Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We've Got Spirit, Yes We Do

So it was June 2006. I was heavily abusing amphetamines in the form of Adderall and Adderall XR. At this time I had a secure source for the 30mg for a mere $5, a real steal. My contact, Marquette, was a real gem. She and I had met in 2004 while I was taking summer session courses. We would pop addies and stay up all night studying. I was quite the efficient student in these times. My other connection, Frank, had a Rx for Provigil. Provigil is used by pilots. It eliminates the need for sleep, but in the prescribed doses is not supposed to have the effect on the dopmaine system that standard amphetamines have. It is only supposed to elevate the nor-epinephrine levels in the brain causing an alert state of wakefulness, increased productivity, and an ease in the flow of thought. Keep in mind, however, that dopamine is transported along the nor-epinephrine pathways. Open those babies up enough and you're high as a kite. Combine Provigil with Adderall, and you're good to go for 48 hours. I was popping Addies and Provigil, I would stay awake for several days, then when I would start to crash, my body would begin to give out, and I felt that I could no longer efficiently function due to overwhelming paranoia and my body telling me, "Fuck you asshole, feed me!", I would pop 4mg of Xanax and somewhere between 30 to 60mg of hydrocodone. Seeing as how Jack was steadily selling the downers, I was set. I was the workhorse Hilton wanted. I could analyze spreadsheets, find trends, and basically do my bosses job and mine with ease. Life was grand.

The use, overuse, and expenditure of all of my Adderall eventually led to my using methamphetamine. A-Boy and I had the use of meth down to a science. You see, amphetamines are sensitive to Ph. If you take them with acids, they enter the blood stream faster but the bio-availability is lowered. This means less dope, and less time staying awake tweaking. We could have none of that, so we would take lots of alkaseltzer 15 minutes before we would dose. Then we would snort a tenth of a gram of glass. Time seemed to fly by, we were blissful at the peaks, and the valleys were filled with nightmarish depression and self-loathing. He used his school work as an excuse to stay awake. Me, personally, I liked tweaking out, staying awake for days on end. I had friends to hang out with and we could always find things to do. I would wrench on the motorcycle for hours, wrench on the truck, take computers apart and put them back together with the cables neatly wrapped, all the dust removed, and with more efficient cooling systems. We would tear down our operating systems and rebuild them for optimum performance. I can't count the hours I spent compiling Linux kernels. Our paranoia grew to the point where we would only use AIM across gAIM with gaim-encryption enabled. This meant our conversations were behind 1024 bit encryption, practically impossible to break. A-Boy got so paranoid about being "watched by the feds", that he stopped using a wireless keyboard because he swore they could hone in on the signal and figure out his side of the conversation. My weapon and ammunition collection grew as did the amount of time I spent on my motorcycle and the time I spent fucking Martina. Motorcycles, guns, and fucking, these are the things a tweaker holds most dear.

As she and I became much closer, Martina and A-Boy drifted apart. She invited me to go to Jackson, MS with her and her best friend who was in town from LA. Gretchen knew all about the affair, did not care for A-Boy, and did not judge either Martina or myself for our transgressions. This was a huge relief for me. I followed them down I-55 all the way to Jackson. We stopped once for gas and insufflated large amounts of glass in the bathroom on our way. We arrived at her parent's house to a very warm welcome. Her father really liked me and knew that there was something between us. She and I slept together in her old room; they had no objection. Although, we didn't exactly sleep. We stayed awake all night fucking and talking in our down time. The next day we hung out in Jackson and in the afternoon I returned back to Memphis. At this point I had been awake for some 72+ hours. I returned and hung out with A-boy as if nothing had happened. I was such a dick, oh well. He and I stayed up tweaking well into the next day. We went bike riding all over midtown, drank a few bottles of wine, and before I knew it, I had to be at work. I arrived at Hilton geeked out of my mind, full of paranoia, and immediately went to my seat. I had no desire to talk to everyone, I felt as if all eyes in the room were on me, and I was sick to my stomach from having drank so much wine the night and morning prior. I'm sure I looked like death. Later, Ole Sarge told me that he could tell I had not slept for some time. My hands were trembling and when I stood I was dizzy. Periodically I would see the "shadow people" from the corners of my vision and the occasional sparkling star patterns would envelop my vision and I felt like I would blackout.

Just as I was beginning to feel settled and at ease with the situation, you know, really in the groove of my work day, the manager came around and told everyone to go into break. The manager, whose name I do not recall, was a fat black woman. She hated me. She knew that I got along with all the supervisors, and they respected me. She had a horrible attitude and would like nothing more than to fire me. She made me last person to go into break and I had just answered the phone. I did not notice that the roar of talking around me had ceased. I saw everyone around me stand up and walk away. I remember finishing the call in 6min 30sec. I finished, stood up, turned around, and saw a sea of people who were all staring at me, there was a video camera, and the VP of Corporate communications. Everyone was clapping and I had no idea what was going on. There was cake, streamers, and balloons everywhere. Not knowing what the fuck was going on, I began walking down the aisle and nervously clapping. My heart was thumping, my head spinning, and my throat was in a battle with my stomach to keep the wine down. Then the VP said my name out loud and started congratulating me on being awarded the highest honor available to Hilton employees, "The Spirit of Hilton Award". I almost shit myself. Here I was, wasted on cheap red wine, I'm sure my lips were stained purple, and I hadn't slept in some four days and I was practically hallucinating from lack of sleep and I was winning an award. If only they knew how dependent I had become on "job performance enhancing drugs" they surely would have rushed me off to some kind of rehab where I would have been administered electroshock therapy and forced to talk about my feelings of hopelessness and why I felt I needed to use.

She went into a ramble about how I had gotten it for impressing the area president of Europe and Africa while Hilton Hotels Corporation was purchasing Hilton International. Whatever, I didn't care. All I could think about was how everyone in the room was staring at me, my clothes were disheveled, and I didn't know how to stand correctly without feeling out of place. Then she asked me to give a speech about my time at Hilton. I could barely think, I couldn't focus, and I do not remember at all what I said, but apparently I did a decent job and didn't give myself away. The VP then made me take a slice of cake and eat it. I could not stand to look at it, let alone taste it. I could only think of how sugary and disgusting the cake was. The icing, lard and sugar, in my mouth, my teeth, blue and yellow, and how my throat was so dry I could barely choke it down. If hell on earth could exist, this was certainly very close to it. I think my anxiety about the situation could have only been increased if I were standing naked in front of everyone after having taken a dip in a cold pool.

After rubbing elbows with people and thanking the people who "got me where I am today", I sat back down and continued working. I would do anything to make this situation stop. I then took a break, went to the bathroom, and swallowed several hydrocodone tablets. I could feel my heart slow, my breathing ease, and the anxiety melt away like cotton candy. I sat back, rode the wave of apathy, and awaited the end of my shift. I would only be employed at Hilton for six weeks after. Sarge would later tell me that I had received the "Hilton medal of Honor" and that I could never be fired. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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