Ah, the drug test. For those druggies who do drugs often, it can be a scary and shameful experience. But for me, someone who has abstained for such a long time, the drug test is a beacon of hope. The hope that after all this time, I still have my dealer’s number somewhere in my phone.

The sweet release of weed/moderate opiates have been calling to me for months, so when I finally got a job offer, I knew that the drug test request would soon be on its way. Sure enough, not moments after accepting the job offer, a woman called to give me the instructions on where to get my urination on. I knew that gods were smiling down on me, for this woman slowly said “we need you to take this as soon as possible…is there anyway you can go today?” Yes. Yes there was.
And so I went, to the wonderfully ghetto Labcorp office in Durham. I was given nothing but a reference number and as I arrived, I hoped I had all I needed to get this ordeal over with and return to my life as a functional addict. But the door was locked. Hmm, I thought to myself at 1:15pm….the office hours are from 8-1130 and 1-5. Surely a 1.5 hour lunch break was sufficient and the doors should open soon. And 15 minutes later they did.

I was greeted by a scary obese black woman (whom after a two hour lunch should have been much more cheery and well-rested). She sat behind her glass, looking sour and angry, in scrubs that bore no name tag. I signed in on the sheet (thankfully I was the first person because immediately after me arrived an entire truckload of ~8 Hispanic construction workers). I asked the woman if this reference number was all I needed. She looked up from her computer screen, looked me over like I was a cheap whore and then pointed to a sign that said “sign in and sit down”.

Like a good little catholic girl, I did as I was told, drank my water and patiently waited. I assumed that since she opened so late, maybe she had been preparing for the afternoon rush in an attempt to be more organized and efficient.

The door opened, and she stuck her fat, bejeweled hand out at me, pointed to my face area and said “you…come on” (why look up my name on the sign-in sheet when you can just point at me like a dog?). As I get up, she lets the door close behind her mere seconds before I reach it. Classy. I open it and venture into the lab area and this delightful woman has vanished. She moved much faster that I had expected. I spend the next minute or two wandering from room to room searching for her, until as last I see her expansive back area from around a corner.

I put down all my crap and wait for her to give me the instructions. Now, as you know, my dear reader/friend, I am not a drug test virgin. In fact, I have probably taken 5 in the past year and I know that there is a regimen, there are protocols, things that must be stated explicitly and actions that are required for the test to proceed legally. We are talking chain of custody here people. She needs to know I am who I am and that the pee is mine and not some toilet water I warmed in my mouth, spit into the cup and then dyed yellow with food coloring. This is serious business.

She is standing at a computer terminal that has a screen loaded and yet, she touches no keys and does not acknowledge my existence. I ask “Do you need my reference number?” “Obviously” she replies like a stone cold bitch. I read it out to her and after it was accepted she needs to verify my identity. She asks “Are you Chelsea?” “Obviously” I mock back to her. She asks for my photo identification, and apparently just asking for it is enough because she did not lay one of her protruding eye balls on my driver’s licence. Apparently, when training for this job, she was told that the mere fact I was willing to produce evidence of my identity was good enough.

With that she hands me a cup, states professionally “Pee in this and bring it back to me”. I wander into the bathroom and there is no blue dye in the toilet. Fearing that somehow the test will be invalid if the water is not blue, I ask “shouldn’t there be blue water?” In fact, as I said it, I saw the job of blue dye sitting next her to console. “Just pee, it’s fine”. I can only assume the effort of walking to the bathroom and back would have been too much.

So, I did what I always do- Pee in a cup. And onto my hand. And all over my wrist. I think I ruined a watch.

I come out and (since you can’t wash your hands) I place the pee cup down and begin to wash them in the office sink. She looks at me with disgust and tells me I need to wipe off the pee container. This is not an unusual request as such, but again, it seems in orientation for this job, she was told that by simply taking a paper towel and wiping urine all over the cup until said urine dries, it is then completely appropriate to handle that same urine cup with out gloves. Obviously.

So I wipe it up and then I attempt to close the lid all the way. It is not a twist cap, but instead a flimsy and unreliable looking snap top. It holds the liquid gold that is my ticket to freedom and I feel the need to protect it. In hindsight, I am thrilled that I took those moments to secure that lid.

Because this woman, after sealing the container and bagging, did not give the respect it deserved. Instead she drew her shoulder back, and with all the force she could muster, with all the anger that has built from years of repression, with all the fury of a whirling dervish, she threw my pee container. And I mean threw. It was like a pitcher throwing a ball…if that ball was going straight down and only 5 feet away.

It landed dejectedly amongst a rainbow of other golden dreams in a plastic box labeled “Specimins”. I am not fucking joking. S.P.E.C.I.M.I.N.S. I mean, fuck, LabCorp- some employee who’s sole job requirement is to collect specimens cannot spell the word specimen. I kind of wanted to cry.

So I left that place. And I am too scared that a supervisor will find out there was no blue water or that the ID I used was actually an expired UNC ONE card. Or the lab will get nothing but an empty container swimming in a bag of urine. So while I may have wanted to snort some ritalin while freebasing and inserting a opium suppository into my nether sphincter…I could not because god forbid I call saying that they need a re-do.


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