Sunday, April 22, 2012
Someone asked me “Could you have carried on an intelligent conversation with a grown man when you were thirteen?”
He was wondering if I believed it was possible for Carlos Coy to carry on a relationship with a very young girl without realizing her age. It got me thinking about why I accept that this could happen. I normally try to write about things that relate directly to his case, and this really has nothing to do with it; but I don't want you to think that I'm blindly accepting his version of events. It would be unwise to ignore this aspect of the story, because it 's a sticking point for a lot of people; they want to believe that if THEY were ever confronted with a young girl claiming to be 18, they would be able to see right through her; it seems like it should be obvious.
Now, I could talk about the underage strippers that pop up every every now and then. Young girls, one of whom was actually mentally handicapped who managed to talk their way into employment in an industry that should be on the lookout for exactly that kind of lie; after all, if the cops find a minor spinning on the pole, it’s not just a fine for the business owner. It’s a fucking felony charge for everyone in the damn room, and that’s not good for any kind of business.
These are good illustrations of how people see what they expect to see, even when it could cost them everything. But I’m going to bring a little of my personal history into this, to make it clear why I believe some one who’s not a pedophile, who has no interest in little children, could find himself in Carlos Coy’s shoes.
I started taking college classes when I was fourteen or fifteen. I never mentioned my age to my fellow students and because of the environment I presented myself in, they assumed that I was like them. I was not more mature than any other kid my age, but if people saw me doing something that should have been a give-away to my age, they didn’t think “Aha! She’s a minor posing as an adult!” they thought “Wow, that was a fucking immature thing to do” and went about their business.
We discussed literature and art; we ate lunch together. We talked shit as we waited for our rides to come pick us up. I bummed cigarettes (class C misdemeanor), was offered drinks (class A misdemeanor), and I was hit on several times(3g felony offense). These were intelligent, educated adults, who would have been horrified to learn that they were looking at a little kid.
I was a moron for acting like an adult, but at that age, who thinks about how their actions could affect those around them? If my parents had known they too would have been horrified, and it’s only because they gave a fuck where I was every night that I didn’t get myself, and the unknowing people who befriended me, into some serious trouble.
This was my experience; it doesn’t prove anything, and I don’t expect it to change anyone’s mind. But it is the reason I believe Coy when he says he didn’t know how young Odom was. Add PCP, weed & alcohol to a human being’s natural inclination to see what they expect to see, and I just don’t see any normal person thinking “Hey, this girl downing drinks next to me might be a damn little kid!”