The other night I went to a punk house and chatted up a local Rock Star. I count him among my friends, but I have always considered this a bit a of a risk with larger than life people. I trust him, but as an unpopular person dealing with a very popular person, I feel it necessary to take into account that I may constitute a smaller portion of this person's universe than they do of mine.

Insecure? You bet!

We talked about psychological things. We talked about the bible. We talked about the hideous leather jacket of mine that he accidentally destroyed. Then I noticed something odd. My friend was slumped in his chair with his eyes closed. I said it seemed like he was about done for the evening. He said no, he was fine, (his face sliding off his skull) he'd just had some morphine and some Xanax on top of the beer in his hand, he was a little high but it was okay. This must be some new definition of "fine" I wasn't previously aware of.

I wondered about it, and I asked him, I said I don't care, I just want to know, why do you do all these drugs? He said

"Drugs are an escape,"

and I've heard that before. He said something else which I don't remember vividly because I was a bit drunk by then. What I remember is that he sort of implied that it was too hard, too much work to be in his own skin sober much of the time. I might be misremembering, 'cause I was wasted, but if that's what he said I can relate to it, because lately I've had the feeling that I've swallowed the ocean. If anyone tries to disturb me or if I try to move, all this salt water and little boats and various unholy-looking crustaceans waiting on my togue will explode, rushing out of me and drown/crush/pinch everyone around me. The terrific, life-giving destructive entity that is water. I'm helpless and out of control, but I haven't done anything about it. I'd rather just sit here stagnating for a while. It's called depression. I know this.

But now I think, maybe if I had a taste for narcotics I'd have a job right now. Maybe if I could stand to be furthur out of my skull than alcohol can take me I'd be functioning on some level. The hot/cold, good/bad pendulum swing that lets you hide from how ugly everything is inside, because you're too busy keeping body and soul together. As it is though, I'm at my last $100, my parents have cut me off, I'm in a very busy small town with a non-existant job market and I don't care. Most of the time I'm not even worried about what my roommates will say when I tell them I can't afford to pay the gas bill. I mean it's terrifying at the same time. I can't stand people like me, I need a job, I'm going back to school in two months and I have to have money and the whole thing is just awful and it has me really worried. Still. I want to be very clear, because it helps me remember, that I'm doing this to myself. I hate it, I can't stop, but I'm aware of it as my own doing.

Once I told my friend that when they bury people in lead coffins they have to have this valve on the coffin, in case they don't seal it right. Ideally a lead coffin prevents decay altogether, I said, but if they do it wrong, the body they've put in there starts to decompose in this air-tight environment. The problem there is that the corpse produces all these poisonous gasses as a result of the process of decay. If the pressure isn't released, then the coffin can explode, sending shreds of lead and putrified human remains everywhere. So there's this valve, and they open the valve periodically and put a lighter or a blowtorch to it to relieve the pressure and burn the poisonous gas. I said that's how it is sometimes, that some people have all this existential rage with them where ever they go and what ever they do and some of their lives will always be busy burning that shit off. That's what I'm doing in my tiny room having this very stagnant depressing time, is burning shit off. I have to do that, and it's just going to get in the way.

That's how it needs to be. I've chosen to pay attention to the pain I'm experiencing now, I don't know why it's happening now but I can listen and I will. There's self destruction and self destruction. Is paying attention to my emotions as they come up better or worse than being almost completely immobilized by narcotics? Is financial ruin better or worse than massive liver damage? I won't make that judgement call. Honestly, I can't get into the skin of a rock star, the only person's choices I can evaluate are my own. Some people would say my friend is being stupid, but plenty of others would say that I'm being morbid and self-absorbed. Everyone can be right if they want to, I don't care, but I have to ask myself these questions because of all this attention I'm paying to everything.

I've always felt that drugs are pretty much benign, that it's people who use drugs who fuck it up. There are things like heroin and crack that sketch me out a lot and make me want to slap the people who mess with them. For the most part though, with everything else it seems to me if someone ruins their life on them it's only indicative of the fact that they can't take a lot of drugs. Tough but fair.

I say this because I have had extensive conversations with people who've told me what wonders drugs, both legal and illegal, have done for them. I am skeptical, but I have decided because of all the different stories I have been told that the only thing I can be sure of is that drugs aren't for me. And at that point, how confusing to be confronted with a model in which they would help me, by preventing me from experiencing all this saved-up pain I'm burning away and thus enabling me to get a friggin' job and do all the normal things and not feel like a bum noding all day in a cafe where I can drink free coke.

When I'm in a situation where all of my assumptions about "X" are challenged or completely over thrown, I absolutely relish it, because I can feel myself and my perceptions and my understanding of other people growing and stretching like muscle tissue. On the other hand, it also makes my metaphorical ass metaphorically pretty sore.