Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The Famous Glue Sniffing Incident of '87
Remember how I promised to tell you the story about sniffing glue. Well, here goes. It's a story about trust - or lack thereof - and honesty. It's also about how no matter how many times you tell the truth and consider yourself and are considered by others to be an honest person, when it comes to glue, all bets are off.
When I was about 12 or 13 Rosita* (my best friend at the time and partner in crime) and I were asked to babysit my little brother Aaron while my parents were out. My Uncle Lam* had also gone out and the only one around was Aunt Jezebel* and she was an evil witch who wanted to sink her long, ugly, dirty talons into my Fajah so she would use us to try to gain his favor. When Dad was around she was all hearts and flowers, but when he wasn't, her true character came out and she was all eye of newt and toe of a frog, wool of a bat and tongue of a dog. Anyhag, we lived in a very large house with a couple other houses on the property (explains all the uncles and aunts around).
We were in the main house and were basically alone in my parent's room. Baby Aaron was fast asleep after having eaten a dozen bananas, 4 bottles of milk, a bowl of oats and two T-bone steaks (he was a really fat baby - super cute). Rosita and I decided to investigate the treasures in Majah's walk-in closet. There was my Dad's old hardcover, leather bound copy of Don Quixote de la Mancha -boring. There were perfumes, powders and creams - interesting but not enough to keep us occupied for hours on end. There were old hats and boots - we weren't 5 yr olds dressing up for God's sake. Then we found Dad's can of contact cement - oh fun! We opened it and talked about how good the smell was and then we decided to glue something. What to glue, what to glue? There was nothing in their closet that could be glued without making Mother upset. We went out to the little veranda and thought about gluing our shoes, or someone else's...that's when we heard footsteps. Loud, ugly, evil hunchback-like footsteps. That could only mean one thing, the Wicked Witch of the West was coming to check on us. Damn! It was past lights out and even though we were babysitting, we were expected to be asleep by 10pm. We ran and turned the light off, hid in the bathroom with the glue and didn't say a word or even breathe until we didn't hear the footsteps anymore and we knew it was safe to come out. We fell asleep on my parent's bed and that was that.
Later that morning while I was working on one of my 18 chores of the day, happily whistling and going about my business I saw my Dad walk with a purpose out of his room with the can of glue. I thought nothing of it and continued on with my day completely oblivious of the storm that was brewing. A couple of hours later Rosita and I were called into my parent's room. We thought Aunt Jezebel had told them that she saw the light on at 10:30pm when she passed by, so we were pretty nervous when we walked in.
Upon entering the room we saw that everyone we knew of any authority at all was there: teachers, uncles, aunts, fairies, gnomes, a guardian angel or two, a couple of ancestors brought back to life just for this occasion, you name it, they there. Wow, what a serious overreaction to disobeying the light's out rule - or so we thought. When I looked at my Mom she was weeping. Weeping! What the hell is going on here? - was my next and perfectly natural reaction. That's when Uncle Lam started talking. "Why? Why? What did we do to deserve this? How did we fail you? Isn't Jesus enough?" That's where he lost us. Rosita and I looked at each other, then looked at them...nothing. I couldn't figure it out. Meanwhile my Mom's blowing her nose and sobbing - eh?
Then my Dad started, "Why are you turning to drugs and hallucinogens? Why are you searching for answers when we've already given you the answer - Jesus. If you have Jesus, then why do you need these other things? What are you looking for? Because your mother and I searched for years as hippies and we never found it until we found Jesus. Why do you need to go outside the warmth of His love to find happiness? Isn't serving the Lord happiness enough for a lifetime?" Needless to say we were dumbstruck. We couldn't answer. It was so bizarre. It was like we stepped into some alternate reality and were in someone else's body, living someone else's life. They kept this up for a really, really unnecessarily long time. They would make us answer by saying, "Well? Do you? Really? Answer me!" and of course we would answer to the best of our ability trying to tell them what we thought they wanted to hear and all the while wishing someone would explain.
Finally, finally my Dad held up the can of glue and said, "You know that streets kids fry their brains by sniffing this. So why did you do it? You know this is addicting. So why were you snorting it?" The penny finally dropped and all the events of the night before and earlier that morning came crashing before me. I swear to God - hand to heart - I had no idea anybody did that, much less why anyone would want to. I had no idea anyone got high like that. This was all news to me - I was 12 for crying out loud, living a sheltered Christian life - how was I supposed to know this? When he finally asked us to explain ourselves we did, to the best of our ability. But looking around at the room I could tell that no one, not a single one believed me. We were given a very severe punishment and told to leave. For days different uncles and aunts would try to "talk" to us and get us to confess because we would feel better about it, and because there was nothing to fear, no more punishment, just the joy that comes with honesty and coming clean before God - nothing. They weren't able to force a confession out of us. Do you know why? Because there was nothing to confess!!
Years later I was talking to my Uncle Lam and I reminded him of the incident and told him that we were telling the truth, and he still didn't believe me. I finally told him that when he got to Heaven he would see that he should have trusted us because we were telling the truth. Whatever. It's so stupid it doesn't matter anymore. But every time I see a can of contact cement I remember that story and laugh. (Insert dramatic sigh here) Good times!
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent....or not.