Recently someone I sorta "know" from the happy hour scene, a real buttoned-up DC type, mentioned quite casually that she'd sucked cocaine up her nose through a hundred dollar bill on more than one occasion.
"Please, eeeeverybody's done it. Didn't you live in New York?"
I'm not sure if she was reacting to my face, which I tried very hard to relax into a very non-judgy passivity, or my knee jerk response which was something like, "COCAINE!!!!!!!!!!"
I swear I'm not a square. Anyone who's spent more than 30 seconds with my mother knows from whence I came. They can attest to my circle-ness, my coolness.
I was raised, how can I put this? Non-traditionally. My mother is a lesbian. She smokes pot in the comfort of her own home. She refuses to shave her pits, ever, no matter whose eighth-grade graduation it is and what sleeveless Dashiki she's wearing. She thinks big purses are a sign of oppression. She drinks wine from a jug and beer from a 40 with equal and unmatched sophistication.
In essence she is me and the total opposite of me. Like the flip side of a piece of expensive fabric. The side you're not supposed to show despite the fact that often the haphazard criss-crossing of seams makes it more beautiful.
My earliest memory of my mom's old red Mustang is of us driving down a particularly dodgy street in South Central. We pull over. A man walks up to the driver's side of the car and my mom hands him a tight folding of cash. He dissappears and then reappears just to shake my mother's hand. As we pull away a small package materializes in her palm. Magic.
I also remember being scared, bored and tired that night. Never again did I see said mystery man or that red Mustang.
Although my mom has always been open about her relationship with weed, I, unlike the kid from the "I Learned It By Watching You!" PSAs, never wanted to start one up myself. It wasn't the "just say no" message scolding me from a newly opened box of Lemonheads or the fun aunt who regularly went missing down the rabbit hole of addiction. I just never thought drugs were interesting.
Same thing goes for smoking with cigarettes or learning to drive, I guess. Two teenaged rebellion bullet points I never got into. Snorting, swallowing or syringing anything into my body never appealed to me. And not because I was afraid of ending up on the streets or someone's pole, but because I just didn't give a fuck. I thought it was cooler to be blase about it in high school and in college I thought it was a waste of money. Who were these people who always had money for weed when I could hardly scrap together enough money for a drunken night out (the vice I dove into wholeheartedly)?
So now as an adult it's as if I missed out on something, like the kid who never got to watch TV and is forced to ham hand her way through life sans "Harry and the Hendersons." This is obviously ridiculous. Although doing illegal drugs isn't even a fraction as bad as, oh, I don't know, not picking up your dog's poop, it's still (to my knowledge) not a great look for a lot people.
I was trying to convince a friend to write for xoJane recently and she said, "But I've never smoked crack!" For the record I'm not sure anyone who writes for xoJane has smoked crack, but I saw her point. Sometimes us non-users can feel as if we don't have a story to tell, some monster that came in and fucked us up during those pre-adult adult years which we lived to 30 to tell about. But I know that's not right.
I mean not everyone is the daughter of pot-smoking lesbian who was kidnapped by her grandmother at six and then whisked off to a tiny island filled with white conservative Christians who called her a bastard. Cocaine didn't do that, that was just plain ole humans being humans.
So next time I see a girl with a hotel key card in her wallet I refuse to believe she's getting dusted on her fourth trip to the bathroom. I mean this is Washington. Maybe she's just primping for a midnight rendezvous with a married congressman at the Marriott. That makes more sense to tipsy but not tripping me. Am I alone out there in xoJane land? Does anyone else sometimes feel left out of the (somewhat) sober cold?