amw (amw) wrote,

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the central valley's real cash crop

I've been watching a bunch of Louis Theroux's documentaries lately. The first one i watched was a relatively recent show on the gang/drug crime in Philly. His focus on the US as a bit of an outsider really appealed to me, so i went back and watched everything from his ten-year-old documentaries right through to the most recent - The City Addicted To Crystal Meth. Three guesses... Fresno.

In an accompanying article he wrote on the BBC website, Louis said he had no trouble finding subjects that were casual users to film, but he was more interested in what he called "active" - i guess that means daily - users. He spoke to a couple who had been doing meth since the 70s and, although they had been in jail for a few years, they seemed to be relatively high-functioning. The whole... "well we sleep at night, we eat food, we go to work, we still pay rent" thing. I guess that's an interesting side to show when a lot of viewers might think all addicts are rolling old ladies or doing B&Es to get high.

I can't figure where to draw the line, though. I've spent a lot of my life hanging out with "casual" drug users and some of them have completely flipped out from just a few too many crazy weekends. I still have friends who get fucked up for special occasions, and each time i wonder if they'll come back okay or if they'll call into work one too many times, snap at their boss once too often, or just do some stupid spontaneous shit that lands them in hospital or jail. In some ways it's more scary than regular use because it's so unpredictable, it just sneaks up.

There was one documentary i watched that specifically followed a group of self-proclaimed recreational users. It's called Small Town Ecstasy. I saw it when i was living in the US with T and it's probably one of the most harrowing documentaries i've seen because as messed up and unusual as the story seems, i've ended up knowing every character in it. I found it online several years ago and i go back to watch it every now and then. It's one of those things you want to show people so they can wake up to their shit, but then i think the first time, the second time i watched it i didn't wake up, so whatever. People are fucking stupid.

I had been saving the last episode of Louis because i was worried it was going to be really hard to watch. Other than one scene with this kid doing that breathing thing it actually wasn't too bad. What got me in the mood to watch it was a thread on a message board i read this morning where someone was asking about what it was like to quit drinking alcohol for some period, like to "detox" for a while. Most of the replies were predictably retarded. And it just brought back all those memories of friends saying "after New Year's i'm going to go on a break, you know till Australia Day" or whatever dumbass target seemed like it was going to make all the difference. Which was still smarter than my friend who decided doing anything besides dope was fair game because it didn't count as a relapse. Though at least he didn't have kids to get high in front of...

Ugh, maybe this episode was worse than i thought after all. 2am and i should sleep. Grumble.

Why does it hurt to see other people hurting themselves?
Tags: looking back

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