Heroin unnerves my insides. If you believe in reincarnation, I was all about the nice and easy in a past life. The sickly unsteadiness I feel when heroin creeps into my universe—someone offering it up at a party, addict friends, listening to guys in workshop talk about their past—it’s the same lead-weighted descent that I fall into when I think too hard about how short and impermanent life is and how one day I just won’t wake up. Maybe worse.
Still, Babitz’s piece was bearable (I don’t mean this about her writing which is beautiful, of course, just that each mention of H threw me into a minute paralysis) and what endears her to me even more is how she avoids it herself, how she seems to fear it, too. The guy who calls her chicken, what a shit. With friends like that…? Oh, and this line: I felt afraid. I was just beginning to feel something for her and now it turned out she might do herself in.
This piece seems to explore happiness, the tragedy of “having everything,” and how fame is a lonely and loathsome construct, but as I suppose it ought to be in the best kind of memoir, I think I discovered more about Babitz herself that made her the hero — her ability to see people, to see things for what they are, to hope — she is rife with courage.
Complete non-sequitur but related to the start and something to go out on: Any time I have blood drawn the phlebotomist inevitably remarks on how easy it is with me. One once said plainly, “Your veins are perfect for IV drug use.”