Where would you be now?

Just a few weeks ago I was riding the bus home; as usual, I was sitting by myself, exhausted from yet another long week of hard work, waiting to be dropped off at my stop so I could get a start on my homework before I had to hurry to practice.  There were three or four kids sitting behind me: people I recognize from the hallways, but never really talk to.  They were talking about homecoming, which had been that past Saturday.  I didn’t mean to “eavesdrop,” I just happened to be sitting there, and rather overheard their conversation.  At the beginning of the conversation they talked about their dates for homecoming, which seemed like a relatively innocent topic.  The conversation very quickly escalated to the exciting after parties, which prompted a discussion about how long the high lasted from ingested marijuana versus inhaled, and how one of them called their friend at 3 AM, the morning after homecoming, in a drunken haze.

The colloquialism with which they spoke shocked me.  How could high school students be so casual about their use of illicit drugs and their participation in illegal activities?  How could they so blatantly brag about their 24 hour-high, or their parents’ disappointment?  How could students so willingly sacrifice their given opportunities to drugs?  Then again, I’ve never really experienced this type of community.  I’ve led a relatively sheltered life thus far, and can’t fully comprehend the ends to which others will go for a “good time.”  This certain experience struck me, however.  How do good parents plus good communities plus good school systems plus good students equal drugs? 

Before you dismiss the idea that this was a one case scenario, think about the people you know, think about yourself.  If you had grown up with different friends, if you had grown up in a different school system, if you had grown up with different opportunities: where would you be now?  --  from a Howard County teen