Sunday, January 30, 2011

On being inconvenient.

There have been times that there have been inconvenient people in my life. So I understand the concept all too well. You may know what I mean, if not let me explain. There have been people who show up at an event or certain place at the entirely wrong time. Their presence creates situations that might require way too much explaining or their behavior is less than what many might consider proper social protocol.

Running into inconvenient people has also happened just driving down the wrong street with someone "normal" in my car. Street dealers or just people on the street who knew me, or my car would shout my name out loud, thinking I was in the area to score drugs. It also stimulates ones creativity.

I now have almost as many lines of bullshit as L. Ron Hubbard has written books since his death. As a friend once put it, "if bullshit were music, you'd be a brass band." Now I'm cursed with "Stars and Stripes Forever" running through my head at times.

The thing is that I am now the one who is an inconvenience to some people who were part of my life or I was part of theirs. Wedding have happened, children were born, people have passed and other life events that in my past life my participation was expected. Indeed in some cases, my presence was more than welcome.

The fact of my status was again brought into focus when a member of my extended family, or more correctly ex-family passed away.

I have an aversion to going to funeral home viewings. I have also learned over time that one went to those things not so much for the dead, but for the people who are left behind. So I mentioned that I might have a hard time getting to the funeral home, and basically was told not to worry about it.

I then suggested that a sympathy card was probably in order. The response to that was that maybe just posting an entry in the online guest book would be just fine. Something that could be made to disappear when the next link was clicked. At that point it became apparent what had become of me.

My presence or even physical evidence of my existence has become well, inconvenient.

There will be certainly those who say this all so much bullshit. Fact is though, the very best bullshit is wrapped around a kernel of truth. There may be a bit more than a kernel in this though...

Now cuing up "The Minnesota March."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Five days

It has been five days of hitting a pipe and now it done.

For awhile anyways.

Last Tuesday was money day. Bills were paid, food and other necessities were bought. Things that needed to be taken care of were and I've come out the other side fairly scar free. I don't think anyone else was damaged in this particular run as well. Well maybe not too badly as a friend got beat trying to buy something off the street. Not that they didn't know the risks, but for the small amount of money lost and perhaps a bruised cheek perhaps some lessons were learned.

Those kids out there will rip you off in a heart beat.

There is that period where there is money to buy drugs and no one was answering the phones. That is frustrating to say the least, especially when you are starting to come down and in your mind the party isn't over yet. But when the Dude says he's on his way and four hours later he is still a no show, you get more than a bit edgy. That is one of those times that you start thinking that going out to find something is the way to go.

Those are also the times when getting beat for a few bucks, getting literally beat for a few bucks and some wild adventures start to unfold. I've gone on those excursions, looking for just a twenty piece and returned home close to a week later.

Anyway, until a bit of cash comes around to me or someone gifts me with a few hits, it's back to nearly normal. Whatever the hell normal is nowadays.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ted Williams, my neighbor Don and me...

Please, don't get me wrong. No one would like to see Ted make it in some fashion more than I. But he's been places I have, if not geographically, but at least in character and spirit. With that in mind there are some things that are certain. One of which is you can't go back.

That is a sorry and not so sorry fact.

Happy, smiling Ted on that ramp got sucked in by his own hustle and bullshit. His hook was his voice. People would pull up and listen to his undeniably great sounding, professionally trained voice and throw him a buck. In the grand scheme of things, I think that's all he wanted. Enough cash to get some food for his belly, a bottle of cheap booze, a little weed and perhaps a few hits.

He told that Columbus, Ohio news reporter that he had two years clean. That is almost as believable as his telling me that his guys shit was the best in town. Perhaps that is prejudicial on my part, but one of the things that has stuck with me from my first stint in rehab is this:
"How do you know when an addict is lying? Their lips are moving."

That may be an over generalization, but it is a philosophy that has served me well over the years.

Not to elaborate too much, Ted is already caving in to the wants and expectations of those around him. He has too much money in his pocket and bright prospects on the horizon. All this because big hearted, but certainly foolish benefactors who are also looking at Ted as a meal ticket. That includes his family that will admit to knowing him and assholes like Dr. Fucking Phil. Other do gooders for profit, like Dr. "Plant Drugs in Her Car" Drew are more than likely in close pursuit.

But did anyone consider that Ted may have been happy on that ramp? Did anyone consider that this instant fame and attention along with available money just might kill him? Did anyone consider that Ted, in a fashion got the evil genie back in the bottle and those do gooders just popped the cork on him?

Which brings me to Don and myself.

I first met Don about a year ago. He got out regularly for food at the Mission. He visited some people who enjoyed his company to a degree. He also was part of the "flavor" in the neighborhood. Many might say the flavor of my neighborhood is shit, but those who know are aware that there are very bright spots here as well.

Like Gammalost cheese.

Don had no income at all beyond a modest amount of food stamps and other hustles that brought a few bucks in here and there. When there was money, he would buy a bottle and retreat to his cell for a day to enjoy his vodka induced oblivion. Some smart ass suggested he apply for SSDI and that's when things started downhill. Social Security deemed him worthy of a partial payment until his claim was resolved.

More money meant more vodka and less trips into the world. Consequently his health has deteriorated a great deal over the past year. Broken ribs and punctured lungs from falls. Other bones, like his jaw have been broken as well. Life is not great when you have to take your meals through a straw.

Again, I can't help but wonder if Don and the world would be happier if things had been left as they were.

Then we come to my sorry ass. Not so sorry as it was a little over a year ago, as things were indeed dicey for me at times for awhile. Without exaggeration, dollars in an amount that easily is in the seven figure range have been blown on my addiction. Not all of it was on drugs either. When one takes into account the cost of the rehabs, things lost or given away and the broken marriages endured the numbers add up pretty quick.

Then there are the things lost that can never be measured in dollars and cents.

Three years ago there was a big pile of money in the bank. Enough to get enough to kill me. I packed some necessities in my new car and headed down the road, never expecting to come back to anything or anywhere.Lord knows I got very close by taking some of the wrong drugs, or overdose or by the hands of others.

I survived and to a certain degree I'm not sure how or why. The how is credited a bit to at least one family member who at least gave a shit to some extent. That person is now happily 1400 miles away from me now and is one of the few who contact me occasionally to see if I'm still alive. Another person helps as well by helping me execute a plan to keep me at least artificially broke.

I'm happy and to some degree so is the rest of the world.

The point of this all is that the temptation to "help" someone out with money, or regain lost fame or position may well be misguided. There is this perception some have that there is something that needs fixed, and dammit, they are gonna' see that it is fixed.

Maybe the better way is to just leave well enough alone.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Who says crack heads don't like football.

Well, this one does.

There really hasn't been a time when I didn't give a rat's ass who was playing on any particular Sunday. With the exception of a few really bad years, I did care who was in the playoffs and if the Steelers were in the Super Bowl, GREAT! In all honesty though, football has been one on those thin threads on reality I have held onto for more than a few years.


Well, something other than where the next hit was coming from in any event. And more real than that college football BCS baloney. So, it has been one of the things that for a few hours on a few Saturdays and Sundays and an occasional Monday night that has keep me mostly crack free.

It works to a degree so there are no complaints on my part.

With Pittsburgh's win on Saturday, a celebration of sorts was had on my part. Some get a kick out of champagne but my tastes veer off of that a bit . Big surprise there, right? Not enough to make for an all night binge, and there never really is enough. Just enough to get me sitting in the kitchen for a little while.

One other thing, I am no candidate for crackhead sainthood. I am not one of those who easily can keep it near without burning it up it as soon as possible. I did manage though to not take a hit until that game was over.

There are small victories at times beyond what is on a score board.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Carpet Farming

Is not just about being out of crack.

Carpet farming and a handful of other seemingly strange behaviors are the result of either having ones OCD kicked into high gear or the power of suggestion playing in your mind. Now, there is often the case where you might see some crack head on their hands and knees when the party's over, but what I'm talking about is searching while there is still a big pile on the table in front of you. While it is something that I have engaged in, there are those who take it to an entirely new level.

Dropping some crumbs, or even a whole hit will get you running your fingers through the rug. Sometimes the sloppiness of yourself or whoever is with you will set off this behavior. Sometimes it just looking down and seeing a white speck standing out against a darker background. Most likely it's the crumbs from the popcorn you ate earlier in the day, or in the week or sometime last month. I have been guilty of leaving crumbs of one sort or another on the floor just for the amusement factor.

Bad Crackhead.

Often though, this type of thing can be triggered when one person starts it, then rest of the party will start looking downward as well. There are times you might walk into a room of two or three smokers on all fours, searching for crumbs. Also are the instances were somebody is going though their pockets, purses and even taking off shoes looking for a hit. You can't imagine the amount of pocket lint I've seen smoked.

The funny part is that this happens when someone gets a really good blast in themselves.

Behaviors vary from person to person when that big one takes over in the brain. Some folks will change seats, have to walk around or just stand up. That is usually my reaction. Other people become very still and want to listen to what is going on around them. Here again, is another of my reactions. There is also the strong sexual component to that drug's effect on ones mind. This has been the case with me as well. More often it's a male type thing and women go someplace else in their minds.

I have often thought they fantasize about going to the mall and shopping.

But get one smoker to start crawling, even when there is plenty of dope left, you'll invariably get others to at least start looking downward. While there are those instances where it might be game, the suggestion that there is a twenty piece hiding under your chair is strong. The funny thing is, despite the odds sometimes there really is a big chunk sitting there.

So in the weird freak show that crack runs through ones mind, Carpet Farming is one of the more benign reactions.

Makes you want to go right out for a twenty, now doesn't it?

Monday, January 10, 2011

And then there is this.

Yesterday had my neighbor Don coming over with the better part of a half gallon of vodka. I invited him to come by, knowing that he would try to get me drunk. I don't know if he fully understands how successful he was in that effort. Added to that is the fact that he did give me some of his sleep medication.

A perfect storm?

I really didn't think I would have drank as much as I put down. About 16 ounces at a minimum. Part of my reasoning at first was so I could pour some off to hold for him later. From all evidence that faced me this morning, there wasn't a drop set aside. It also looked like a tornado blew through here as well.

Clothes strewn all over, couch cushions were on the floor. The coffee table was flipped over onto the couch. End tables were on their sides and a table lamp was wounded as well. Boxes that contained summer clothes and paperwork were dumped on the floor.

In the overall scheme of things, that was minor.

I have always considered myself a mostly harmless, fun drunk.. The guy who wore the lampshade type who basically got off on making people laugh at his antics. Looking over some things that were posted online though took on a decidedly sharp and hurtful edge. And as far I can tell, it did get to the point that whatever was coming out of my mind was essentially gibberish.

The chances are that this type of behavior can and may well happen again. The thing is though, if I can say no to that wickedly bad tasting shit, it will be a lot less destructive. Gimme a few beers and a little weed and things go so much better.

Lastly, Don did stop by again tonight. We ate chicken and biscuits and I passed on taking a hit from his bottle. He wasn't too drunk and I was happy to have an excuse to cook and listen to the same stories for the 100th time.

The world and I am a lot happier for that fact.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

If I'm here, then I not there.

There of course being that little freak show in my mind induced by a few hits on a glass pipe.

While some of my thoughts here are dark, that may well be attributed to withdrawals or at times just plain being depressed. My depression, bipolar disorder, or whatever the diagnosis of the day is may be more the circumstantial, environmental, what's happening at the moment type of mood. You know, like crappy weather , the dishwasher broke, the dog shit on the rug or not enough sunlight type of thing.

Besides, I've always been a moody, brooding, introspective sort. It definitely shows in this blog at times. That's one reason I read over older entries on occasion, to gauge where I may have been mentally.

I'm not making little of the clinical type of depression that many suffer. The thing is many of the medications I've been prescribed pose more of a danger to my overall health than taking nothing at all. For all intent and purpose, those prescribed medications have been avoided now for over 3 years and I'm still here.

And posting here or playing there is not done while I am geeking my ass off. Hell, I can't even stand the sound of the fan on this thing when I am ripped. I don't post here drinking or high from cannabis either, but will raise hell on the social sites. I don't think I'm alone in that regard.

Now, one other thing before I go on another rant. I made it 3 days into 2011 without a hit.

Now to rant. While some of this is a rehash, all of it needs to be talked about.

I read a Harm Reduction site that thought it would be a good idea for some sort of consumer advocacy with crack dealers. When I first read that, I did nearly piss myself laughing. There is a part of me though that thinks something along these lines is way overdue. A consumer union for crack smokers. A Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval is a bit of a stretch, but many of us are tired of the game played by those peddlers.

But lately there have been situations that is not all that unusual for these parts anymore.

First let's start with the concept of time. 5 minutes generally means anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour. 10 minutes could be anything from 15 minutes to an hour. To be told twenty minutes is the kiss of death. That generally means a couple of hours to next week sometime.

You can call a dealer up and not get an answer. Most often messages are frowned upon, but there are occasions when you know they are still sleeping at 2 in the afternoon, so you just leave a "give me holler when you wake up" type of message on the voicemail. Even that is sometimes frowned upon.

But sometimes they will call back, regardless if a message is left or not in a few minutes. Then the process of waiting as described above begins. I have also called dealers and was told it would be quite a while before they could get to me. I did have to laugh though when they would call back, sometimes the next day, asking if I was still looking for that package.

A day later, shit. I started dailing more numbers immediately after getting that kind of news.

Quality of product is always an issue. Straight drop, as some term it is nonexistent around here. Cut and soda may make up the greatest percentage of what you're buying. When there is just too much soda and cut in the rock it does need to be recooked. It's a simple process, but many smokers are way too inpatient to take the time. Most anyway. There are a few crack heads who, as part of their particular ritual, will recook the crack.

Recooking may well be the best thing to do, considering some of the stuff used to cut the stuff. The hit is cleaner and usually smaller amounts are required on the pipe for satisfactory results. It also cuts down on the amount of burnt soda that remains on the screen and usually gets inhaled along with the smoke.

I've hacked up black crap from my lungs days after my last hit. Actually, weeks afterward there have been fits of coughing up black mucous while in rehab. Some call it Crack Hack. Since I smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, that is somewhat enhanced.

There are those rare occasions that your regular "trusted" dealer may even sell you something that is not crack at all. Buying off the street from an unknown will more often than not get you gank dope. Getting that from a regular slinger is unusual, but it happens. One occasion had a regular source try to sell me a piece of street salt.

Another friend recently told me of getting drywall from a source usually considered straight up in regards to what they sold. Sometimes accidents happen, as in this case where the dealer did make things right. He was out of his usual product and bought from someone else to make a sale. Then again there are those occasions of it being just a case of being ripped off. The risk of that is substantially increased if the seller has a habit themselves.

It's rare, but it happens.

Most of the sellers know first hand the depths that some crack heads will go to keep the run going. These kids aren't dumb, and they know that if they taste it, they may well find themselves in a similar situation. The consequences for some to use is also life and death.

I heard a story about a dealer in Florida, who when it was discovered that they were shaving their product for their own use came to an unhappy ending. A pipe was filled with an extraordinary amount of crack at a meeting held on the roof of a high building in West Palm Beach. After ingesting that hit, the poor fool was tossed off of that roof. Know what a really big blast can do to one, my hope is they had a heart attack and died before hitting the pavement.

I can't prove the authenticity of this tale, but it came with slight variations from two different people.

The simple fact is for the real peddlers it's Mo Money, Mo Money, Mo Mutha' Fuckin' Money!

So while I expect no help from Consumer Reports or the State Attorney Generals Office on Consumer protection on these matters, it is in it's purest sense a case of caveat emptor.

Buyer beware.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Maybe I am getting too cocky.

Clicking on the title will take you to my posts from 2009.

I just finished reading that stuff and realized that in many respects I've been living, comparatively speaking, in Hog Heaven. My physical well being and creature comforts are much improved since that time. Some people actually talk to me as well.

The thing is that I am starting to get that feeling of being bullet proof and nothing could be further from the truth. I still could be on the street with the slightest misstep. I have allowed some people closer to me and run the risk of alienating them. Or alienating them again.

The thing is that I'm starting to buy my own bullshit.

I have made a comic character of myself and some folks are entertained by some of the crap that jumps from my brain, to fingers to computer screen. Some people are pissed as well, but part of that is my self defense. Then again, fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. There are times though my jokes have had an evil cutting edge. And yes, some virtual blood has been shed.

It is unnerving to have someone meet me for the first time and be referred to as Erie Cracker. Is that really who I want to be identified as beyond that virtual food fight? Sadly, it might be too late now.

But it's time to step back and take a look at things. Time to clear my head and not just from crack. Time to think about who I've been messing with with bad results and who is messing with me. Shit happens when you paint a target on your forehead and I can see a storm's a coming.

It's past time to pop open a can of Act Right on my ass.

While 2011 has been crack free so far, no predictions will be made. It is only January 2nd for chrissakes and the reality is not a rosy as some would like to paint for me. The unrealistic expectations of others has me hitting a pipe as much as today's weather.

So while bullshit has become a form of recreation of sorts, when I start buying into it things usually go wrong.

Very wrong.