There are a few things I could say about certain pieces of music which would serve as the ultimate ‘diss’, but none as final and damming as being on my Repel the Screaming and Crack Smoking Crazed Man from Blocking my Front Door Playlist. The only problem with the tactic of audio repellant is that I have to listen to the songs too, which is often an exercise in torture.
I considered playing some Metal Machine Music, but those frequencies are harmful and toxic and I wanted to get the man to move, not enrage him and or make him finally break down. He was already weeping, barking, screaming and yowling into the late afternoon, whilst being sat on my doorstep, and I really needed to get out to go and pick up some toothpaste. I wasn’t going to politely ask him to move, because…well…I value my life and he was not in a talking mood. I was also not going to call the cops, because I am not an asshole, and had no desire to risk anyone’s safety. He needed to come down, move somewhere that was not my doorstep, and possibly put his pants properly back on. I suppose that much was optional. Poor man. My sympathy is intact, but the fact remained, my teef needed cleaning, and I had already eeked out the final drops from the tube, and the only other toothpaste in the house was not gluten free. I would rather have dirty teeth than a celiac attack…still there was no need for either, just as long as the not so gentle man moved away from my door.
There are some heads who are the embodiment of their drug. I like to think I did the Smack Goddess proud in my hey day. Thin, forever cold and wrapped in a blanket, body shutting down, getting closer and closer to as cold as it gets whilst surfing that great wave of Euphoria and avoiding the sick. The truly devoted junkie appreciates the kick, not just the up. There is a lot a person can learn about themselves whilst kicking. I found out that I am one stubborn bitch, and see value in testing myself against great adversity, and that I can overcome pain and physical suffering.
But this is not about me. This is about the man with a glass dick in his hand, sucking down that sour smoke, and weeping openly. I dug it. I understood. His entire body screamed cocaine of the harder kind. None of that rock star fluff for this warrior, no sir. This was a man testing himself against the machinations of a society and powers that be that were conspiring to force him to destroy himself, and whilst it broke my heart….I needed to not have to listen to the screaming, barking and wailing of a mostly naked solidly built man who was blocking me from leaving and entering my home. I don’t take risks with men who are out of control, not ever. It is the drug which is the devil…not the man doing it..at least not generally…Manson was a pothead and LSD freak. Neither of those drugs is inherently evil, but the man doing them was.
Enter The Playlist.
I am a reasonable soul, and don’t like to see anyone cry, so I led off with some Patti Smith, Horses. This does not belong on my playlist. It is a great song. It was merely a suggestion to change teams. After all those horses, horses horses are a little calmer than the twist and shout of crack cocaine…
I continued with some Smiths, Johnny Cash, Motown. Then a surprising thing happened. He stopped crying. He got up and started swaying to the music. A smile spread across his face. Joan Baez with her shrill Where Have All the Flowers Gone? could scare away anybody. Including me. I gritted my teeth and played her through the little bluetooth speaker. He didn’t move on, but he did stop crying. I ended up entertaining my new neighbor, not encouraging to get out the way of my door. He was starting to look a little more approachable. I was hoping that no one else was going to call the police on him either. Hard drugs make anyone unreasonable, he just needed to get a hold of himself and right his ship a little.
I lined up Juice Newton, Angel of the Morning. It is not a bad song, per se, but the delivery is excruciating. The crack let go of the man a little. He seemed to like ole Juice. No go. I resigned myself to dirty teeth, when he pulled himself up, threw his socks in the gutter as if they offended him, and started to move down the street.
Here is the thing. The City wants to know how to deal with the addicted and homeless. Punishing, making people uncomfortable, hurting people, setting the cops on them…none of that works, yet they still continue trying the same things and wondering why the problem is not being solved. The definition of insanity is trying something repeated times and expecting different results, yet the City keeps sweeping, destroying people’s belongings, punishing and ignoring the suffering. It is the equivalent of playing Metal Machine Music – some real harmful noise. Instead, people need interaction of a positive kind. They need real solutions. They need housing that is within their reach, and is given freely. People need safe use centers so they are not using on the streets and affecting the housed/non addicted population negatively. Make no mistake housed people do drugs too, perhaps in even greater numbers, they can just have a crack meltdown in the privacy of their own bedroom cupboard. This man was afforded no such dignity, and as such was not able to be dignified.
Help, not punishment. Patti Smith, not Joan Baez. Love and compassion, not censure and suffering. All that negative noise just makes people confrontational and then they dig their heels in. In the face of compassion, people start to be the best that they can be. People start to recover. People stop being a problem to society around them, and start being part of society around them. But I guess love and compassion is too radical a solution….Bring on Joan Baez!…I guess…