Reefers and vino, rest cures, religion and pills

One of my goals when I was in high school was to go to college and smoke marijuana. I was a squeaky clean kid, mostly because my parents somehow managed to install themselves as giant floating superegos that went with me everywhere, but I knew college was going to be the land of Id, which in many ways it did turn out to be. Not that Ma and Pa Superego would have been horrified by a little toke–they both tried it in college (Austin in the 60s was hippier than you might guess) and just weren’t really into it.

I wasn’t either, it turned out. Or anyway I just did it because I wanted to be someone who smoked pot, and I didn’t do it all that much. Later I would come to find it sometimes actively unpleasant, but at the time I just remember it as somewhat neutral, a social act that wasn’t enjoyable on its own merits. It wasn’t and would never be as fun as drinking, and after college I basically stopped. A doctor asked me once if I smoked marijuana and I said “oh, maybe once a year,” at which she stopped writing and asked, “so why even bother?”

The last few times I smoked, it was a drag. Once was on New Year’s Eve in Chicago and we stayed up all night watching unsubtitled Korean soap operas until my friend made us awful biscuits from Bisquick and suddenly the holiday was officially over. It was meta-fun, like here I am quirkily watching Korean soap operas, but I felt gross and jangly-nerved and tired and never anything so nice as drunk. A few times were with an upstairs neighbor who smoked absolute acres and, when she smoked, went from a very sweet and mellow person to someone who could not stop talking and sometimes made no sense. She smoked strong stuff and it made me paranoid in a lower case way, not concerned that the government was reading my thoughts but certain that everything everyone said was a veiled jab at someone else in the conversation.

For reasons I’m not sure of, unless it was just a When in Rome thing, as soon as I moved to California, I decided I was going to give it another go. It does seem like a universal habit in Oakland. Also it occurred to me if the whole thing is on the up-and-up, it gets more corporate, and I’d probably be able to say “here is my money–give me whatever kind is just going to make me, as people have been requesting for thirty-some years, chill the fuck out.” And that’s pretty much what happened.

First I went to what we will generously term the doctor’s office. This was in an abandoned-seeming but fancy building a block from Lake Merritt, where downtown turns fully residential. I rang up, was buzzed in, and was greeted by a perky woman who took my blood pressure and told me a certain amount of her life story. She turned out not to be the doctor, but put me on skype with the doctor. Because that’s how that works.

He was kind of a grizzled old weirdo in Southern California somewhere. He asked me a few questions, nodded at my answers, and got fixated on some joke about what “now” meant. I said some stuff about insomnia and anxiety, both of which I have sometimes, and both of which I had just heard are what you say to a marijuana doctor. I have the impression I could also have said “I intend to spend the rest of my life high as a fucking kite” or simply “GIVE ME POT” and the result would have been the same. It was the very definition of cursory.

There are a million pot dispensaries in the area, so you use a website called I forget what, maybe WeedMaps. It’s pretty detailed. It tells you what strains they have at what shops and how much they cost and sometimes descriptions. I went to a place just across the tracks from our neighborhood that is very highly rated. I chose the Platinum Cookies from the menu, because honestly what the hell do I know about it? I didn’t really want to be the big nerd who walks up to the window and says “‘scuse me, mister! I’d like to do drugs! Can ya help me out?” I of course had this peculiar version of impostor syndrome: “they can tell I don’t smoke pot, at least not idiomatically” but it turns out they are really just there to sell you pot.

And so began my descent into reefer madness. I write to you now from rehab. Well, fine, not really. I’ve smoked about four times, and I am bad at it. I cough a lot. Once we watched the Herzog documentary about trappers in the Taiga. Once I listened to most of the Monteverdi Vespers. Mostly I have used it to get to sleep. I am now the only person in history to do what I told the doctor I was going to do when trying to get him to fork over the ganja. It takes the edge off a little. It is not as good as being drunk.

4 responses to “Reefers and vino, rest cures, religion and pills”

  1. k-sky says:

    Have you investigated the whole indica vs sativa business? At Burning Man (of course) someone explained to me that the reason I didn’t like pot was that I’d been smoking sleepy indica when I should try cerebral sativa. It sounds fun, and I explained this to a writer friend this week who also has an Rx and he gave me a little sativa. I have not tried it yet.

    Bad at Drugs,


  2. Bryan says:

    “got fixated on some joke about what “now” meant.”

    For some reason this really made me laugh.

  3. GF says:

    I did have someone explain indica vs sattiva, yes! I deleted a line about that. Indica was recommended since what I don’t want to be is more marooned in my head. Indica so far does make me chill the fuck out. I should try smoking more and see if it makes me REALLY chill the fuck out or what.

  4. LP says:

    I’m intrigued by the indic a vs. sattiva thing, because I, like you, Mr. Smearcase, have generally not enjoyed indulging in this particular pastime. Perhaps in the few instances I have indulged, it has been the wrong kind of herb! Not sure why I care, but there’s a little part of me that feels like a failure if I don’t enjoy smoking up. Especially living in a state where it’s legal.