Thursday, December 27, 2012

Drug User: Do I really fit the stereotype?

     I bet the real illegal-drug users would say, "no" if they see me.

     I admit, I'm an addict.  An addict to cigarettes and an addict to coffee.  I know these and I'm not ashamed.  But one thing I know well is that I have never been, nor do I intend to be, an illegal-drug user.  The truth is, I hate drugs and that includes marijuana.  No matter the argument, it is still currently illegal.  No matter how many statistics or intellectual debates are shoved down my throat, it is still illegal.  Therefore; I hate it.  I hate it so much that anyone I know who's involved with such things, I'd definitely ditch them.  They make me really angry.

     But why such anger?

     I don't know when it started.  But I suppose it was when I finally got hooked on cigarettes.  I was in highschool at about 12 or 13 years of age.  With 24 hour stores a kilometer away from our house, running short of Philip Morris is easily fixed.  Problem is, I usually run out of them at midnight.  So I walk to the store and back again, all just to get some cigarettes.  Of course, people only see that I go out at night.  They don't see what I do it for.  They just presume.

     I was also a wild and a bit shameless (in some ways) kid.  I always wanted attention especially from any people I happen to like.  Sometimes I shout their name just to get noticed.  Somewhere in the middle of highschool... I think... I ended up having some intimate moments with this person.

"That afternoon, when you called my name and you were high..."
"Excuse me?  Did you say I was high?"
"You don't have to deny it to me.  Not to me.  It's fine.  It's just that I was embarrassed when you did that.  You don't have to hide it from me.  Just don't go too obvious about us."

     I was silent.  I kept my mouth shut 'cause I know no matter how much I'd argue, the perception is still the same: that I was "obviously" high and it's undeniable.  I broke it off the day after that.

     Even beforehand, some people (that I know) come to ask if I'm using drugs.  That's in different ways.  Whether intimidating, concerning, apprehensive, I think all the tactics in whatever "intervention" book there is.  It got too old that I got tired of defending myself.  I see that no matter how much I protest, they still see me as a drug user.  Probably the way I act, the way that I stay late at night (I was a teenager.  What do you expect?), and the people I hang out with.

     My mom finally found out I was smoking.  But I think she just gave up on me. Whether that or not, I was at the rebellious age.  I wouldn't care if she forbids me to smoke or not.  I will still do it if I want to.  But of course, I was still a student.  So that long stick of Philip Morris, I smoke the hell out of it until it burns the butt. That's when I stop; when it finally stinks and taste bad.  And with such a different odor, my mom kept yelling why it doesn't smell like the typical smell of a lit cigarette.  I think that's when it escalated.

     I'm sure that's when it escalated.  My mom admittedly asked around and told her friends (and strangers) about "that smell."  And perhaps she even stirred up the notion that I was smoking something worse.  How did I know this?  She told me herself.  According to mom, her friends told her to smell my smoke.  If its marijuana, it's supposed to be fragrant, instead of the aggressive smell of tobacco.  With a great feeling of disappointment, I just thought, "Wow, mom.  You really think I smoke pot?"

     It didn't stop there.  One of my uncles (mom's cousin) who happen to be fond of me, visited us for a couple of days.  I was in charge of entertaining him.  My uncle and I were talking a walk one day when he suddenly asked:
"So what was the name of that guy you knew before?"
"Huh?  What guy?"
"What was his name again?  Pabby"  The guy who got you hooked on drugs?"
Pabby was an old man of my past.  We both have a story but it's not something that I owed to tell whomever.  But since there's something my uncle and I have in common, I know he'd understand why I hanged out with Pabby.  And it's got nothing to do with drugs!

     Later on, I confronted my mom about this.  My complaint was about her telling people that I use/used/have been drugged.  But I think I never told her what Pabby really was to me.  She was silent.  I thought I had it straightened out.

     Some months or years later, my mom somehow blurted out that I was in fact, under local surveillance.  There's no proof, so I was never arrested.  But the whole town "knows" that I am either a drug dealer, or a drug user.  And they're keeping an eye on me.  At least, that's what she said.  She also claims that some town officials asked her about my behaviour.  If I was smoking pot or doing drugs.

     Now that really pissed me off.  Knowing my mom (and I know her well... looooong story), I might as well be free to assume that she instigated this suspicion herself again.  Knowing her, I bet she went out in public, doing what she do best: play the pitiful mother who just wants what's best for her kid.

     I was frustrated.  But the only thing I could do is give her a piece of my mind.
"Go ahead.  Let them stay the night on surveillance.  Let them waste their time on me.  I bet they're even paid doing this.  So let them waste their money, starve and stay cold at night, just to watch my every move.  I wonder how stupid they feel about themselves once they realize they got nothing on me.  I know myself, mom. I know I don't use drugs.  And if they only have the guts to ask me straight, I'll tell them to have me tested, right then and there.  But they have to pay for all the expenses.  I'm confident because I know I'm clean.  Are you going to pay for my drug test, mom?  I guess not.  The one thing that would save them is if they set me up.  If that happens, then boy, they really hate me that much.  Meanwhile, mom, I'm just laughing inside.  Because I find it funny how stupid these people are, who keep insisting that I use drugs.  I just don't."

     I don't know if anything significant happened after that.  I just didn't care anymore.  I still go out late nights to buy cigarettes.  I still hang out with my new friends (at that time, I stopped seeing friends who are involved with any illegal drugs), and go to clubs and come home wasted.  I just didn't care.  I'm sure there were still some events regarding "people's suspicion" of me smoking pot.  Like this one time when we were walking one of our friends home, and some group of police people stopped us.  That was just in time that I coincidentally threw my cigarette butt away (at this age, though still underaged, I was openly smoking in public).  I saw one of the officers took that butt and sniffed it.  "Oh don't worry," he said, "I just thought it was marijuana.  Good thing it isn't."  I guess it's his job to be suspicious.  Just don't set me up!

     For this reason, I'm glad I'm now far away from my hometown.  I once loved the people in my neighborhood.  But for some reason they just hate me.  Or I feel they do.

     I still sometimes stay late at night.  Sometimes, when I'm very much absorbed with the games I play on the computer, I don't realize I spent the whole night playing.  Seriously no sleep at all.  But I'm a working man now.  To me, staying late at night to no sleep at all, is no excuse for incompetence.  It shouldn't mean that I could show up at work groggy and dizzy and sleepy and whatever excuse in the book.  I still have to be on tip-top shape despite my condition.  But that, again, became a problem.  One of my friends was at awe that I could still stand and function normally, despite the fact that she saw herself that I didn't sleep the whole night.  She couldn't believe that my eyes aren't drooping (or anything that indicates I didn't sleep).  It was nothing to me.  That is, until her boyfriend said, "Oh he used something.  Probably shabu."

     I can't believe that even until here, in Korea, this drug-using image of mine still exists.  Yes, I don't hypocritically dress up.  I don't really tend to myself to look good to other people.  I just dress up whenever I want to.  I get a haircut when it pleases me.  I often dress "rugged" as one of my friends call it (and that was one of my "cleanest" looks).  And yes, I still stay late at night often.  Sometimes I don't sleep at all.  Yes, I still smoke heavily.  But for crying out loud, STOP ACCUSING ME OF USING DRUGS!!!

     And this is the reason why I'm angry at people who defend marijuana.  I sometimes respect their logic.  I acknowledge them.  But in exchange, I don't want to have to deal with them at all.  No, I don't want to add another reason for people to get suspicious of me.  No more.  I hate drugs.  And I hate drug users.  And I hate them more and more as people keep saying I'm just like them.

But why?  Do I really look like a drug addict?

Me a couple of years ago, after cutting my hair.  That was me on tv before the haircut.  The face of the "alleged" drug-user.

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