The storm has moved through and leaves are scattered on the lawn. The apple tree is a bit more ragged and the berry patch with the fireweed stems looked as if it has had its hair mussed up a bit. Water has pooled up under the eves and will dry up eventually. Our son is flying up from Los Angeles to do a 20 minute comedy set for an old friend running for reelection to the State House and Jan is upstairs putting sheets on his bed and dusting his room. Happy. Happy, thinking of him back among his books, cds, toys and records.
There have been a series of drug arrests and I've been thinking a lot about the drug life here in our little town. Marijuana has always been around and probably always will, perhaps legally depending on a upcoming vote. Flake cocaine was quite popular in the fishing fleet back in the eighties and nineties, and I'm sure it can still be had. But now it appears to be methamphetamine and heroin that is all the rage in the criminal "underworld". Why? I'm not sure. Some folks used to manufacture it locally and maybe some still do. I don't know. But once the government regulated some of the makings, and manufacturers of things like, strike pads on matchboxes got hip to the fact that they didn't have to use easily rendered potassium on those boxes...and pharmacists started reporting any time anyone bought more than one package of cold medicine at a time, it became more difficult to make meth in on the back deck of your boat or in your trailer house. So the Mexican Drug cartels stepped up and started supplying as much ready made product as anyone wanted.
Now I consider myself open minded, so lets do the pros and cons of using methamphetamine:
Pros: an exhilarating high, that can often lift you out of your depressed and lethargic state to an energized kind of euphoria, if taken while having sex it can heighten the experience of orgasm. It's relatively cheap which is good because it's almost instantly addictive, Like... "wow... that was interesting sensation... Gee, I think I want some more of that... RIGHT FUCKING NOW!"
Cons: It's essentially an caustic acid that produces that high by eating your brain and turning you into a scab-encrusted zombie.
Ok... Maybe I'm not so open minded about meth. I don't know any hipster meth users. The people I see, don't have any brain cells to spare in the first place. They don't have any money or any more strikes left or probation time to spare fucking around with this chemical. They are going to forever jail and their kids are going to strangers. Their trailers turn into junk yard slums of over flowing ash tray, beer bottle dirty cereal bowl trash heaps, where little boys cower in dark rooms to play video game where they walk through dungeons and shoot people and the little girls sit in front of TV's and sing the songs to Frozen over and over and over, while grown men they don't know slap their mothers and pass out in heaps of Pizza boxes.
In our town there are old posters in every store with the photo of a of a woman who went missing two Octobers ago, and there is a ten thousand dollar reward for any news of her where a bouts. I still have a picture of her on my phone. I was with her in jail once asking if she wanted to try to go into treatment. She said she didn't need treatment. I took her picture and showed it to her, "Look at yourself, you are a skeleton. When you get better. I'm going to show this to you and you won't believe you ever let yourself sink this far down." and she laughed at me. Soon after she was out of jail and the permanent fund checks had come out. She had about $3000. in cash to spend and she disappeared without a trace. She never got better. There has been a lot of talk about what happened to her. Most of it that has come to me is drug talk from snitches who want something bad... for the worst thing about the drug culture is that everybody lies so much, and so often, that the truth has nothing to stand out against.
And the Ocean around Sitka is deep.
The drug life in our island town is small and crowded. The junkies can't get far enough away from their children. Generations of users stay in the same trailer, and the rain rattles down all day and all night. After a day of smoking Meth, the adults will sometimes inject each other with heroin, after they turn off the movies and tell the kids to go to sleep. So, the last one nods off with a belt or rubber tubing still around her arm, and the the chaos of thee day gives way finally to the steady sound of the rain on the trailer roof.
I am not normally an anti-drug crusader. Nancy Regan's "Just Say No" campaign as well intended as it may have been was as ineffective as the War On Drugs. There are no easy answers that fits all people but somehow reality, the clear eyed reality of life for a sober person of limited means in our town has to be better than the narcotized life. Making that happen, maintaing that clarity, is not so easy as any slogan or threat would have you believe.
The mildew smell of the wet carpets creeps all around the sleeping bodies and the acrid smell of the cigarettes, and the junk, mixed with, spilled coffee and dirty socks wafting through the trailer, and the boys wake up to turn on their violent games to grab their controllers, and the girls flip on "Frozen" one more time and start singing, "Let It Go.... Let It Go" very softly from their rooms.
The storm passes through
with lingering, fat sunsets
as red as lipstick.