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September 3, 2019 | by  | in Features |
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Galaxy BBQ

I wanted the new Jordans and I wasn’t even good at basketball. I wonder whatever happened  to my Total 90s. I remember pleading and begging my dad for the new boots. Maroon with a touch of white, worn by Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o; the slickest things on the field. The Total 90s to be one of the cool kids on the field.

My mum and dad bought me a Nokia when I started to take the bus to school. I begged and pleaded with them for a Motorola Razr, but their only concern was that I let them know when I reached school and home. Although all I did on that phone was play Snake, txt my mum, and speed-dial my dad, it wasn’t the phone that you needed to be one of the cool kids. The one at the back of the bus that could blast Akon’s “Don’t Matter” so often that we would never listen to him again before 2015. 

 

We grew out of this during puberty, according to Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. Around 12 or 13 years old, it’s weird to like the hottest girl in the school, awful to have the same haircut as everyone else—and you definitely didn’t want the same backpack as the others in your class. We let go of the aspirations to look like everyone else. We craved being the odd one out, with their own self-righteous flair. Whether it be sneakers from Pakistan that you’ve never seen yet, or a limited edition iPhone that only has Frank Ocean songs as ringtone options. 

 

Where I’m from, everyone knows where to get weed. The tinnie house, T’s mum’s garage, or hit up Juddy if you’re really about it. I didn’t want to wear the same shit as everyone else, so why would I want to get fucked up on the same shit?

 

The novelty of getting our weed off the same dealer wore off quickly. We were placed on the same scale, inside the same papers, and smoking the same shit separately. 

 

My dealer gets me something different every time I go home. I always look forward to travelling back home and getting that sticky. I try to smoke in Wellington with the girls from Christchurch and Hawkes Bay who won’t shut the fuck up about it. “This weed strain was grown in the outback of Gisborne for four weeks and it’s called Winston Peters because it hits you pretty rough.” Shut the fuck up and grind my weed, Kate.

 

I get off my InterCity nightmare to Rawiri’s 1996 Honda Civic that smells like stale weed and teenage angst. Requesting further information may make this trip home more illegal than it should be, so I get in the back seat and shut the fuck up. We take a ride through our old stomping ground and catch up on gossip that I’ve missed while I’ve been gone. We pull up to Juddy’s for the usual. The yarns are too strong to not have our green friend as fuel for the laughs we are about to endure. 

 

We pull up in a cul-de-sac near his mum’s. He comes out and yarns for a bit, talking about his new girlfriend, his mum, and how she’s “being a bitch”, along with other issues that could be clear signals for mental stress and anxiety—but it’s not my place to have that conversation at the moment. I don’t want to come off as the big brother that ran off to Wellington and got more woke, so once again, I’ll shut the fuck up.

“I haven’t got any weed bro. But I can get you some ice.”

Rawiri didn’t flinch. But my heart dropped into my stomach, and my eyes battered holding back tears. What the fuck?

 

“It’s not that different. The bro took it for four months to lose weight.” Looking at the before and after photos of Kieran, we were terrified. He always felt guilty about his weight, but the ice turned him into the guy he always wanted to look like. On the drive home, we scrolled through Instagram and found out there had been more people smoking it. If we didn’t believe it through the glass, all we had to do was park up in one spot and watch the foot traffic. The worn-out faces and shaking legs in the local PAK’nSAVE said it all. 

 

Meth isn’t in the same ballpark as weed, and neither is MDMA. So why is my dealer making the claim he can get it easier? He explains that after all the police raided houses, sprayed fields, and arrested a few of our mates for possession, ice was easier. Odourless, disguisable, and drug-test proof, meth was the new friend of my hometown. Broken homes and abusive families were already the norm, so why would meth change it? The new referendum that would decriminalise weed would save this epidemic, but it was too late. 

 

People wanted to get high. They were going to get high, regardless of what.

 

I travel back to Wellington, disenchanted and confused. More reliable, faster supply, quicker movement, and a higher price. For someone trying to feed their family, I can’t blame him. I hate his decision, but he doesn’t want to see anyone starve, and we never want to see him starve.

 

My dealer in Wellington becomes my quick fix therapist and I share my issues with the criminalisation of drugs—the politics behind it and what it meant for us. I also wanted some kush, but you know when you gotta act like you’re friends with your dealer because you a nice dude and you see them as more than a bag of weed.

 

He said he’s got some new shit. It’ll be a bit extra, but because I was a good friend he’d let me have it for a reduced price.

In a glittery, vacuum-sealed bag that looks like an empty juice pouch is the package. He calls it the ‘Galaxy Pack’. The overhead light that shines through the vapour in the air makes the pack blinding to look at. Grown indoors, from Christchurch. Split by the oz. Sticky, and the smell takes you from outer space. People get it once and immediately request ‘that Galaxy Pack’. That gleamy shit. Nobody was ordering the regular foil, instead the luminescent shit that sent you to outer space.

 

It was regular shit, repackaged in a glittery bag. It came from somewhere else, but none of us could confirm if it was all true. I’m not saying it was shit covered in glitter, but all that glitters is not gold.

 

But did we care? We got what we wanted. It sent us to another universe for sure. No matter what, we would turn up to the party with the utmost confidence that we were on some other-worldly shit.

From children, we have wanted the things other people weren’t getting. Our idea of hierarchy was from the things we wore and ingested. Eating oysters in my Champion hoodie meant I was way better than the kid scoffing a mince and cheese pie in the Ridgeline.

 

The Galaxy Pack was what we were missing. I look back at the photos of my mates, slowly deteriorating and breaking their bodies just to get high. Just to escape from the static life that is rural New Zealand. 

 

The reason they chose ice was the same reason I was addicted to the Galaxy Pack. It was an attempt to climb the social ladder, while still escaping the emergence of adulthood. More responsibilities, less financial security, and the mental health issues we could only numb through getting high.

 

Once I kicked my addiction, the playground we ran around in for drugs was the same one we sat through in the bus to school. Motorola Razr and MDMA were the things that set us apart from everyone else.

My hometown has no service, or nightlife. Regardless of that, we craved both for reasons only known to us at 20.

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