Introducing The Scholar to Crack
I was a 23 year old resident of Manhattan at the end of the 20th century. About halfway through my second year of teaching middle school & second year of grad school I met these people at a bar with a would-be boyfriend who was totally trying to ditch me and my neediness. They were unlike anyone I had met before in my school bound life. They smoked. And not just cigarettes. Something out of a glass tube that crackles when the lighter’s flame touched it. I had never held a lighter, never seen a drug before. I wouldn’t have been able to pick an illegal substance out of a line up. If I hooked up with these people I could have a grand adventure. School was out for the Christmas holiday–in those days you could say Christmas without being called culturally incompetent. When it was time to go back to school I would stop seeing these people and certainly stop…drugs. Dare I say it? And what was this drug I asked the guy who identified himself as a “promoter” but he never seemed to work. The girl answered for Johnny. The girl was going to be my first same sex experience and I guess she was. But I only held her attention long enough for some deep kisses. After that she was back to the tube, or “pipe.” Laura told me, this is freebasing cocaine.” She was so matter fact I hid my shocked response. Of course freebasing cocaine wasn’t crack, they reassured me and I believed them bc they were white and lived in midtown, not Harlem. Also they were my age and somehow that mattered. Well, alright as long as it wasn’t crack and it was their treat. This was huge! A glimpse into a whole new world. So what if the boyfriend didn’t work out and the potential girlfriend lost interest and I had spent another Christmas without family? If a behavior was extreme enough i could lose myself in the adventure of being “all caught up in it.” Do I need to tell you what you could see coming from a mile away? To be clear I will lay out the truth. Of course it was crack. Naturally they targeted me bc I had a job and would end up paying all the time. And you know it, the glimpse became a permanent way of life. From then on everything that happened in my life was drug related bc if I wasn’t using I was actively abstaining. From then til today, over 20 years later, drugs are a part of me. I’ve got to watch those glimpses I take!