Before bedtime again. As much as I thought I’d do this earlier at the library, I didn’t. I couldn’t. I’d already sat for three hours transcribing and fixing a flyer and logistics for an upcoming dance workshop.
The transcribing thing’s bizarre. Often, interviews. Today, an interview between some guy and a new teacher. Sounds like it was just outside the gym. He was asking a lot of questions about what sort of behaviors she expects from her students in her Algebra II course. “What three behaviors lead to a student’s academic success in your course?” type questions. She gave three different words for participation. She talked super fast and used a bunch of filler words. It took me 50 minutes to transcribe 15 minutes and 36 seconds of audio. I made $7.88 and a massive headache.
Then came the next interview, which I enjoyed listening to and was at a cadence I could keep up with, without my fingers or brain lighting on fire.
The interviewer: A gentleman, mid-forties (complete assumption). Red-headed and slightly balding (complete assumption). Microbiology major, theater minor (reckless assumption). Just the right amount of respectful and disinterested—couldn’t give a damn what the answer was, but worded questions slowly and with intonation flair; whenever the interviewee showed confusion, he was very patient, and always clarified his question in a cheery way, a way that would make anyone feel absolutely justified in the misunderstanding. Best guess: A market specialist and dad of three, two out of the nest, one a brooding teenager who thinks his dad's job is a mega joke.
The interviewee: Heroin addict. Answers questions about experiences with doctors in clinics, and openly states to have never experienced discrimination in that arena—only shortage of long-term, free assistance programs. When asked if he's heard about any other users' experiences with doctors/medical staff, jokes that's not a hot topic. Describes current detox predicament of not enough beds. Reflects back to the time he was clean—a year and a half ago—with a voice that’s both melancholic and disparaging. Often references 2009 as a year when detox beds were abundant, and opiate addiction wasn’t yet an epidemic.
“I could have a bed for two weeks back then. Now they just hold me for 36 hours of withdrawal. Give me nothin’ after to ease. They expect you to sit on your ass, eat shit sandwiches, kick around, then leave and be fine. You go get dope, that's what you do after that. Ya know?”
I liked it because I saw a little peek into someone’s life I’d never see otherwise. Learned something about an experience I have no way of understanding. Even secondhand knowledge isn’t often there for me—my life’s not necessarily potpourried with people who've experience enough to share.
The interview was pleasantly straightforward. Where do you go to get your needles? What kind of difficulties do you encounter? What could improve the process for you? It’s all for the benefit of developing a new program: PharmNet, all about utilizing pharmacies as a way to enable safe(r) use. I enjoyed how candid both interviewer and interviewee approached the topic. There was no altruistic attempt at saving lives or shrouding truths. It was pragmatic: How do we provide needles without censure or unnecessary complications?—that sort of thing.
I don’t have much of an opinion on the matter because I've never thought it through or talked to someone with knowledge, so I was rather easily persuaded by both parties involved. They were otherwise completely at odds with each other. Living entirely different lives, I imagined. Barely able to look each other in the eye. I didn’t need to see them to hear it in the voices, in the way one forgot to laugh and avoided affirmatives, and the other always asked, “ya know?” at the end of each sentence, so every possible statement turned into a search for validation. And the other's response never was, “Yes, I do”. I think that would have a been a lie. All three of us knew it.