In our previous house, the one we lived in before we moved into our current house nearly ten years ago, the mailbox was strategically situated on the facing of the porch, for ease of the mailman's access. Unfortunately, that also meant that it was more-or-less directly beneath the edge of the porch roof. Which was not a problem, most of the time. But on rainy/snowy days, water would drip off the edge of the roof, directly onto the mailbox. Which, again, was not a problem, so long as the mailbox remained closed. But, lacking one of those nifty red flags to indicate that we had outgoing mail, the way we signaled to our mail carrier that we had outgoing mail (utility bills, and such inconsequential items as those), was to leave the stamped end of the letter sticking out from under the lid of the mailbox. So now, perhaps, you can perceive the problem. Rain, or snowmelt, would drip onto the portion of the letter that stuck out from under the mailbox lid, and made the printing run (or, even worse, the ink on the enclosed check), or worst of all, in the days before self-adhesive stamps, it might wash the stamp off the envelope entirely, resulting in a three-digit electric bill falling down the postal service's Black Hole for Unstamped Letters. Not that that ever happened, or anything. . .
So, on rainy/snowy days, if we had outgoing mail, I would often just take it with me when I left for work in the morning. Some days, my route to work would take me past the main post office, and I would just drop our letters in the box in the lobby there. Otherwise, I would look for one of those blue letter-boxes that one finds on the edge of the curb, which used to be way more common than they are these days. Thus protected from the elements, our bills could wait in the relative comfort and security of the blue curbside letter-box until the mailman came along with his key to speed them to their intended destination.
All of which is an elaborate setting of the stage for the real story of this post. . .
One such snowy day - it had snowed a foot or more in OurTown, and the snow was still coming down furiously as I left for work - I had a fistful of letters to send off, and I was working in a part of town I wasn't very familiar with, so I was going slowly, peering through the snow, trying to find a blue letter-box. I finally spied one, on the corner of a fairly seedy side street, next to an old drug store. In order to get myself out of the flow of traffic, what with visibility and traction both being pretty seriously diminished, I turned onto the side street and maneuvered my car around so I could pull up near the letter-box. I hopped out of the car, deposited my letters into the blue box, and got back into the car.
I was just about to pull back onto the main street, when a woman I'd never met got into the passenger seat of my car. She was blond, and looked to be around 40 years old, not unattractive, but bearing a 'hard-life' sort of demeanor. She was wearing a leopard-print winter coat. "Hi!" she greeted me, cheerily.
"Uh, hi," I replied, wondering just what the hell this was about.
"So - where do you wanna go?"
"Um. . . excuse me?"
"Where do you wanna go?"
"Uh. . . I'm going to work? Is there some way I can help you?"
"Well, you pulled in where I was standing! Why did you do that, if you didn't want something?"
"Uh. . . I pulled off the main street so I could drop some letters in the blue box."
Now both of us are a little flustered, as I'm suddenly realizing what's going on with this woman in my car, and she's suddenly realizing that I'm not the 'customer' she took me to be.
"Sorry. . . " I mumbled, "but I'm not in the market. Can I drop you somewhere where you'll be warm?"
"No," she replied. "I'll be fine right here. Sorry to bother you. Have a nice day."
"Um. . . you too. . ." And she got out of my car, and back to plying her trade. . .
And that, along with the story I told from the summer when I was 17, is the sum total of my lived experience with prostitutes.
And just for what it's worth, Molly thought it was hilarious when I told her the story when I got home at the end of the day. . .