Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The statistic down the hall

A friend of his gave my boyfriend cocaine for his birthday.


Nevermind that he has never done cocaine and doesn't intend to do cocaine.  It is a little reminiscent of adolescent peer pressure, like when I was convinced that it was a really good idea to serve as the requisite "egg" in a rambunctious trampoline game of crack the egg or to try a dip of chewing tobacco. (Note- These weren't good ideas. At all.) This is the same friend who encouraged us to try to hunt down some Cuban cocaine while traveling- yes, the same country with the shady communist regime and that tried to kill us with something as banal as a hamburger.

So, despite the Duke telling him how absurd this suggestion was, he has decided to try another strategy- the classic selfish birthday gift, kind of like when Homer gave Marge the bowling ball. He apparently wants another stimulant buddy.

It's on occasions like this when it occurs to me how naive I can be. It's not as though I'm blind to drugs. I grew up in a town where pot smoking was practically a formalized afterschool program. I came of age in the rave era, where, as I danced under strobe lights with outstretched arms, friends were frantically hugging all those around them on an ecstasy buzz or tripping out on a bushel of pillows in a corner. But I guess I just assumed that people just got over it.

Sure, we all hear of the academic-type distinction between functional and dysfunctional drug addicts. We're told that there are just as many uber-successful briefcased types snorting cocaine off bathroom sinks on the weekend as there are junkies passed out with needles on their arms in a back alley. Still, though I agreed with this on principle, I never quite expected the reality of it. 

I didn't occur to me that academics in their early 30s were really wiping the white stuff off their noses between teaching classes and writing manuscripts. I was shocked that with the revelation of one friend, the tumbling domino effect that followed, in which I suddenly realized that a number of the people I'd had beers with had also become semi-regular cocaine users. I was also amazed at the lack of discretion, the expectation that this was a casual enough of a hobby to just drop in conversation, like the movie he saw last weekend. 

And, suddenly, I was reminded of the time this happened before, of the fellow down the hall in a former apartment building. I used to borrow sugar from him and watch the Sopranos at his place on quiet weeknights. Only when he was evicted was he revealed to have a fierce cocaine habit while being smart enough to wait until we were back in our apartment to pull out his baggie.

It's always an odd revelation that the statistics are the same people you are having lunch with.

22 comments:

Caz said...

It's really disconcerting isn't it? Perhaps I'm really innocent, but I find it disconcerting to realize after the fact that friends/aquaintances have been doing hard drugs right under my nose without me realizing it. It seems there's a whole other side of people I didn't know about it. Then again, I've been there and I KNOW I have a weird and uncomfortable relationship (if you can call it that) with hard drugs.

And yes, it's equally odd when you realize for the first time that the average coke user is a suit in his/her 30's with the money and time to support the habit, not a homeless 16 year old living on the street. When you realize people you work with have most likely done lines in your bathroom or last weekend at that dinner you all attended.

Sorry, I have an endless amount to say on the topic, and I'm equally as weirded out about the whole situation. I know it needs to be a post of mine sometime soon, I just haven't quite got there yet.

Caz said...

And that was the worst comment in the history of the world... with the repetitions of "disconcerting" and "realize" apparently I need to proof-ready.

Paula said...

giving someone cocaine for their birthday when they don't do it and don't PLAN to do it, has to be one of the stupidest gifts ever.

just give me the money for gods sake!!!

smidge said...

What a jerk to assume that just because everyone he knows does coke that your bloke does too!

Although im regularly surprised by the amount of sneaking off to the loo that goes on in my social circles. In fact it sometimes gets to the point that we wont go to a party because of the coke being taken - agressive parties which mainly take place in the loo - just arent my scene.

and im a suit in my 30s!

Maris said...

I agree with you. Very, very scary how rampant these things actually are. I am probably naive to a lot of what goes on around me and I like it that way.

Angela said...

Drugs scare me so badly. If I ever found out that a friend of mine was addicted, I'd want to run away in the other direction so fast to get away from the situation and get the hell away from that friend.

Watch out for your boyfriend. Hopefully he's a smart one and won't get started.

Arielle said...

I am totally naive to stuff like that. I've only actually seen cocaine once, though I'm sure I've been around it way more than I even realize. It just weirds me out because I'd never consider doing it and it's strange that other people treat it so lightly.

dmb5_libra said...

i too was totally naive as to how many drugs people did until i got to college, but no one there really had raging drug problems and i was no angel. but it wasn't until i got into the real world that i saw my first coke head vibrate into the local hang out i liked to frequent. she always had coke boogers hanging out of her nose. ick! she was a lawyer.

Yoda said...

As an avid viewer of the show "Locked up abroad" on NatGeo, I can assure you of one thing. There is NOTHING as stupid as trying to score drugs in a foreign country. Much less a third world communist country.

Meghan said...

I'm shocked that as I get older rather than having drugs die down as an adolescent phase, more people I know are opening up to closet habits of sniffing(not always closested). I'm torn between ignoring it and also staying away from the people I care about the most because I don't want to be associated with that as I have a job that would be affected by the image.

myself said...

I've had a bit more close knowledge of cocaine/crack use due to my former brother in law being a recovering coke addict and my ex boyfriend a relapsed crack addict (yay me).

I can spot a user a mile away, they have tells, and little habits, and tell similar lies to each other.

But, it still amazes me how much it's in use these days. I'm involved in the Montreal music scene, and easily 1 out of every person uses coke to one extent or another.

I thought that went out with the 80s/90s, apparently I was wrong.

Chocobo said...

I used to work as a cook. Pot was always ubiquitous, but it frightened me that people who had too much to do and not enough time to do it in (chefs and academics both fall into this category) could fall so easily into taking stimulants such as cocaine or meth.

Maybe it's not so terribly funny, but I always say that I have no need to do stimulants. I already think the world revolves around me and that you're all out to get me. Seriously, narcissism and stimulants seems like a dangerous combination.

Katelin said...

oh wow that is one hell of a birthday present. definitely a first that i've heard of. yikes.

Tristan | the arw said...

I'm sure that it was around when I was in college, but I never saw it, so it never occurred to me that people in my town did it.

I left California and moved to New Mexico and suddenly it seems to be everywhere. I experimented with it for about a year and then quickly realized it wasn't my scene. It was fun while it lasted, but I didn't want it to become a part of my life in any extended way.

Still, I see it everywhere now. And I know dealers and I read the news every morning worried that I'll recognize a name in the paper (which has now happened twice). I got into the scene and it feels like, now, I can't escape it. Whenever I go out, it's there, even when I would prefer it not be.

I also feel like I've lost a lot of friends because I don't indulge in that lifestyle anymore. Sometimes I think this is sad, other times I realize that they weren't really a friend in the first place if our relationship was just based on using.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that it is everywhere, whether we realize it or not, whether we see it or not. And really, it's just a matter of paying attention to the things that we want to pay attention to, and going to the bars that we want to go to (whether people are sneaking off to the bathroom to do a line or not). It's about the experience we want to have, and ignoring all the rest.

Now go tell the Duke to flush that shit!!! :) (Unless he can use it casually and then let it go, of course) I think, for some people, it can be an occasional "party-enhancer. For others, it's obviously another story.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Ooo cocain, I've had enough experience with that around me....and afecting some very close friends, NO GOOOOODDD...

S'Mat said...

first, I'd like to describe the image that made me giggle-fart: you playing a game of 'crack the egg' whilst chewing tobacco... long streams of brown spittle flying centrifugally as you get omeletted on a tampoline. i laugh, because i've tried similar, and it's not a good idea.

of drugs: i'm of the opinion of going with the interpretation that everything that our body does not need is a drug. this obviously includes that which produces any effect whatsoever: chocolate, coffee, sugar in coffee.. even non-consumerables like music or favorite TV programs... and i mean this in utter seriousness... they all interact and change the brain, alter our biochemical reactions so what's the difference? legislation? legality? degrees of harm?

for these i use an approach similar to assessing 'embodied energy': cocaine is shit. it takes a wonderful plant (respected and venerated within Andean society), refines it with shit (intense acid, then intense alkaloids, with gasoline somewhere in there), uses murder and exploitation to get here, then is cut and hunted down and stigmatized further. for what it is (and the high it produces): it is shit.

that said... why not try? the classic phrase that i remember whilst perusing the early psychologists was that freud used to do buckets of the stuff.

i personally won't do coke again, as the only effect i really get is the need to CONSUME... more coke, cigarettes, drink, people. and i do not like that feeling. it CAN be used to bring someone back from a 'too-drunk' state... but that said, should anyone do that to themselves in the first place?

i don't know. interesting post though.

Blaez said...

wow, i'm speechless that he gave a non doing person a drug for a bday gift.

i've been given pot as a bday gift when i use to smoke pot...

there are more people out there that look "clean" that are not clean. its because they can handle it better than the other ones...

LiLu said...

Wow, that is UNBELIEVABLE. Who just gives an incredibly dangerous narcotic to someone who's expressed no interest? That's about the most selfish "gift" I've ever heard of.

harper & beatrix said...

i was surprised by the cocaine resurgence that seemed to be happening before i left college (2003/2004), but it still seems to be picking up speed with the under-25 set.

my biggest question is what is he going to do with the coke now that he has it? it's an annoying thing to have around.

~beatrix

Just Playing Pretend said...

I had a 7 year old elementary student bring cocaine to school this year. He found it next to the cereal and thought it was sugar. I kid you not. This whole post made me think about that.

Gemma said...

WHAT. I would be floored. And offended!

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

Wow...that is a first.

As for drugs and work...I use to see it pretty regularly in the biz world. Stimulant abuse seems to be pretty pervasive in med/grad school....long hours and late hours.