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.