We’re Not in Kansas Anymore and That’s Not a Soda

It’s 2009 and I’m sitting on a dirty blue couch in my friend’s brothers flat in London, having flown in the day before.

The boys have gone out drinking, Jade is in the bathroom and I’m sitting in the lounge drinking tea with an Australian girl who’s name I can’t remember anymore. I want to say Rebecca. Let’s go with that.

Rebecca doesn’t live there, she’s just as much a guest as I am but she doesn’t know that.

“Do you mind if I have some Coke?” She asks me.

“Oh well, it isn’t my house but I’m sure they won’t mind. Check the fridge,” I tell her.

She gives me the side eye.

“Um,” she says, “I meant coke.”

And she waves a little bag of white powder in front of my nose.


Oh, hello big wide world! Just a young, naive girl from a small town.

So I sat there in total silence, watching Rebecca cut lines on a dinner plate with her Oyster card until Jade came in the room, took one look at what was happening and shouted, “Oh my god, is that what I think it is?!”

Now we were two young, naive girls from a small town and that was how we found out that ‘powdering your nose’ means something totally different in England.

She wiped off the dinner plate with her hand and put it back in the cupboard and when one of the boys used it the next morning for his toast, I didn’t say anything. But I did throw sneak glances at his pupils for the next hour.

Just in case.

God, I was young.


4 thoughts on “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore and That’s Not a Soda

    • I was so embarrassed. But if someone asked me today for some coke, I’d definitely assume they were thirsty. Unless I was standing smack bang in the middle of a drug den. Then maybe not.

    • I’ve never been part of that crowd. I’ve still barely been exposed to that lifestyle, it’s not just not something that’s ever really crossed my path. Maybe because I don’t go looking for it? Makes me uncomfortable to this day.

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