? This time the lady asked the question. Its best if you just admit it, the man tells me. Why was he trying to get me to admit anything? I figured this was a great opportunity to apply some outreach for HIV prevention. No, Im not working. But I have condoms, do you need anything? I asked back. But you do work says lady. I work, but not on the streets. I tell her. Now Im thinking I want to recruit the woman to be a Danzine volunteerwe need more street workers on board. Why not release some solidarity? But you dont work the streets, she offered, while the old man rolled away. Whats up with this couple? Nah, Im going to watch some music and get a beer. Then WHAM. Bad vibe rumbles up the center of my chest. BAD VIBE.
Lady points down the street, Keep walking. I didnt move. Keep walking, she repeated. Am I getting in turf wars? Fuck that. Are you working? I finally asked her. Her voice got stern. She kept waving me by, Best be on your way, maam. I squared my body to hers. First they had to get me to stop, now they couldnt get rid of me. You approached me, I reminded her. She looked me in the eye. Im a cop. Leave now before you get in any more trouble than you already are. Keep walking maam. Shit. I stepped off. I made it to the club, pissed off and ready for that beer.
Is this a new initiative with the police force, and who authorized this maneuver? Whats up with approaching women in Old Town and entrapping them to admit to criminal activity? What if I was a street girl, that couple wouldve totally mouse trapped me. Next to Nazi Germany I know we dont live in police a state, but this move was a little too Big Brother for me. They didnt catch me in front of a car, doing business. I was simply getting from point A to B. My rights were insulted and I didnt even do anything (this time). Now I have to make a call to Mayor Vera Katz and commend her Corrections Department. If somebody bugs your shit, call the cat lady at (503) 823-4120. Mention the responsible allocation of the tax payers money; Lord knows we need fewer female pedestrians in Portland on a beautiful summer evening.