I had a discomfiting experience this afternoon.
Post-ride, I stopped the truck on the way home to get a 4 pack of Beamish Stout at the local liquor store. Gotta have it to wash down the corned beef and colcannon, right?
I'm in the liquor store and four very blue collar tweakers are in there. You know the type - the two dudes looked to be tradesmen, the two women were probably around 40, with 55 year-old skin, sagging and leathery. The two women had pretty nasty looking teeth. You know exactly what I'm talking about I'm sure - the slightly drawn face coupled with a flabby belly, the vacant look even when they're engaged with the world around them. Tweakers. The two guys were semi focused. The women... stoned to the bejeezus. Everything was funny to them. Hilarious.
So I get my beer and head to the cashier. I'm cashing out and the one woman starts ragging on me. I'm still in my bike shorts, albeit with a sweatshirt and some Tevas on. "Ooooh, baby got back! Nice legs honey!" And then she starts going on a rant about something else, coming back to near lucidity in time to give me some shit about something, maybe because I was ignoring her and she was trying to get her crazy on. It was hard to tell because she and her girlfriend kept howling with laughter, and then she'd give me some more shit in a slurred, slightly hysterical voice. Then they wandered around and were babbling hysterically about all sorts of other crap, really making a huge racket considering they were just two women and it's a large liquor store. You couldn't hear yourself think.
This went on as a couple guys in front of me checked out. Finally, as I waited for the old guy to ring me up, I turned and looked at these two chicks, took in the full tableau that being 40 and a junkie really means, and then looked at their guys and just shook my head. The guys looked really, really pained. They weren't that messed up, and they *knew*. Didn't mean they weren't going to keep hanging out with these two pathetic pieces of work, but I think they were embarassed for themselves.
For some reason the old guy on the cash register took a long time cashing me out and bagging up my beer, so by the time I got out to the parking lot, the two tweaker chicks were already out there. They were staring at my bike in the roof rack and talking in a sort of amazed tone, and when I walked out it produced another howl of laughter from the really skinny one. Her friend tried to get her to stop - I think she thought maybe the bike explained the lycra Castellis - but she was pretty far gone and not really susceptible to reason at that stage.
As I left the two guys were piling out of the store with a few cases of beer and a bunch of bottles of liquor. Oh yeah, that's exactly what those two women needed...
I guess I should have felt really embarassed or something; I was the weird-dressed freak in lycra and sandals in a liquor store, a guy hitting middle age and pretending to be a bike racing kid. But the only real discomfort and embarassment I felt was on behalf of those two women.
Holy crap, to be an honest-to-God grownup and have so little dignity or self respect. . . I felt really embarassed for them. It was almost physically painful. Some of my friends have been coke addicts or alcoholics, some of them have died from it, and I never saw them in that bad of a state. Comatose, yes, but never running around making a scene like that.
I hope the meth was really, really good, because they've paid a pretty high price for it. Their dignity.