My experience with cocaine was disappointing. Though there are greater implications than just the high.
My friend N invited me to an outing – curiously, I barely know him, though we reliably kick it whenever I’m in town, which is infrequently. Of all the odd relationships I have with people, this one is particularly unusual. We live very unlike lives and have unlike values. However, there is an irrational fondness as the driving force behind our friendship. On this occasion, I learned he had begun to sell coke.
I’ve tried cocaine before and it was somewhat fun, though stupidly expensive. If you’re looking for a rush, speed punches harder, lasts longer, is more available, and cheaper. But it’s less romantic. Make no mistake, I am not advocating for substance experimentation; I have no moral framework guiding this account, and am reflecting on the process because I believe it’s unusual for someone in my position to have this experience: I barely know the dude, no one in his social network, and the standard lifestyle among them is very far removed from the lifestyle I live.
So I show up after the core group has dissipated, around 2:00 am. But there came a new wave of people, gradually, as a second “course” took over the night. Everyone was boozing pretty tough, though I stayed dry through the evening. N’s phone became notably active at this time, many a conversation presumably going as thus (I only heard half).
Caller: “What are you doing tonight?”
N: “Drugs, man. Come over.”
So the folks en route came for coke. Turns out N was actually at work through the format of partying. The group was held together by him and his power to provide you with a $5 line, and he was very good at facilitating. I like the dude for his charisma, although he rolls with a much harder crowd than me, and so necessarily has an edgier front in said company. But when not in line for a line, you’re on your own to mingle and roam. Partying is a social event, right?
Anyrate, it’s 2:00 am as the ball gets rolling (a curiously appropriate drug euphemism.)
Some pleasantries. “Would you like to do some cocaine?”
So I did.
No real euphoria, and no mania, unlike everyone else. I felt calm, alert, tranquil, and reserved. Everyone else, on the other hand, became radically altered. Aggressive. Tweaky. Quite frankly, stupider. Even me: I tried to write about the event when I got home and had a jumble of garbage to review in the morning.
It also seemed to incite rap battling. I mean, people do this. I know people do this, but here I was. And I was impressed.
I effectively managed to blend in. In the beginning, I had no idea what these people were doing to socialize, and I stayed so long in part because I was trying to figure out how they managed to appear engaged while not actually saying or doing anything. If I were to watch any one person for a time, I came to realize they were all functionally doing the same thing as me. This is why my technique was fitting in. Being aloof in a normal social setting is uncomfortable, but here it was necessary.
A rap-off is a monologue. Taking a line is a transaction. A greeting follows a script of social cues. Making a drink justifies your presence in the room. Going out for a smoke gives you purpose to leave and return. In none of this is there the substance of interpersonal relating. But here, no one was the wiser.
What I have taken away from this experience: How often in day-to-day interaction do we suffer through this same oppressive act, settling for the facade that there’s humanity all around us? All the while we try and forget that it is all an illusion, and we are locked in a cage of maddening solitude. A great thirst awash at sea.
Here we were with all the coke and liquor to keep our hands busy and our minds numb. As thus do we refrain from going insane.
N kept insisting I was his best friend through the night. Coke talk, though it was, he was probably right.