He hunches over, his face close to the plate, and he snorts a line of blow. I’m sitting there, drinking whiskey out of red solo cup at 11 pm on a Sunday. He had offered to share, but I politely declined because I have work tomorrow and also I’ve never been a fan of cocaine.

I had just come from, um – well, I don’t know how describe it…a sugar date? Not my sugar date, my friend’s sugar date. I was politely third wheeling because she had invited me, although my role on these dates (because, yes, we do this with moderate frequency) bemuses me. Basically, this guy buys us dinner and drinks, and then I go home, and they do whatever. I know that I’m not a pimp because, well, fuck pimps. I’m also not the  bait, because I always go home early. I’m more like trickle-down trick-anomics bonus girl who offers both a sense of comfort to my friend while she’s on her date and added cool points for the guy because we all know that two girls are better than one. I also appreciate it because I tend romantically gravitate towards scum fucks, but I still deserve a nice meal every once in a while.

Anyways, I had hit up this dude earlier that day because we’re friends, and this is what friends do, right? I had moved to Berkeley a few months earlier and I’ll admit that majority of my socializing still takes place in Oakland. But this friend of mine lives in Berkeley, and I’m trying to embrace my new Berkeley lifestyle, so I hit him up to kick it. As I sat there, watching SoundCloud rap videos on YouTube while he did drugs, it occurred to me: isn’t this exactly the same shit I did when I was in Oakland? Basically hang out in trap houses and watch people do drugs and get drunk.

Oh, cool.

I realized that lately I had been a bit disconnected from myself, and it had been a while since I had done anything deeply scummy, such as pal around with sex workers on the job or kick it with coke heads. I mean, fuck! It’s been months since anyone offered me a bump, and even though I would have declined every theoretical time, it’s still nice to be offered.

Damn. Did I really think that if I moved to out of Oakland and into (btw, a very nice part of) Berkeley, that things would be different? I mean, yeah, I did think that things would be different. But I guess I’m not different, because here I am. Doing the exact same thing. It’s not even readily available to me, but I sought this out. I’m here for a fucking reason.

There is something slippery inside me. I can feel it. There’s something inside me that is slimy like an eel, and despite my pursuit of goodness there will always be a glimmer of evil in this beating, bleeding heart of mine. I will always be curious. I will always want to know. As much as I want to be motivated and focused and career-driven and successful and fit and rich, there’s still something inside me that’s saying, “Yeah, but what about being a scumbag? Doesn’t that sound fun?”

Goddammit! Yes! That does sound fun! Ugh. Does this explain away that persistent sense of ennui that has been nipping at my heels lately?

But I’m an optimist. Why can’t I do both. Why can’t I have it all. Why can’t I hang out in the gutter and then go home to a mansion. Why can’t I be both wildly successful and darkly interesting. I can do that, right? Juggle my demons and my angels. It’s not like either of them are going to go away. So I’ll call it balance.



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