In an alternate reality, I have inherited my mama’s trailer and inhabit it with several illegitimate babies from multiple donors and my ill-conceived lover du jour. The first spawn would’ve been obtained at some point in my high school career or shortly thereafter. This life would be made bearable with some form of chemical escape or a nicotine habit which also allows me to keep up my novelty lighter collection.
Alas, I have no novelty lighter collection. There is nary a lighter in my possession. My mother’s trailer is occupied by new owners—faceless strangers with mysterious backgrounds and questionable morals. And I have reached my 30s (mostly) drug-free, thanks to one defining moment in my early teens.
My exposure to drugs as a youth was very limited. Like, maybe I saw a few episodes of Miami Vice and that “very special episode” of Gimme a Break. Aside from what I’ve seen in movies, I am incredibly naive about drug culture. I have no idea how much recreational drugs cost. I wouldn’t know what to ask for…do dealers have printed menus of their offerings? I suppose not. Also, is it customary to tip your dealer? If so, what percentage? I would be laughed out of the opium den, for sure.
As I entered my formative teenage years, my mother and I moved into a trailer park on the very outskirts of a very small town. Fortunately, this particular park was mostly clean and populated with family types. If deals were being done, they were conducted in the wee hours and away from impressionable sorts like myself. Still, in civilized society, trailer living is equated with white trash and it’s amazing that I have been able to distance myself from that stereotype.
The closest I have gotten to any drug use was during my freshman year of high school. My BFF of the year dragged me out to the designated smoking area for a chat about BoyDrama and a nicotine fix. Someone offered me a cigarette and I agreed. In my defense, I was 14, my father just died and I was coping with that along with the typical teenage woes. The BFF lit the cigarette—a Marlboro Light, maybe. It was foul. The taste offended all of my taste buds. My mouth is accustomed to the sweet and savory. This was worse than accidentally getting gasoline in your mouth. I’m not sure I was invited back to the smokers’ corner. Certainly I wasn’t invited out to the edge of the parking lot, where the real shit was happening…probably.
I’m sure my taste in romantic partners played a role in my drug-free existence. While my mother fretted over the day I’d bring home that tattooed prison-bound Romeo on a Harley, I was hanging out in the science wing and swooning over the Poindexters. If those guys had pot, they were Bogartin’ it for their anime marathons.
I have been offered marijuana fewer than half a dozen times. I have rejected every offer. Why? Shouldn’t I have tried just once, for “research purposes”? Was I afraid of germ-laden spliffs offered up by guys with iffy hygiene? Or terrified that I’d do it wrong? Had all of those anti-drug assemblies in school been effective in more than just getting me out of math class?
Honestly, the whole drug culture does not appeal to me. I am unable to rationalize how ingesting foreign substances by otherwise unnatural means to achieve a brief mental escape from reality. That’s what television was invented for, right? Well, and the promotion of needless consumerism. The only foreign object I’ve put up my nose was a pencil eraser. In my defense, I was two and my imaginary friend just died. I did not inhale. Well, not so much did not as could not.
This is not to say I’m a total goody-goody without vices. I enjoy an adult beverage on occasion. Admittedly not as many occasions as when I was younger. If it were not for the help of caffeine, I would sleep 17 hours a day instead of the usual 10 hours I get normally. As I get older and deal with chronic pains and aches, I am reaching for more OTC medications. The sciatic nerve pinch serves as a constant reminder that I’m no longer a sprightly youth.
Would drug use have had an impact on my social life? Could I have been a social recreational user? Or would I get hooked on the harder stuff that results in lots of time holed up in the bathroom alone? I don’t know. I might have a deeper appreciation for black light posters. I do know that I am so far removed from the drug world that I was unable to intelligently discuss any of the harder substances for this essay. The amount of research I would have to do just to make cracks about cocaine or…see, I can’t even come up with a second thing, is daunting. I’m better off sticking to things I do know, like bubble tea and the merits of Art Frahm’s paintings. I may revisit the whole topic when someone creates a dealer menu that can only be read in black light or by the flame of a limited edition sterling silver Daffy Duck lighter.