The Corporate Shill

The Corporate Shill is coming to visit me this weekend. Hopefully, not so that she can retaliate for the Birthday Inquisition, but one never knows. I tend to be anxious about having company–one of the reasons for my hermitism–and so, I admit, I’m a little anxious about having the Shill to visit.

I can’t wait to see her, but I was looking around the old cardboard box, er, apartment, last night, over the piles of the Butcher’s art and collections of afghans I crochet but never bother to tuck the loose ends in on (so that most of my afghans tend to look disheveled, like little old men who miss the tops of their heads with their hairbrushes) and listening to the passing trains and the sounds of the interstate and I thought, “Jesus Christ, no one must ever know we live this way.”

But this morning, as I was out walking the dog and saw the two trees I love that bow out towards the road on either side of this rickety gate and the wisteria bush just about done blooming and the lilacs just coming in, and thought about her running through these streets and seeing for herself this strange and lovely town, and I thought, “Well, it’s not like we’re going to sit in the house all weekend. . .”

I first met the Shill in college. She was in a history class with me–“Women, Work, and Leisure”–in which we learned one important thing, which I will now impart on you: If you are a high society charitable giver to the Hull House and you think it’s your business to go into the Eastern European ghettos in Chicago to teach the poor riff raff how to keep their houses properly cleaned and children properly fed, before you teach them how to cook eggs and dust, you might want to check if they can afford eggs or an apartment with more than one window or even just one window that doesn’t open onto a coal chimney.

The Shill and I had to do a group project together. The day of the project, she did not show up for class. So, I had to do my half of the presentation (superbly, I might add) and then do her half of the presentation thusly “Well, I’m sure if the Corporate Shill were here, she would tell you that . . .” It was pretty hilarious. I think we both ended up getting a pretty good grade on it.

It’s weird, but that made me like her, that she could not show up for something, but that people had enough good will towards her that her absence was met with concern for her welfare and laughter at my filling in for her.