‘Logic’ and ‘Speed Bumps of Surveillance’ by Patrick Trotti


Smoking crack seemed logical. It wasn’t a needle. I’d been doing coke everyday for a year straight at this point, but I knew I needed something more, something different. I was tired of bloody noses, a deviated septum, and paying for lunch at school with rolled up dollar bills.

The first time I smoked crack I was in the backseat of a taxicab heading home from the Bronx listening to Billy Joel. I passed the stem up to the driver to take a hit as a thank you for waiting for me without the meter running while I went in and copped.

It took me a full weekend of mowing lawns around the neighborhood to save up for the drugs. I smoked it in an afternoon. The stem was warmer than I expected. I wasn’t sure why I thought it wouldn’t be but the sensation never crossed my mind. And I did think about it a lot. During class, I would daydream about filling my lungs until they’d burst and exhale through my nostrils like a bull.

The loneliness also appealed to me. The coke was too acceptable amongst my friends. I wanted something that would get everyone to back off, just give me some breathing room. Being a crack head had its perks. It lowered my expectations drastically. Suddenly not showering for a week is no big deal. That, and time seems to contract and expand with no real sense of purpose other than the next fix.

But ask me how I stopped smoking crack and I’ll tell you a much longer story.

Speed Bumps of Surveillance

The first thing I do when entering a room is to check for cameras.

But that’s just for self-preservation. At least that’s what I tell myself. It sounds better than the reality of the situation, that on most days I feel like I’m the subject of some unidentified surveillance program.

And on really bad days I feel as though my life is in jeopardy. On good days I can get around okay and do what I have to do with only minor speed bumps. That’s not my desired term; it’s what my therapist calls my episodes.

He says that speed bumps are nothing more than a momentary inconvenience. But if you don’t see them, or are in a rush, the bumps have the ability to disable the car. When he first told me of the metaphor I got lost in thought over what type of car my brain would be.

Patrick Trotti is a freelance writer based in Rochester, New York.

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