Why am I still (still) straight

During my senior year at university, I spent a semester in London where I met a guy – I’ll call him Jimmy – who became my boyfriend during my four months in England. Sometimes we took the train a few hours north to his hometown and stayed with his sister, who gave heroin trade her off-council work in exchange for cash, helping her support herself and her baby while her husband goes to jail for theft. (The baby was well taken care of — you can skip that scene in “Trainspotting“from your mind.) The apartment is something of a hangout, and I would watch as everyone but Jimmy (including his sister) snorts and then nod, typically on the living room couch. I can tell when Jimmy is tall, but he knows that I don’t want him to be, so he never lets me see him with the tube in his nose.

Here are my thoughts: I was in another country, possibly another galaxy, where, like the rules of physics, Nell’s rules don’t apply, plus I really like Jimmy, so I can handle a boyfriend kick. in four months. But anyone who knew I was in the United States would think that I passed, that I was very good then, as I was.

I used to be like this when I saw this phrase in an issue of Maximum Rocknroll when I was a teenager and understood, at a glance, I wasn’t the only one alive to think that being drunk and being stoned is a mistake. When I finally read the lyrics for “Straight edge“by Minor Threat, the DC punk band whose 1980 song injects angular traits into receptive young brains.

I’m a person just like you
But I have better things to do
Than sit around and fuck my head
Hanging out with the dead
Snorting white nose up
Pass at the concerts
I don’t even think about speed
It’s something I don’t need

I’ve got a straight edge

I’m a person just like you
But I have better things to do
Than sit around and smoke smoky

‘Cause I know I can cope
Laugh at the thought of eating lewdly
Laughing at the thought of inhaling glue
Stay in touch
Never wanted to use crutches

I’ve got a straight edge

What’s interesting in Minor Threat’s case against drinking and smoking is that they didn’t re-enact the reasons boring politicians are promoting, which are health and safety risks (yes). say for good reasons). Instead, Minor Threat is making a principled argument (“Never wanted to use crutches”) and that’s incredibly sexy for a self-respecting teen who might be a little too entangled in the idea is respected. But after I met Jimmy, I had to admit that the Small Threat logic wouldn’t work for everyone.

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I knew Jimmy in the late 1980s, when work was hard to come by in England. Jimmy, in his early twenties, was in dire straits and, like his sister, was put on a fair board, although I don’t think he ever set foot in it. Without a job or with great prospects, people at Jimmy’s sister—who, maybe an exception, are no parents who can splurge on college money for their kids, like I can—are there are no, as the Little Threat says, better things to do than drugs. And perhaps they don’t know that they can cope without them. If I had a husband in jail and a child to take care of, I might as well turn to heroin.

Meanwhile, people my age who have used drugs and come back to the US are middle class (like me) and above; those are the people that Minor Threat, Black Flag and the Descendents, among other spectacular punk bands with anti-drinking or -drug songs to their names, sang for and about. A recurring theme is how getting drunk or getting stoned gives people a courage they don’t have, and I agree that this is cheating. I remember once describing something silly I did — a time when I was able to sing a parody song while a friend filmed it — and got the answer, “Well, you must be really drunk.” Doing something funny/stupid that other people don’t or can’t do without alcohol or drugs is a source of pride for me. Hey, I can achieve the pork lift without any help!

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Some of the things I found myself disliked about drinking and drugging didn’t make it into any of the punk rock lyrics I’ve heard. I don’t like drunk / stoner braggadocio (“I was Therefore wasted last night…”). I don’t like the troubles that are so easily created whenever a host jokes about tying a person up or being buzzed. Having said that, I understand the risk. making me uncomfortable is not a good reason for you to give up drug use; you will do better with old problems such as cost, reduced attention span, and the ability to kill sex drive. Dope’s sex. Sanchez’s sex”Up and down with the Rolling Stones“and learned a lot.)

But the big reason I don’t drink or don’t take drugs is probably this, and that’s a bit embarrassing: I always picture a little script glimmering through people’s faces when they’re drunk or thrown. kick, then I lost. my unchecked access to them. Whenever Jimmy let go of the knob, it felt as if he had been taken from me, like a Stepford wife in a seashell suit. And is there any other way to explain his decision to be stoned in my presence than that I’m less fun than heroin? The line “I’d rather drink than make love” in Gang Green’s “Alcohol“always gets on my nerves: Do I ever have a boyfriend who would rather sleep with me? More important is this: If I’m interesting enough, isn’t it that another person wouldn’t be motivated to be bullied? And could it be that my decades-long commitment to a straight edge is as much tied to my ego as it is to some larger discipline?

I was on the other side of the episode only once. The first few times I tried to climb up, but it didn’t work. I learned a new line in the Lothario playbook: whenever I tell a guy about my last failed attempt with a pot, he’ll say, “I’ll help you get a good score.” .” And it was a guy – a high school classmate a few years older than me – who ended up getting me stoned. He took me to some sort of block behind his house in suburban Boston, and once he got hold of me, and probably himself, I couldn’t stop crying. Even though I was the one arguing, he told me he wanted to be detained, and I obliged, and yes, I am also surprised that this encounter did not end with my sexual harassment . Its conclusion was that I understood that the prospect of losing access to my good, clear mind was horrifying. I never wanted to get out of myself — never nod to the chorus of “I’m so in love with myself / I want to be someone else” from Evan Dando’s enigmatically beautiful Lemonheads song”My Medicine Friend. “The problem I had with being stoned was the opposite: not being able to find myself again after that scenario went down.

Maybe part is in the wiring. When I was in high school, I had a friend who was very interested in the clinical terms her psychologist mother gave her, and one day this friend informed me that I was suffering from mania. – basically, someone who is mentally cheerful all the time. I didn’t believe this was a real working term until I came across it a few years ago. But even if that term doesn’t apply to me, there can be an involuntary personality and what seems to be an inexplicably large supply of confidence just like the fact that parents can afford it for me. Going to college: a truth that makes me choose to be right next to a luxury. (This, combined with better-than-usual liberal reasons, is why I voted for legalization when Massachusetts dropped the ballot by accident a few years ago.)

For me, the only downside to being straight is that it can be a bit lonely; none of my friends, and neither is my husband. But it was a desperate loneliness–completely unlike what I feel every time Jimmy loses his mind: I would look right at him and not be able to find him.

More stories of sanity from Salon: Why am I still (still) straight

Bobby Allyn

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