It happened when I went back to university, the second time. I used to be pretty healthy in those days; no meat, no dairy, no alcohol to speak of, no coffee, no processed foods. I needed an easy lunch to take to school so a friend who could read Chinese hooked me up with some noodle soups in China Town (Montreal) that were vegetarian, no MSG.
In those days we had one of those water boilers which are always hot – as long as you keep them full of water. Makes it really easy; crunch the noodles in the bag and pour them into a bowl, add the flavour packets, pump-pump on the water thing, let it sit for a bit till the noodles are soft and enjoy.
It wasn’t long before I was having the soup as soon as I got to school. And then I started to have it at home before I even left in the morning. Earlier and earlier. I started eating the soup before the noodles were even soft.
One dark morning, barely awake I grabbed my noodles, crunched them into a bowl, added the flavour and pump-pumped on the water – Empty! Someone hadn’t refilled the tower! With a howl of rage I stormed downstairs to the neighbours who also had a water tower and banged on their door till Krikor opened it. I pushed past him, barged into his kitchen, pump-pumped on the water and started scarfing the crunchy stuff right there and then, breathing hard, glaring at the world, while the little me that watches me realized: something isn’t right here.
I went up stairs and threw out the rest of the soup.
The next day I went back to China Town to get more. I couldn’t tell which one it was. I bought a few. It wasn’t the same. I couldn’t find my soup! For about a year, I’d get whiffs of it now and then and a little “gimme some!” urge.
Since then, I am careful not to have coffee seven days a week. Careful not to do anything too repetitively. I got lucky with the noodle soup and Krikor was presumably too sleepy to be offended with my behaviour.
What I have learned this week is that Crack is the most addictive of the street drugs: you only need to try it once. Then your body wants more, and more. The recovery rate from Crack is apparently almost zero. Eventually people’s behaviour drives away all of their friends and family. To say the least.
I didn’t know that. How would your average teenager know that? YOU ONLY HAVE TO TRY IT ONCE TO BECOME ADDICTED.
Makes me want to join the vice squad (do we have a vice squad or is that only on TV?) and bust the people who are profiting off the destruction of people’s lives. Like the Shaggy Guy who pimps Snowsuit Lady.
They found me one night. Alone in the cafe I witnessed their moment of discovery as I looked out the window to see them, surprised, looking in and pointing. I called 911 that time, not the other number. As the police car arrived Shaggy strolled by the window looking in, then disappeared. It’s always her who takes the risks.
I waffle between “Bring it On, tough guy!” and “Where’s my dog when I need her?!”
“Do you want me to stay on the phone till the police arrive?” asks the 911 lady.
“Yeeesss.” I say, clearly not in Bring-It-On mode.
Up and down the street the neighbours and business owners are standing together to make it clear that this is a community that cares, not one that will turn a blind eye. We are all aware that the best case scenario means they will probably just find a new neighbourhood.
Is somebody somewhere working on a big-picture solution to this?