Conversations with Meth Heads
I met a friendly young woman today while waiting for the #4 bus at the corner of Gore and Pender. Standing there, music blasting in my ears, I could barely make out the voice of a girl behind me yelling "HELLO!", but once I realised what was going on, I tugged the buds out of my ears and put on my cordial face: "Hello".
"Those are some really trippy glasses" she said, moving in a little closer than I'd like.
I smiled, "Thanks, my Dad made them for me. He owns an optical store up in Kelowna."
"Really?" she gasped, "I grew up in Kelowna! Had a nice job there too, worked in the bush." She then went on to list the names of a number of suburbs, none of which I recognised and I just stared blankly back at her.
"Sorry," I said, "I just go up there every couple of months to see the parents. The town is too white bread for me to want to get to know it in such detail".
"That's funny! I grew up there and ate rye" she laughed. It took me a minute to get it, but while the smile was delayed, it seemed to be appreciated.
"It's welfare day!" she bubbled again. "But you're not on welfare are you?"
"No," I motioned behind her, "I work just over there."
"Really? What do you do?"
"I'm a software developer."
Now she was the one with the blank stare.
"I write code for websites" I said, making a typing motion with my fingers. "It's not that hard, anyone can do it. You should try."
She smiled uncomfortably, and went on to talk about how she wanted a laptop. We talked about my job a bit more, how easy it was to get wireless in this city etc. She seemed interested, and I was just waiting for the bus, so I just kept talking. At one point though she interjected:
"I do crystal meth!" She pointed to the building behind her. Apparently her friends were upstairs securing her some in celebration of her new found Wednesday wealth.
I grimaced, "Ew, that stuff'll kill you you know".
"Yeah, but just a little bit" her tone was no different from one anyone else might take when chatting about the weather.
"Well, I don't know, I kinda like my life" I said and she smiled, shrugged it off. Just then, a voice comes from the door and her friend hands over a little bag. She bounces over, picks up a little bag and returns to me: "Wanna see it?"
I agree, and she extends her hands toward me, but not letting go of the clear plastic. The crystals are a translucent yellow, As if someone had crystallised urine and sugar into 3mm cubes. "Humph, how much was that?" I ask.
"Twenty bucks" she smiles at me again. I search my head for a suggestion for something else she might have spent that money on, but my mind blanks and she turns to leave. "Goodbye stranger!" she squeals and she teeters down the street. She's in a great mood, and my bus is minutes away.