The first time I bought cocaine I was 17 and working at a frame shop on Telegraph Ave. My friend and I were obsessed with the movie Blow, so we scraped together $40 and decided to make our cocaine dreams come true. My friend met up with me after work, and we did the logical thing and went to People’s Park to try to score some blow. Buying drugs from people in People’s Park is like a privileged Berkeley kid rite of passage – everyone does it at least once, and after the first time you realize it’s a really shitty rite of passage and a fairly desperate way to score drugs. But it was a Wednesday night or something so there were no all ages warehouse parties to hit up, and it’s not like we could lurk around the bars sniffing around for free drugs because my friend didn’t have her fake ID.
We found a random dude in the park who graciously called a drug dealer for us. We lurked around Telegraph Ave, waiting for him to come. When the drug dealer pulled up in his low rider, he looked like, um, my ex-boyfriend’s dad who ran crack through East Oakland in the 90’s. His eyes were all blood shot and yellow, and it was a fairly awkward exchange. I noticed that there was a woman sitting in the back seat, so in my naivete I asked her, “Hey, how’s it going?” I think I just wanted to be cool, or, actually, I wanted to buddy up to her because I knew she probably didn’t have to pay for her coke.
Before she had a chance to respond, the dealer in the front seat snapped, “Don’t talk to her!”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I hope you have a good night,” I responded.
“I mean it! Don’t talk to her!”
This was definitely one of those weird experiences where it hadn’t yet registered that he was a pimp and she was a prostitute. Only years later did I realize, “Oh, yeah, I bought coke off a pimp on Telegraph Ave, and I tried to talk to the prostitute in the back seat.” Glad I made it out of that one unscathed.
My friend and I wound up walking around UC Berkeley and snorting cocaine in what turned to be a fairly lackluster drug experience. Everything is more exciting in the movies.
I think the most shocking part of this memory of mine is the fact that I actually used my own money to buy cocaine. How naive, right? Sure, even if you’re not spending cash you still pay for the cocaine in one way or another. But when I think about the feminist context of my drug purchasing experiences, I have to wonder: how has the #metoo movement impacted our commercial drug culture? I wish there were more women making bank off these drugs. I feel like they’d be a lot more receptive to my complaints about our current drug culture, which is namely: can our Bay Area drug dealers please band together and stop selling drugs to rapists? Because you know those rapists use those drugs to rape women. This can even be extended to bartenders! I mean, I know we’re all absolute scum bags and this particular coked-out corner of society abstains from any type of morality whatsoever, but don’t you think it would be cool if the 11th crack commandment was, “Don’t sell drugs to rapists.” What is the phone number of the governing body that enforces the 10 crack commandments? Because I would like to talk to the manager.