This is How Books Happen

Posted on 07/11/2011 by


So this. Which claims some high schoolers like to soak gummi bears in vodka in order to get drunk in class. I’m not entirely sure how this appeared on my radar. Perhaps someone just wanted to share the weird. Perhaps someone thought bears + alcohol = kandace. Which… okay. But…

Me: That’s crazy. I mean, a) you would have to eat an awful lot of gummi bears to actually get drunk, b) that would taste disgusting, c) they’d smell it on your breath so it’s not exactly stealthy, and d) what sort of high school class lets you just sit around eating that many gummi bears without anyone objecting?
CBA: Also why would you want to get drunk in class?
Me: Oh no, that one I understand.

Some classes the boredom is so great one starts fantasising about portholes to other universes or even daleks interrupting. Such fantasies would be aided no end by ethanol induced hallucinations.

I met a guy on a train once, who was entirely trashed, but very friendly. He explained to me that he just had to be drunk in order to attend sewing class. And then he threw up something pink into the corner of the carriage. Ever since then I’ve wondered what he was drinking. I mean — pink.

Also, while understanding the urge, I can’t quite bring myself to approve of attending sewing class drunk. I mean, a kid in my class in high school managed to sew their hand stone cold sober. Unless my train-riding buddy’s sewing project was some kind of advanced cubism the alcohol probably didn’t help.

Even in non-hands-on classes the inability to concentrate, or walk, or focus on the written word can be a problem. To the extent that you sort of wonder about the wisdom of going at all.  And before you ask, no, I’ve never been drunk in class, but I have attended class while at the deep end of the exhaustion well. Which is similar in many ways. So similar in fact that I had one school briefly convinced I was a drug addict.

To be entirely fair to them, a lot of the external symptomology is the same. And the opinion was no doubt fostered by the needle bruises on my arms. Although I’m still a little offended that they didn’t think I wasn’t bright enough to wear long sleeves if their theory was in fact true.

And… now I’m slightly disturbed that my brain jumps to, ‘Because if I was an addict I wouldn’t get caught’ rather than, ‘Not idiotic enough to develop a drug habit at twelve’. Although, that’s probably just because I still find the idea so ridiculous. When I figured out what they were worried about I laughed for like half an hour. Which was probably more convincing than my parents giving them dirty looks.

I probably shouldn’t find the whole thing so insulting. The evidence was suggestive. And if I was drug-addled it’s possible I might have forgotten that long sleeves were a good idea.

Or started to worry that long-sleeves and red-rimmed eyes and collapsing over my desk in science might look suspicious and the bruises weren’t that bad today…
And you don’t CHOOSE a drug habit at twelve, you have it chosen for you. The wrong place, the wrong time, the wrong friends…
Or maybe you DO make the choice. Smart enough to know, not smart enough to see your own naïveté. Totally unaware of your limitations. At twelve you’re invincible…
Or you’ve just, JUST realised the world doesn’t revolve around you. And the knowledge that you are a relatively insignificant part of an expanding universe, that you are not guaranteed a bright future by sheer right is terrifying.
Smart enough to know it but maybe also for the first time smart enough to fear it. And this is something that doesn’t make you feel alone. Because these people could be, might be your friends.
Or maybe just because this can make it stop. The unending parade of thoughts, considerations, evaluations and speculations. For just a little while there can be nothing. Like artificial unconsciousness grasped while still awake. Death while breathing. And what’s to fear in that? If you face the little death each day — want it, NEED it — then why fear the possibility of falling over the edge into the long night? There’s no future to worry about there, no people to deal with, no bright, terrifying lights, no tomorrow…

Yeah, I clearly need to go and write something now to stop my brain from leaking.


Posted in: Kandace, Research