I sorta know a lot about drugs.
I know I smoked weed once and hated it. And being the thorough person that I am, I also know that I smoked it on three (four?) other occasions just to be sure.
I know after six years at my job, I can identify any drug by sight or smell that I may pull out of your lady bits during the strip search.
I know I can always follow along with the user-slang during Intervention marathons that tend to cure my 3 am insomnia.
And everything else that I need to know about drugs I learned way back when I won the D.A.R.E. essay contest in 1994.
Hell yeah, you read that right.
For those who need a quick tutorial, let me enlighten you. D.A.R.E stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, and was taught in 6th grade during my era. Quick research on my part uncovered this classy website, which further reveals that D.A.R.E. is still being taught today, despite years of being proven to be virtually ineffective.
Let’s pause for a high-five, Minnesota.
Also, let’s pause and look at the current itinerary for this years D.A.R.E. training. Like how Phil Chalmers will be discussing Why Teens Kill. Guess topics have really branched out over there at the D.A.R.E. headquarters. This era of D.A.R.E. is not one that I know. When I was in D.A.R.E, I pretty much remember the topics centering around peer pressure, cigarettes, and some really bad gateway drug called marijuana that would, without a doubt, be our demise in high school if we spent too much time hanging around the delivery dock back by the art studios.
So I capitalized on all this relevant knowledge and I wrote an essay about these topics. About how to effectively avoid peer pressure by staying away from the back of the bus. About how addictive cigarettes were and about how there was no unfathomable reason that bubble gum would not always be an equally worthy substitute. And about how a seemingly innocent introduction to marijuana resulted in life becoming nothing more than a desolate mess of events, hours really only filled with melancholy song writing and awaiting the next episode of MTV’s Unplugged for some reassurance that you were not alone in your pain.
So, as a marijuana experimenter, a consistent cigarette smoker, and a victim of peer pressure from time to time (see: tequila shots, dancing, karaoke), you clearly can see how well D.A.R.E. worked for me.
Anyways, D.A.R.E. is not even the main topic of this post, although you no doubt are starting to believe otherwise. Before we get even more off topic, let me give you some more background necessary for the full appreciation of todays featured story.
-This story takes place in the afternoon. Well, 12:00 pm on the nose, to be specific. But it was a dark and stormy day, and so my apartment was literally pitch black. Black like midnight in January. And, in the second day of a heat index of 115, in my apartment of non-central air conditioning, the use of lights-unless absolutely necessary-had been long ago abandoned.
-This story takes place on a lazy day. Laziness that we mostly accounted for in the above mentioned weather. I would also like to add a small lingering of some deathly mix of cold/flu/amnesia that I had valiantly fought for a week. Because maybe this influences the story to my benefit. Maybe it doesn’t. I can’t decide, but I’m going to try for every angle from you I can get here.
-The entire morning of this story was spent in bed reading a new book and rolling onto the cooler side of the sheets every half hour like a rotisserie. So what, right? Well, incidentally, reading is one of the few activities that my naked eyeballs can handle sans assistance. And I can never remember if this makes me near-sighted or far-sighted, so for my inability to simply use a basic term and move on, I apologize. But I am whatever it is when I can see in front of my face for hours without a problem, but couldn’t drive a few blocks at an acceptable speed to save my life.
-I have a cat. His name is Carter. And he is insane. While he appears to be a cat, he would like to act and be treated like a dog. He runs to the door to greet you. He fetches and buries toys. Drop anything on the floor and he will have said object in his mouth within 3.4 seconds, as averaged from numerous severely unscientific experiments. He chews on shoes, wakes me up every morning three hours too early, and sheds enough hair every week to build a whole new cat. But I haven’t seen a spider in months. So, for now, he wins.
As far as background information can go, I believe you are prepared.
Re-cap: I am armed, in a pitch black apartment, with various aspects of drug knowledge, a glasses-less face, a corrupted sense of balance and some residual cloudy thought processes from a seven-day sickness with a catdog hybrid that has a verified response time of 3.4 seconds.
I know this story happened at noon because that’s when the alarm on my phone went off. And that’s when I got up and headed to the kitchen, where it was charging, to turn it off. And that’s when I stepped a few feet to the left of myself, towards the dining room table, where my purse was hanging on the chair. I dug in the side pocket, and pulled out the packet, and slipped it from the case.
I did this all in pitch black because it’s pretty much what I have done daily for years upon years. Sure, the lay-outs of my apartments have changed, and the location my purse might not have always been hanging on the back of a dining room chair. But if a girl can do anything in the dark, or without thinking twice, it’s find her birth control and take it seamlessly, often without breaking stride or conversation.
Or so it seems. See, we pause here for a moment in the story. My left hand cupped underneath, my right hand bending the case and popping the foil on the bend. Except when the pill popped out, into my hand it did not fall. Rather, I heard it bounce off the hardwood floor with a little “ping” and then roll about in an undetermined direction.
Thoughts flooded my head as I bent down to begin feeling around the floor. Thoughts about the fact I have almost no time between now and the moment Carter beats me to and ingests this pill. Thoughts about the fact that I can’t see shit. Or the fact that, despite my necessary urgency, I may be moving too fast for my equilibrium to catch up and that I may now faint on my floor. Or throw up. Maybe both.
And then the drug knowledge begins to amass, and I imagine how a pill that can cease human creation will no doubt obliterate a fixed male cat 1/10 of my size. This panic causes me to reach up and snap on the overhead light, which immediately does not do much for eyes that are saturated in darkness and marinated in phlegm.
But, as if my eyes seem to sense the danger in the situation, they adjust more quickly than I anticipated. Spotting the pill, I scurried, crab-like, over a few feet, throwing a distracting elbow at Carter in the process to throw him off track. I grab it before he can, and I am flooded with a sense of relief when I feel it in my hand. And before I can think about the last time I cleaned the floor, or weigh how still taking dropped medication is maybe a new life low for me, I pop the pill in my mouth.
Except this pill didn’t do what it was supposed to. It went down my throat. It touched my stomach for a mere second. But then it came back up. Like a yo-yo. Because what I found, what I was eating, wasn’t my lost pill. It was a little pebble of dry cat food. And, as I’m on my knees, squinting into focus and staring at the item that I just spit back up, off runs Carter into the living room, passing the pill between his paws at warp speed.
It might have ended up under the couch. It might have ended up in Carter’s stomach. So I didn’t care at that point to track it down. Because I was busy in the bathroom throwing up again over the thought of the incident. And overdosing on cold medicine so I could be back to my normal, always ready for anything self. And wondering exactly how a perfect morning could go so wrong in 10 seconds.
But, to really console myself, I just kept reiterating that everything I learned in D.A.R.E. was a lie anyways. Right?