Last summer, I smoked Marijuana after many years of abstinence.
It was bound to happen sooner or later; weed is legal in the state where I reside. I was a stoner back in the early 2000’s. The idea of walking into a retail store displaying marijuana buds, completely out in the open, was unthinkable at that time. It was a dream we never thought would materialize.
Naturally, we bought our weed from drug dealers. We all gathered at a friend’s house and waited for hours while the dealer took her time delivering the goods. We had to be patient and wait. You couldn’t exactly walk into a store to buy weed.
Well, now you can!
Legalization happened too late for me, since I’m not a stoner now. That’s probably a good thing – I would never have stopped smoking. I needed to stop. I needed to get some “Adulting” under my belt.
The first time I walked into a marijuana retail store, I had a vague sense of naughtiness. I was nervous, and maybe a little excited. It felt like I was doing something illegal, even though weed is legal here. A friend was visiting from Alaska, and we went to the store together. She has a chronic pain condition, so our primary mission was to determine if marijuana would provide pain relief.
It was my idea. She was on vacation anyway, so she was down. You know damn well I was going to smoke it with her. Moral support, I say. What are friends for?
We entered the store and approached the counter, dazzled by the variety of green buds sprawled across the wall and displayed in mason jars on shelves. I was impressed by the friendly and professional staff. I’m sure they’re used to nervous non-smokers who feel naughty entering the exotic weed den. I explained my friend’s pain disorder and they made a recommendation. I bought a bong, and we went home to try it out.
The first thing I did was put on a Bob Marley compilation. I danced around the kitchen to the sweet sounds of reggae as I prepared the goods. My friend teased me about Bob Marley. She couldn’t believe I was being so stereotypical. It was the perfect music for the moment, and it was lovely. We smoked together. After about three minutes, we were both giggling. Weed is never as good alone as it is with an old, trusted friend.
A moment later, she touched her hair and said, “I feel like my hair is smiling right now!” I laughed and grabbed a notepad. I had to write it down so I wouldn’t forget.
I asked if the weed helped her pain. She said it reduced the pain by about 70%. Weed is not legal in her state, and she comes from a conservative family. Thus, despite this impressive reduction in pain, it’s safe to assume she’ll never consume marijuana daily. She did buy a tube of non-intoxicating skin oil, so our mission was fruitful anyway.
I behaved myself after my friend went back home. I retired the glass to a nice hidden place, where it stayed untouched for a couple of months. This is miraculous, given that I don’t remember my 22nd year of life. At any given moment that year, while awake, I could be found sitting cross legged on the floor with a bong and a stereo.
A couple of months later – BAM – something happened. I was laid off from my job. There was no warning, and I didn’t see it coming. I was stunned into black oblivion, spiraling down into electrical storm waves. I could barely move, but I had to drive. I drove to the bank and deposited my last check, then I headed straight for the liquor store. I bought a six pack of beer, and drove over to the weed store across the street.
It was time to revisit my punk rock days. I drank the entire six pack of beer within an hour. I also pulled out the bong, loaded it up, and smoked. I left a message with the unemployment hotline and passed out.
The ringing phone woke me from my stoned alcoholic stupor. This was serious business, so I quickly roused myself into a waking state, and did my best to answer questions while hiding the fact that I was both drunk AND stoned.
I’m sure the unemployment hotline folks deal with people in various states of inebriation all the time. Fortunately, being the control freak and professional that I am, I pulled it off like a champ.
The man on the phone was hilarious. This guy would have been funny if I was sober. His voice was baritone low, and he drawled out sentences in a slow, languid growl. Every other word was a long, painfully drawn out groan. This was his style of speech, it wasn’t just my perception.
My intoxicated perception of his voice, however, did magnify the whole experience. He asked questions, and after I gave a response, each time he would make this transitional groaning sound; this long, “Oooh kayyy, hrrrrrmmm, let’s seeeee”.
He sounded like a middle-aged frog with a mustache. Despite being in a borderline psychotic depressed state, I had to suppress laughter. I covered the receiver and laughed noiselessly.
“Oooooh kaayyyyy. Hrrrrrrmmmmmm. Your claimmmmm has been filed annnnd you will receivvvve a letterrrr in the mail in a few dayssss.”
I thanked him for his time, hung up the phone, and released suppressed peals of laughter. Then I laid down and passed back out.
Few things are as depressing as losing a job without any warning. I knew that I would continue my marijuana flirtation into the next few days. I wanted to completely obliterate my existence. I had a plan. I knew I couldn’t continue this behavior and expect to obtain employment, so I resolved to spend a few days ripped out of my mind, then stop abruptly and retire the bong. After my weed affair ended, I would job hunt all day, every day. And that’s exactly what I did.
The next day I rolled out of bed, played a dirty RL Burnside blues album, and blazed a fat bowl. I found myself wondering why I had ever stopped. It’s a very effective treatment for depression. Pure escapism. The problem, as I see it, is the total lack of meaningful productivity.
Unless you consider it productive behavior to create a song list, and then spend the better part of an hour trying to decide whether to title your mix, “Purple Mountain, Yellow Woods” or “Folk Mix # 7”.
At one point during this multiple day weed binge, I played the song “Soot and Stars” by the Smashing Pumpkins. This song is a perfect example of marijuana’s true value. “Soot and Stars” is an amazing song anyway. Powerful, prophetic lyrics wrapped in resounding layers of echo. When you add marijuana, the song is religious. It’s unbelievable. I listened to the song no less than 10 times in a row.
This all took place around midnight on a Tuesday night. I played the song on full blast. I’m sure my neighbors appreciated hearing Billy Corgan’s voice echoing at high volume in the middle of the night.
I walked around in circles in my living room. I couldn’t sit down. The normally sweet, high voice of Billy was now booming from an intense echo chamber. I was in an ancient stone church with stained glass windows and a gigantic pipe organ. Rays of sunlight shone down across the floor. A choir of winged angels sang. It was a vision.
Soon after, I retired the glass and set about job hunting. I followed the plan. Eventually, I landed a job. I also landed a serious case of winter depression. At some point in February, I started smoking again for a brief period. I was depressed and figured I had nothing to lose. I already had a job.
Out came the glass at night. It was helpful. One night, I came dangerously close to stringing up my neglected guitar after hearing a sweltering Mike McCready solo on a live version of Pearl Jam’s “Black.” What is it about weed that makes music more incredible than it already is? It’s a mystery.
Not long after, my coworkers and I all caught a nasty case of viral bronchitis. We shared it with each other, being the nice coworkers that we are. The virus left all victims with residual asthma symptoms for a week, even after the victim became well. It also completely wiped everyone out for a month.
Struggling to breathe is an unsettling experience. This adventure with viral bronchitis and temporary asthma ended my relationship with smoking marijuana. One weekend, I threw the bong and my weed in the dumpster.
I haven’t looked back. I will not be inhaling smoke into my lungs at any point in the future. Edibles, yes. Vaporizer, possibly. In general, it’s not a priority. It’s more like a last resort than something I feel compelled to chase.
This doesn’t mean that I’m on a moral, er, high horse about marijuana.
I struggle to keep my alcohol consumption within moderate boundaries. The fact is, marijuana is too easy. That’s the real issue. Alcohol at least carries the punishment of a hangover. The hangover discourages most people from consuming booze every day, myself included. Mary Jane, on the other hand, is consequence free. Well, other than residual next-day laziness and the risk of anxiety with good ol’ Sativas.
The one thing I will say is that I used to draw in my stoner days. And I drew well. I cannot normally draw. I do not have that kind of patience. I would rather walk around listening to music or go for a hike. I like moving. If I’m sitting on my ass, I’m going to write. My point is – weed can encourage dormant talents in an artistic person. That’s always been interesting to me.
On the other hand, have fun trying to perform logical tasks in an efficient manner. Good luck organizing your iTunes library and making song lists.
“Dude… ‘Purple Mountain, Yellow Woods’ or ‘Folk Mix # 7’…???”