October 05, 2010

The Wait

By Paul McGuire © 2010

Waiting. My least favorite thing to do in the world, yet, I always get stuck in the longest lines no matter where I go. Grocery stores, 7/11, the drive-thru at In-N-Out...it doesn't matter. I always get delayed.

The bank? Always horrendous. My appearance at the end of the line guarantees that everyone in front of me will engage in complex transactions that takes a dozen signatures from eight different bank officials.

Airport security lines? I always get stuck behind the old Jewish lady from Florida who has never flown in her life before, at least, that's the impression she gives off as she walks through the metal detectors with a shitload of jewelry dangling from her wrinkled wrists and sun-scorched leathery neck, yet, she insists on not taking off any of her jewelery which is the primary reason the detector goes off.

Blake is one of those selfish friends without any concept of time who constantly takes advantage of your patience. She's always late. Always. It should not surprise me, because I'm always waiting for something. However, in the last few weeks, her tardiness has been pissing me off. "I'll be over in ten minutes..." is Blake's code for "I'll be over anytime between an hour to ten hours from now."

When I lived on the East Coast, people had their shit together and respected your time. If someone was running late, they usually had enough to sense to give you a warning call and apology. Out in LA? Everyone is late. If it's not the mind-numbing traffic, it's out of sheer laziness. Blake should know better because she's from the Boston area. However, living on the breezy West Coast for less than 24 months magnified her flakiness. She was always a space cadet in college, but the California sun warped her brain even more so. Although no longer a toker, you would have thunk she was the biggest stoner in the world because she was forgetting everything and always gave you a blank stare. It took her three seconds to respond -- to anything. She had a perpetual time delay which always complicated any important conversations. Surprisingly, she was not a pothead because her brain was marinated in so many other substances that weed did not affect her in the same way it does with you and me.

Blake ingested a plethora of daily medications and her weekly pharmacy bills were in the hundreds of dollar -- even with insurance. Her wealthy father, a prominent Boston attorney, picked up the tab and paid for all of the doctors. I have no idea if her different shrinks had any idea that they were all prescribing her different medications. Maybe they did and didn't care? She said that she was going to two different shrinks in the Valley, not to mention her decade-long strict Freudian shrink back in Waltham.

Blake's live-in boyfriend had a bad back and she had access to jars of Percosetts. She swiped a handful of Percs every time she visited me. The only reason we hung out these days was to solely trade drugs. She was looking to get up, while I was always looking to sink down and down and down.

I had access to Adderall and Ritalin thanks to a friend of mine at the radio station who gave me whatever I needed at cost. Addys and Rits were Blake's favorite poison, so I always kept a stockpile. She was so weighed down by the downers -- anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety meds, and anti-depressants -- that she was constantly fighting against the heaviness of what her shrinks prescribed her. She combated her sleepiness with sugar-free Red Bull, 5-Hour energy shots, and triple Espressos from Coffee Bean -- which only proved to be a costly way to stay awake. That's when she turned to me for help We usually swapped two Percs for every Adderral and three percs for every Ritalin. I could have done an easy swap, but Blake was clueless when it came to street prices on pharmaceuticals.

When Blake moved to Studio City, she drove into the city about once a month to swap pills. As her addiction grew deeper and deeper, the frequency of her drop ins increased steadily. For a while it was every other week, then once every ten days, then once a week -- where it had stay for around six months. But sometime around St. Patrick's Day, her habit worsened. She came over twice a week like clockwork on Mondays and Thursdays. By the end of the Spring, she had gotten really bad and bugged me all the time. When she fleeced her boyfriend's entire stash of Percs, she begged to pay me in cash instead of trade. That really bothered me because I didn't give a shit about money. I'm not a drug dealer and I wasn't dealing drugs to supplement my income. I was bartering with other pillpoppers in order to secure the buzz I was seeking. Once it became apparent that Blake wasn't living up to her end of the trade, I saw no point in bending over backwards to help enable her morbid addiction to Adderall and Ritalin.

Blake got hooked hard and her fiendish behavior freaked me out. I tried to cut her off but she flipped out. She begged me. She offered up cash and even made a pass at me, suggesting oral favors for free Addys. I wanted neither. It was very sad and pathetic. All I wanted were painkillers and not a lazy handjob. She stormed off in tears. Three days later, she showed up with two bottles of Vicodin. She convinced a doctor to give her script for painkillers, which she happily gave me in exchange for her fix.

Blake was too much to handle when she was jonesin'. She called at the worst hours and sent a barrage of text messages, even though she knew that we had a scheduled meeting the next night. And even after we finally completed a swap, she'd call within an hour or two and the cycle repeats itself as I'm bombarded with "When can I come over?" texts.

Blake crushes up pills and snorts them for a faster effect. She quickly transformed into an old fashioned speed freak, except the Adderall is like eating speed without any harsh side effects. You don't crash as hard as traditional speed, sort of like landing a plane on a huge football field of marshmallows. She gets extra chatty when she rips lines of Ritalin, which gives off a cocaine-like euphoric effect, except that it lasts much longer than blow. It provides a quick blastoff but you don't crash 15-20 minutes later then act like a total fiend until you get another line. Ritalin jacks you up for a few hours and you get a sustained coke-like effect which is great for party situations. I usually eat a couple when I have to be extra-social at an industry party -- it saves me trips to the bathroom every twenty minutes to rip more rails and with pills, I don't shit my brains out because the cholos cut the blow with baby laxatives.

Blake was the slowest junkie on the planet. You'd figure she'd be rushing over to get her shit, but she took forever to get out the door. I'd get twenty calls begging to come over, but after I agree, I wait up to half a day for her to arrive. If I go out to the store or something and I'm not home when she finally arrives, then she flips out. Last week, I caught her trying to break into my apartment when I got sick of waiting and drove to In-N-Out Burger to grab something to eat.

You couldn't win with Blake. She was the addict and an insane junkie, yet I seemed to be the one who was the slave to her addiction. That had to stop. I was prepared to finally cut her off. But in typical Blake fashion, she was late to her own intervention.

Paul McGuire is the author of Lost Vegas.

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