My Mom The Cokehead
When I was eight years old my mom started getting into coke big time. She went from a little-town shitty job to a big-city executive job for a huge company and I guess it was too much for her. In less than two years, she got divorced from my father and started fucking around like there was no tomorrow. She met this guy from Norway and they got married. Both were doing tons of coke every day. My mom got fired from her job because she stole a lot of money. The Norwegian never had a job to begin with, so we ran out of money and they started selling everything: First the jewelry, then fancy clothes and furniture. Eventually, they basically sold everything we had, so we were living with two sets of clothes each and a bed. We ate nothing but potatoes for months. Then the electricity was cut so we were living in this flat that looked to me like a medieval castle (at least that’s what I thought in order to maintain some semblance of sanity). One day I came back from school and I realized something was different. The house was full of candles and smelled really weird. My mom and her husband took me into the master room and told me how they’d figured out what was happening in our lives. Cocained out of their fucking minds, they explained that they were Jesus Christ and St. Michael reincarnated and everything was a test from God to see if we were able to understand the sublime life that was waiting for us after this hard period. They then told me to keep it a secret because the CIA was on our backs. According to Jesus, aka my mother’s husband, there was this big plot wherein the US sent the CIA to kill Jesus (him) because he knew about all sorts of national secrets and conspiracies. Apparently, they had installed cameras and microphones all around the house and secret agents were following us all the time. Their solution was that we had to stay confined in that room waiting for the miracle to happen—basically until some magic stuff came to rescue us.
I’m from Ecuador. How hard was it to get to New York? I came to Miami first, 14 years ago. I had a friend who lived there, but she wouldn’t let me stay with her because her husband didn’t want me around. So I traveled to New York, where I didn’t really know anybody and had nowhere to go. How’d you find work? I tracked down a friend who lived here and she found me a job in two days, cleaning for a family in Queens. They gave me $120 a week. Was that the worst job experience you’ve had? No, I had a job in Connecticut where I had to take care of a girl with mental problems on top of cleaning for the family and everything. They paid me $60 a week. They put a small bed in the girl’s room for me to sleep in, and when I told them I was leaving to come back to New York, they told me that the rent for the room was $100 a week and I actually owed them $40 for each week I worked. So they didn’t pay me. That’s terrible. How’d you get out of it? One of my daughters back in Ecuador called a friend and she helped me find a job at a factory in Manhattan. But then it shut down after three weeks and none of us got paid. Jesus Christ. Have you had any good jobs? I was a dog walker for a family in Manhattan. It wasn’t that hard and I got $12 an hour. They had two cocker spaniels named Spicy and Lucky. I’d walk them three times a day, then clean and feed them. How do you like America? I don’t like living here that much. Life in Ecuador’s a lot different, and all my friends are there. It’s very harsh here, and hard to make honest friends. Americans think immigrants are like machines or something—that we never get tired. And they only value us because they believe we’ll do the most difficult jobs no matter what. What do you think of Americans as compared to Ecuadorians? They’re more practical, but less humanitarian. They don’t waste their time as much as we like to. We’re a lot more sentimental.