Tag Archives: In Plain Sight

Limbo [aka growing up sucks]

You see, Limbo is a synthetic concept. That is, it is man-made.

Though, what concept isn’t man-made?

Not the point, I suppose.

The point? Limbo’s creation (as a word as well as a concept) seems like the product of pure desperation. It seems to have been created by someone that needed so badly to control time.

But, you see, though one may ‘feel in limbo’… in this non-place and non-time where no movement occurs… Time will always truck on… regardless of where one has decided that they are. One may have decided that certain non-action and the consequential non-movement (in the most denial-based naive of cases) places them in limbo.

but the thing is… though, as a psychological construct used to soothe the fear of one’s place in time, limbo works fantastically… this is all it is good for. Limbo cannot exist in other capacities because time and space are always constant in acceleration. And it is as much as what one doesn’t do as much as what one does. Time and space will always win.

You can’t stop it; you can’t control it. And you can’t blame anything on time and/or space. The only thing you can do is make a choice… any fuckin’ choice.

Because by not making a choice, you’ve made your choice. And doing that and ‘choosing’ to be in Limbo is for the coward. Or, more mildly, the timid and fearful.

Yes, now, we sound like Renton from “Trainspotting”. Choose life… or whatever.

This is not that.

No grand political statements here.

I’ve just realized. …this whole thing. This whole:

23rd Street Chronicles: A Year and a Half in Limbo After a Decade Under the Influence“…

…well, it’s been well beyond a year and a half, at this point. And I tell myself that I am still in limbo. Limbo is a word that bounces about my vernacular way too often. And it’s not that I’m not in limbo. And it’s not also that I haven’t changed (drug-wise as well as generally evolutionarily-so)… but I could speed this shit up.

Your author here, is erroneously, trying just a bit to control time.

Stupid bitch.

And I’ve become something that I’ve never been. And reverberating in my head constantly is that quote from that movie, “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent”. And it occurs to me that as more time passes, the more sad it becomes.

Anyway, we are on this sound bite kick, so:

growing up does suck… but as much as one tries to stall, is still unavoidable.

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evolution & the unavoidable nostalgia

The folks at 23rd Street have decided to change things up a bit (for this post, anyway).

You know, mixing up the way the 1 1/2 people who actually read this… we’d like to think, “Best Underground Blog about Drugs by an Author on Drugs”, receive information. We are all media, all the time.

Sometimes.

Yes, words are nice when read… but they may be just as nice when listened to after being stripped from the actual ‘picture’ that they were once attached to, manipulated for optimal quality and placed nicely on a single unread post on a single unread page on the vast interweb that, like a pre-pubescent boy, grows increasingly at an ever increasing and incontrollable rate. The 90 degree palm tree bends backward to a place that… awkward… to a place that is only millimeters from where it is comfortable. But even the slightest of backbends sends the vestibular into chaos. Disoriented and uncomfortable but with the 90 degree angle in it’s sight all the time. Teasing. Or atleast, that’s the, sort of, social experiment going on here… if anybody were to ask. Yes, in addition to media, we, at 23rd Street, are all social experimentation, all the time… and no one is immune. Even you, dear inconsistent reader(s).

Wait… don’t go away…

Please:

It (sound bite) is from “In Plain Sight”. Yeah, I’ve quoted that show more than once before. I must like it, huh? hmmm, nope. I cannot, in good conscience ever say that I like the show. The lead is a completely unlikable, self-righteously sarcastic (unendearingly so), twist-the-knife-mean, unredeemable crack-bitch!!! But then, I cannot, in good conscience ever say that I’m not obsessed with it either. The writing and the premise… And though a certain professor, in what seems to be a completely different time, once said that narration in film [and tv] can be a cop-out… I’ve always had a soft-spot for narration done well. I also had a special place in my heart for said professor (read: huge-ass crush). The important part being, that is what the writers do on this show: kick-ass narration. Also, they had me at “a suitcase full of meth”.

So, there’s that internal struggle voiced in the written word.

Digressive justification aside, grand evolutionary modification is sometimes required on-the-fly… leaving one displaced in a sort of non-religious purgatory or more self-referentially, in limbo. Letting go. And though the sound bite above mentions old friends and things generally external… letting go of a general concept of who you think you are is, evolutionarily-speaking, more traumatic.

Because, then, now what?

Maybe that’s why we [you know, drug addicts] relapse into drug-addicted drug users once again. For those who don’t have an idea, things might be easier… calming, even, if they did have a general idea of who they think they are. …even if it is a crack-ass junkie. …better than not knowing what one may be at all. Definitely better than, suddenly, not being anything. And infinitely better than all the bad things that, overtime have been drilled into their developing brain, that they have, over a lifetime started to believe about themselves. These things that drugs might keep at bay. This is all conjecture, of course, but it makes sense that habitual users of anything would like certainty (in whatever form it may come in). And for this, I defer to wikipedia (I know, I know… but I think it gets a bad rap):

Certainty:

1.  perfect knowledge that has total security from error, or

2.  the mental state of being without doubt

Objectively defined, certainty is total continuity and validity of all foundational inquiry, to the highest degree of precision. Something is certain only if no skepticism can occur.

I adore certainty. I am just lucky that my sense of self didn’t rest entirely on being a junkie. I was always functional. Without meth, there came that fear that I’d no longer be able to communicate at the level that I had attained while high… but there was always something there beside meth. And unlike other drugs, methamphetamine wasn’t recreational for me. I used it as a tool. Like, I didn’t take K (ketamine) so that I could be a better verbal communicator at my job. I took K to get fucked up! Everything… name it, I did it, in spades… but only with the “fucked up” endgame in mind. In the beginning, though, I did try to use coke in the same manner I eventually started to use meth in… but nope! Though both stimulants, I cannot tell you how different these two substances are. But I suppose I’ve written about this before.

Point being, my entire sense of self wasn’t entirely crushed and dissolved when I stopped being a junkie. I was still acutely obsessed with everything drug, of course. But that passes with time, fades a bit into the background. Still there. Always there. But much much more diluted.

Which brings me to Steve-O. That “Jackass” guy that did retarded shit on that retarded show. He writes an article on The Huffington Post: The Dangerous Business of Celebrity Memoir Writing. Apparentally, he has written a memoir called “Professional Idiot”. The article could have just as well been called “The Dangerous Business of Memoir Writing”. Not because I don’t consider him a ‘celebrity’. I mean, the definition of that word has been and continues to be completely sodomized in the worst possible of ways. It could be on “Law & Order: SVU”. I suppose that the title was apropo because it was in the Entertainment section of the Huffington Post or whatever.

All this aside, however, and similar to what Jerry Stahl has written regarding his plunge into writing “Permanent Midnight”; Mr. O writes:

“…recounting my worst behavior with brutal honesty presented some problems. First off, I’ve often found that there is no greater trigger to make me feel like getting loaded again than telling stories about getting loaded. I couldn’t be more grateful about the fact that I haven’t had a drink or touched a drug stronger than Advil in more than three years, but let’s face it — up until drugs and alcohol start ruining your life, they can be a lot of fun. As I recalled the sort of amazing, ridiculous, reckless, insane shit I got up to while I was wasted, I couldn’t help but get nostalgic for those bad old days. Strangely, even retelling stories of me at my lowest made me yearn for exactly the things that put me there in the first place. I guess that’s why I’m an addict.”

This is not an original sentiment, but it is true.

To bring it back around again, one can say that to evolve, one must let go. But as an expert, there is denial or suppression. One can just not think about things. And maybe the way one can tell that one has really evolved is that one has the ability to look back without destroying themselves.

So, there you go. As Eddie Vedder once said, “Its evolution, baby!” That is what we have for you today at 23rd Street.

It's Evolution, Baby!

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the truth in the lie

“There comes a time when every kid peeks behind the curtain and sees she’s not the only one putting on a show. Fathers, mothers, cops and robbers… every member of the PTA, all playing dress-up… all in their masks: The constant Halloween. That first peek behind the curtain… the lifting of the mask, it’s a disorienting moment. The solid ground beneath you slips away to quicksand. Along with all you thought you knew. But you realize, as days and nights go by, that there’s a kind of truth in the lie… that the mask is often more revealing than the face that lies beneath… that because the person that you pretended to be (the mother, the father, the sister, the cop) became, somehow, the person that you are.” -In Plain Sight

It’s not that straight-forward… it’s not as discontinuous as a mask can provide. But it applies. I remember being obsessed with the notion that no one could ever really know any one else. …that no one could ever see all sides of another person and that the lens used to view would always have a neutral density subjective filter placed upon it. In fact, I wrote my first screenplay based on moments witnessed… pieces of the puzzle of who a person may or may not be. Put it together… figure it out. Or not.

I’m sure this isn’t a unique experience by any means, but at that time (and for years following), I felt the invincibility of my person. But more importantly, no obligation to “be something”. It is personal freedom to the highest caliber. Left with no burden to even exist at all. I can’t be sure why I felt so safe sticking needles with stimulants in my veins. But that’s not true, either. I guess that I believed nothing certain about myself except for my invincibility. My ability to, for lack of a better term, stand outside of all experience and observe. Rendering all of my actions, merely actions. Needles and coke and meth and ecstacy and dilaudid… anything, by this definition became things that couldn’t touch me because it was impossible.

And somehow, everyone else was so subjective that everything that they did affected them. They were fully-formed human beings with very strong views on character and people. …fully-formed human beings, unchangeable but affect-able.

And in this manner, as well, I was not a drug addict. I was a person that performed an action. Buying and doing drugs is the same as going to Rite Aid for eyeliner and walking across 23rd Street to work. Even, level… the same.

This is why I hold this time in such high regard. I created a way in which I could do anything. And I did. The error in this manner of thinking is that one is not invincible. And though it makes it completely possible to do everything and chalk it up to an “action”; though there may be no burden to exist or be something, every action will and does affect the person that you are. As under-developed it is or as much as one has created a mechanism wherein they can deny the existence of it at all. Everything affects one… you… something, because, like the rest of the human race, you are a person.

I didn’t think of myself a drug addict for a very long time. And then, I secretly (or not) reveled in the idea that I might be one. And then, I held onto the definition for dear life as one of the most important components of who I, as a person, am. Basically, I accepted a certain version of day-to-day reality. Age, evolution and the fact that to “be something” is now an obligation. And though it took that “decade under the influence” and longer, even… it feels more like a swift, half pirouette. Where my head has snapped, more quickly than the eye could detect, to a position exactly opposite of where it was half a second ago.

And though I’ve always been able to hide it well… I felt that I was internally, somehow (and inconsistent with everything I’ve said here) inherently, a drug user. Furthermore, I was a person… subject to all the personal consequences of action and experience.

And there you go.

Now what?

This is the grey zone. Because I was always a functional this or that and because I didn’t technically make a statement to the effect of “I’m not doing drugs anymore”… because I’m not in recovery… because I still drink; I felt things hadn’t changed enough. Fuck, who even knew that I was a heavy drug user to begin with to know that I stopped using drugs at all?

Furthermore, I didn’t make this decision.

In a way, you could say that my actions made the decision and I carried-out my actions. But, it’s not that simple. Even a month or so prior to this time, if my dealer had up-and-disappeared (as was the case), I would have gone scouring Los Angeles for meth. And I would have found some. I had, I believe 5 separate meth dealers as detailed in The Bus Ramblings… in Los Angeles in roughly 2 years. Only Frank in NY (and he wasn’t just meth… and that spanned atleast double the aforementioned time). But this time, in LA, I was just over it, somehow. But also, I can probably also attribute maybe 75% of the “just over it” to the quality of crap-ass meth that I was getting.

None of this matters, of course. And though I finally felt a pathetic-ness of being a drug addict, there was a HUGE-ass part of me that reveled in drug culture, drug experience, drug everything. I was just now aware of just how much I couldn’t talk about it. And without the drugs to make me forget about this whole thing, felt exceedingly stifled. And not only this… but because I had krazy-glued this notion of myself as a drug person into my fiber… I felt like a fraud; a liar. …and a bit digressively, empty.*

*to be addressed in a future post.

But this is where the quote comes in, one might see themselves as a definitive thing and thereby fraudulent by acting in seemingly unnatural ways… I suppose this would be the mask they speak of, but:

“…you realize, as days and nights go by, that there’s a kind of truth in the lie… that the mask is often more revealing than the face that lies beneath… that because the person that you pretended to be… became, somehow, the person that you are.”

It feels unbelievable… incorrect, even. But time… small increments of moments and then; the whole thing… I mean, if you stick around long enough… it sounds retarded, I know, but it starts to feel possible. …And sometimes, when one takes stock… if one’s privy to that sort of thing, one realizes that, in one’s own continuous manner, it’s been happening the whole time, maybe? Slowly; molasses-ass slowly, but happening none-the-less. I don’t fuckin’ know. I just know that I’m different now than when I started this whole thing (when I thought that I’d never really be able to do the adult thing; do the responsible-thing… I’m a great actor. I could pretend tremedously, but would also only ever be excited by what I really am: a drug addict)… I just know that it is possible to change while still remaining the same… if that makes any sense to anyone. And I do believe all of this rests on time… the passage of time.

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The Evolution of the Pill-Popper

 

I can see you totally being a pill-popper in the future.

…really?!

This is T and me in Chelsea. My crackshack. Circa 2001 or 2-ish?

I don’t know what we are doing… I don’t believe that there is a needle in my arm. It’s before that… well, before and after, I suppose. If we are in the crackshack, it means that I’ve already stuck a needle in my arm… in my life, I mean… previously.

But as chronology goes, I spiked by myself for the first time in my place on 25th and 1st, not Chelsea… which lasted all of, maybe a month and a half… maybe less. My cute little training-wheeled dance with the devil. I stopped everything. For a bit. Moved into the Chelsea crackshack. Then found myself back in Washington Heights… this time sans spike to procure coke. [but this is another story].

So, it was around this time. Despite the needle, still pretty novice. And certainly broke. Intermittent coke… here and there. We could have been doing anything. Whatever we may have been doing, apparently T is very confident that I will, one day,  join the ranks of the pill-poppers.

I take this as an insult, somehow. I’m much more interesting and artistic and sophisticated… well, maybe not more sophisticated, but, evolutionarily moreso than a pill-popper.

This string of thought made sense at the time. You know, I was a psychonaut. And youth trumped age in the image of the pill popper.

Though the image of the UES or UWS, high-society, adult pill-popper was truly a lovely future image… what, with the martini in hand at noon and the largest pharmacopeia one could ever wish for, it was really something, indeed, to strive for.

This being said, however, there was something about this statement that felt off.

I was never really a ‘pill-person’. Statistically-speaking, given a cross section of drug users, I would fall under the non-pill-person category.*

*pills with minimal to no binders, ie Dilaudid, that could be crushed, dissolved and sucked into a barrel and unleashed into my veins to cross the blood/brain barrier excluded.

Now, that being said, at that time… the specifics weren’t so specific. We really weren’t at liberty to choose the type of drug-person that we were. I mean, I’m pretty sure we theorized [dreamed] our preferences in all their fantastical glory in a world where everything was obtainable.

Coming down now… we were more than ecstatic with anything resembling anything that came our way… especially in the early days. Still, as with everything else, I was relatively selective about everything I ingested… though to balance this, I was up for experiencing everything that I’ve never experienced at least once… still am.

So Now:

  • T is partially correct. I do have a small but veritable pharmacopeia at my disposal. Pills. …that I take. …for reasons that span from recreation to post-recreational illegal drug use pseudo-necessity.This could be described in some circles as pill-popping. Not the fantasy image we all dreamed about in our youth-youth. But, I have pills… I “pop” them. And, for around, just under two years, these and alcohol are the only ‘drugs’ I’ve injested… give or take a week in Raph’s Ballfield** or so…. rendering T correct in this sort of superficial vein… capillary, even.

**my own pet name for methamphetamine in non-pill form. More specifically, California meth… good enough to be insufflated, cut enough that it really does not go well with the needle. For more info, watch a few episodes of the first season of USA’s “In Plain Sight” [enough to understand the thread of the A-line story that runs through until the season finale]. Or watch the entire season sequentially, whatever. …this is sooo not a plug, seriously.

  • As much as I may be a pill-popper or not, with the current epidemic of over-prescribing quick-fixes “we have a pill for all that ails thee!”, the lovely aforementioned pill-popper of yester-year somehow ceases to exist. Well, I mean, I’m sure that they still exist [I’ll take you bathroom-cabinet-spelunking on the UES one day]…. but psychiatry and society’s need to categorize… take symptoms and create syndromes, semantic disorders, then diagnose because [“now that I’ve created this disorder that doesn’t really exist… we know what’s wrong!”] then treat, has rendered everyone a pill-popper. Muddying the waters of the true, aristocratic pill-popper and crushing many a dream.

The conclusion: yes, T is correct in a certain light. But the world of the pill has evolved to a place where… a shift has occured and the definition of a pill-popper has shifted along with it. T can’t be right…. isn’t right. Not yet anyway. My pill usage right now falls within this shift and my recognition and exploitation of the current situation.

The true, aristocratic pill-popper still exists out there. And yeah, maybe one day, as T said, I “will totally be a pill-popper”. And, then, hats off, T will be right… but don’t count on it. 😛

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