As a writer, I look into dark places. I gaze down alleyways and roam the streets. You can’t write if you don’t observe and you can’t observe unless you dare to look.
What you see isn’t always pleasant (although it can be tender).
Today, in an alleyway leading to the marina in Marigot where I live, I watched a man light a crack pipe. He wasn’t old he just appeared that way, wizened and frail. His clothes and his body were unwashed and he had to support himself against the wall while he sucked the flame from a cheap lighter towards the glass bowl of the pipe.
The image of the crack addict stayed with me while I went about my business in town and it so bothered me that later I mentioned it on my Facebook page. Here’s what I wrote:
Just saw the pathetic sight of a poor kid smoking a crack pipe on the street in Marigot. The scumbag drug dealers have much to answer for.
My post led to this exchange:
Facebook friend: So you also blame the scumbag liquor shops for drunks on the street?
Me: Yes, I would blame a scumbag liquor shop owner if he sold booze to a pathetic half-starved young kid of indeterminate age who is unwashed, dressed in rags and has a known alcohol problem. Don't you think venders have a moral obligation?
While I have lived in the Caribbean, I have lost several friends to liver disease cause by alcohol. In one case the guy who died hung out at his friends bar, and the friend continued to serve him even though he knew the booze was killing him.
I have also lost friends to drugs. Some dead, some addled.
When someone has a known addiction, should the supplier be held responsible? Damn right they should.
Aren’t we supposed to care for each other?
Like most people, I find this easy to say but not that easy to do.
I’m going to stop looking down alleyways.