The room buzzes with tired voices, discussing excitedly events of little importance: last nights game, the most recent reality show, that what’s-his-name is dating so-and-so. This is what passes for current events in our world. I forgot my “medicine” today...that word, so inappropriate; yet oddly fitting, used as if by an alcoholic describing cheap vodka. Thoughts lose focus so easily in the absence of that chemical lens. My ears are shielded by cheap headphones as I stare with false attention at a copy of Consciousness Explained, my thumbs and fingers taking much more interest in the crisp pages than my mind does in their contents. Around me, recently awoken bodies point absent-mindedly at a falsely enthused instructor, going over the finer points of Oedipus. It is of no concern to me; the story is known, and the tests will be simple.
If the gods say you’re going to kill your father and fuck your mother, you’d best believe them
Removal of one’s eyes is optional.
I lie as if my muscles had been spontaneously relaxed by some external action; slumped over my desk, my arm extended, my head resting on the inverse of my elbow. A youth impersonating a liquid.
I am not the trouble now that I was in my younger days. I don’t fight, I don’t swear, I don’t throw things at teachers. I might not do busy work, but at least I keep quiet. Whether or not The Drug deserves any credit for these improvements is debatable. I like to think, at least on some basic level, that mostly I’ve just grown up. But the evidence is hard to argue. Suspended from school at least once every year from grade 3 to grade 10; on The Drug in grade 10; no incidents since. Marks have improved slightly, but that’s secondary. One thing at a time. Baby steps, Baby steps.
“You’d be my top student if you’d only apply yourself!” admonishment as the only constant.
Exceptional standardized-testing scores. 99th percentile. Another misunderstood youth.
Fuck you. I’ve met real smart people. I can’t even pretend to be comparable. The last thing I need is false sympathy. It’s a lovely gesture I suppose, but inappropriate all the same. This is not an issue of “I could do it if I really wanted to.” How can you explain something no one else feels? You’re just lazy, you’re just looking for an excuse, a cop-out. Another punk kid.
Let me try to explain. I have tried hard, very hard, to do what is expected of me. It is not that I am desperately looking for attention. It is not that I lack the ambition, the motivation, the desire to succeed. Rather, I am physically unable to put pen to paper. Consider it a writing block on a universal scale. It is not procrastination, finding alternative pursuits to consume one’s time. It is sitting in a chair in front of a computer seeing into how many individual pieces you can rip a sheet of paper. It is spending hours staring at clocks, at walls, at your shoes. It is the complete inability to move. I never liked the idea of The Drug. Whether I were to succeed or fail, I was to do it with those abilities and skills and issues that I was given. But after a while, I was...pleaded to start a trial, convinced from the start of it’s inevitable failure. But The Drug changed something; it cut a hole in a wall that had stood for ages. I could get up, and go to school, and be alert and friendly and quiet and attentive. This was good. This was me.
Until I forgot the pill. Amphetamines are addictive, and when if you miss a morning, your day is fucked. That is not the only concern. I take one pill in the morning, and it will wear off by five or so in the evening. I drive home, jazz mixing with dreams in my head, plans made for how I’ll spend my evening. Working on mixing a track, or creating some beats in FruityLoops, or working on a project in Illustrator. I get home, I fix myself a snack, and I go to my room and collapse. Maybe read a bit, maybe play a bit of Starcraft, or maybe I’ll just lie on my bed and wait for sleep.
This is my choice. I get by.
And I still love the pill.