She is a fairly tall, slender to the point of skinny young woman; uncommunicative and has developed a very bad habit of coming to the kitchen late during a meal time; locking herself in the washroom and then will leave only after many efforts to let her know we are closed. It has become a real problem.
On a past Tuesday she had come in for breakfast, at which point she was just about the most lucid and normal as I have ever seen her and as we were closing she took it on herself to help clean up, wiping tables, emptying garbage’s and so on. Then as she left, she gather all her possessions (in plastic shopping bags) and as she walked out the door, I thanked her for her service.
Then came supper time. She arrived halfway through and ate several platefuls of food, but this time we could tell she had ingested something not so nourishing before she came to the kitchen because of her jerky movements that are a sure sign of drug use. This time no smile and no thank you, just left a trail of mess at every point she stopped; constantly apologizing to anyone within earshot.
The change from the morning was a full 180 degrees. When we knocked on the washroom door to let her know we were closing, we got only shouted cursing about lack of privacy in response. After ten minutes of encouragements to leave, I finally had a female staff member prop open the outer washroom door so we could observe her standing at the sink counter as she frittering away time doing nothing.
Out of frustration, I told her that in two minutes I was coming in and would haul her out manually. Two minutes went by and she remained so in I went. She was fully dressed and as soon as I entered, she feigned a sore stomach and crouched down as if in pain. In front of her on the counter were two deserts in containers that she wanted to take with her, so grabbing them, I told her that if she was that sick, that these would be no good for her; I would dispose of them for her. At this point she stood up straight and demanded that she needed them because she was starving.
I immediately took her by the arm and physically escorted her out the door, letting her know that from now on she would be required to leave the premises a full fifteen minutes before closing. By this time she was so out of it that my words were probably gone like water off a duck’s back.
The really sad part is that we see this Jekyll and Hyde change in people all the time; especially after payday. I just wish I had a better command of the English language to describe to you the changes we observe in these folks once they have access to the drugs that their addictions demand, like how a young fellow with a pleasant and helpful attitude can turn in a few hours into an angry argumentative bully that we often have to ask to leave the kitchen. How women of all ages turn from fairly conservative pleasant people into totally obnoxious females on the hunt in the same amount of time.
That drugs and addictions to them are the cause of these changes is obvious. Maybe it because I’ve been so close to them for so long, that it almost makes me feel like our governments have stopped their pursuit of the illegal trade.
Legalizing all drugs will only make the situation much worse than it now is, and we will be witness to even greater examples of the phenomenon of the turning of Jekyll into a Hyde!
Chris Salomons is the kitchen co-ordinator at Potters Hands.