Friday, December 26, 2008

eye of the storm

I’m a hothouse orchid in the eye of the storm.

Calm, fuck calm: numb. Like in the movies when someone’s ear gets shot out; the sound world recedes. My world expands. I disassociate, analytically watching myself progress logically through life. Chaos ensues.

Chicken and the egg – a mutually dependent relationship between calm and storm. Calm in reaction to emergency, and numbness creates emergency in others. I pretend not to like the reaction, but I’m sure I’m hollow. People know the glee I get from wiggling my finger on their buttons. I know I’m visible – because it doesn’t always work. I don’t *always* get my way. A bundle of survival mechanisms and a wink and a smile.

Creative adaptive dissocial personality disorder. Trying to figure out whether mainstream psychology believes that I am disordered is difficult considering the disorder I find in mainstream psychology. Creative means using the disorder to make a living or more basically – survive. Adaptive means integrated into society. Dissocial includes the old definitions of sociopath and antisocial. Disorder means it pervades the world view, and therefore is very difficult to treat… by which they usually mean “drugs don’t work”.

Oh but they do.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Performance Enhancement: Addagirl!


I take Adderall seasonally to clean the house. 20MG XR lasts six hours, which is the longest consecutive time I could ever spend cleaning anything.

Designed for schoolchildren with a six hour school day, the extended release and soft onset and come-down of the L-amphetamine and the D-amphetamine blend are kiddiespeed. I have one bottle, which will probably last me about 20 years at my going rate, even with the slow ebb in potency.In general I’m wary of performance enhancing drugs, because they are fun. Who doesn’t like being enhanced? Amphetamines are a cheap performance enhancer though, so don’t have the draw or danger of being fun. The performances they enhance are worthless. They allow repetitive actions, pinpoint focus on mundane things… the state they cause seems extraordinary from the inside, but you don’t have to be very far outside of it to see it as subordinary. Wow, I’m cleaning. Still cleaning. Still cleaning. Wow, I’m sorting. Still sorting. Still sorting. Wow, I’m filing. Still filing. Still filing. All while rhythmically clenching my jaw. What a great drug!

Adderall overrides the procrastination function, at least in me. Humanity procrastinates because we know full well that many things, when put off – will not have to be done. Adderall erases that good piece of survival logic entirely, replacing it with “well, I’ll have to do this eventually, so I might as well do it now”. It’s a feeling of substitution, and a need for more substitution. There’s a slight discomfort, a slight anxiety, the state begs distraction. Too much energy – it needs to be used, and when used one feels … useful.

Cleaning is a good thing to have a balanced procrastinating nature towards. If you clean too often, you will just spend more of your overall lifetime cleaning. If you don’t clean often enough, the time it takes to clean that layer of gunk off will be more than it would had you cleaned more regularly. There’s a balance of efficiency. I still procrastinate cleaning. It’s just that when I decide it’s time for a sparkling house or car - I take a drug to make sure it gets done.

I chose Adderall because Dexadrine makes me think I’m Hugh Hefner in the 60’s and Ritalin makes me a black hole, input only. I don’t think I’ve any deficit of attention, but all stimulants focus me. I’ve never been tempted to get spun or tweaked, I like the low doses in all my stimulants with the exception of caffeine – where a medium dose and the euphoric swings of mania that ensue in me are definitely appreciated, but not often enjoyed. The coffee comedown is such a bitch.

Adderall teaches the art of withstanding discomfort. It lets me know where the tolerance for mundane repetition is located in my own brain. It maps the tic disorders, violence, sexual deviance, and obsessive compulsive buttons. It enhances my sense of my own distance from and closeness to physiochemical insanity. Other than enhancing my performance at housecleaning, this is all I am grateful to it for – it shows me where crazy is so I can make sure never, ever to visit this Stimuland of the brain when sober.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

For Everyone Who Has Ever Sold Me An Eighth In Golden Gate Park


I do not, as a rule, buy drugs on the street. Nor do I make exceptions for parks.

I frown on other people buying drugs, in almost all situations. This is because I have had realistic and horrid encounters with drugs of unknown origins. If I didn’t make it or know the person who did, I don’t do it.

We all make exceptions for addictions. That’s the nature of addiction. It asks for exceptions to your morals. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be a problem.

I’ve bought weed over a dozen times in Golden Gate Park. I don’t live in San Francisco, I live about an hour away. On the way I think about risk management and financial stupidity, adding up the gas, toll, difference in weed price/quality/amount, and most of all my own personal, highly-paid time. On the Golden Gate Bridge I hope there isn’t an earthquake, because I’d be horrified to die plummeting into the ocean on the way to buy a shitty two gram eighth or even shittier four gram quarter.

Golden Gate Park is an exercise in spatial black marketeering.

The front of the park is often run by a group, if not a gang, of black men selling the most compressed, least scented, two gram eighths in the park – always in the cheapo plastic sandwich bags with no zipper and that horrible little flap that the shake gets caught in. The mid-section is populated by very old and very young hippies and gutter punks, who create an orbiting cloud around the few of them that actually possess and sell weed. The back section of this space, and sometimes Haight street itself, is occasionally frequented by growers from all parts of the state – desperate to sell off their harvest in eighths to make the most of it, to make rent, to make the grade. Generally these people are less aware of the market, closer to the product, and give the best deals.

In addition to these – for the “drive-thru” customers, for the “to go” market – there are the runners, young charismatic men on bicycles or skateboards who will hook you up, do the legwork for you. On some days, the mid-section of hippie hill is blanketed with blankets – people selling wares which are not, upon close inspection, of any worth, but rather a front for open marijuana sales.

Thus, the park is like a department store of weed. And Haight street has every piece of paraphernalia, every flavor of rolling paper made of trees, hemp, rice, cellulose – you name it, it’s there. The Haight and GGP are like a mall of weed…

…at least from the customer’s point of view. I’ve heard “I’ve never seen you in the park before” enough times to know that from the inside it’s a tightly knit street community – that the proudly drugged out on almost anything but stimulants, but mostly weed and mushrooms, come here to be with other people like them. Low end partiers, many of whom actually live in the park, or on the streets nearby. The regulars. On the days it doesn’t feel like a mall, it’s like an outdoor bar, and I hate bars. I go in, get it done, and get out.

The first time I bought in the park I came there with no sense of direction or neighborhood and a circle on the map drawn by a friend who had purchased weed there ten years prior. I asked a young black-clad gutter punk girl (literally sitting in the gutter) with a double zero gauge ring through her lip “Is this the kind of park I’m gonna get hit over the head and raped in?”

Golden Gate Park? Naw, it’s super-mellow” she clacked out. She then gave me directions to the best place in the park, according to her, to buy weed, hippie hill. I walked about seven feet into the park before a young half black kid smilingly informed me that the tunnel was closed. He sat with a group of other kids, all white early twenties, in my day they would have been ravers. They were clean, warm, happy.

“You looking for bud?”

“How did you know?

“Your cool clothes.”

He sold me an eighth out of a matchbox car case, the top layer of which contained actual cars, sitting in their miniature vinyl garages. I tried to pay Los Angeles prices and he reached back in his car case and eyeballed more buds into my bag. I was too stunned by his sweet innocence and honesty to a stranger to say anything. It was welcome to San Francisco, for me. “Be safe” I said, as I turned away from him for the last time. I’ve never seen him again, which doesn’t surprise me.

The next time twas from someone that tried to sell me mushrooms in a restaurant on Haight street. Though I didn’t want any mushrooms, his product looked so good I was sure he’d know where to find good smoke. He left and came back 30 minutes later with his friend, and that was the only time not in Amsterdam I’ve had weed delivered to my table. It was also the beginning of my acceptance of the Bay Area, this gentle-streeted (and parked) place with honor among thieves.

Now that I have more connections the Golden Gate Park visits become a rarer thing. It’s kind of scummy and oddly compulsive and there’s not much to love – it’s been easy to give up. I’d rather go to some other part of the park and enjoy it, play disc golf or take a run or just stroll. What I do love about the park, though – is that such a low end, unregulated, disorganized black market can exist, thrive, and sustain over decades of time. Seedy and ugly though it is – it’s what it says about the context of the park – about San Francisco and the Bay Area, that I like. We are tolerant, we prioritize celebration, we are entrepreneurial, we are free, we are stoned.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Synergy I

I dedicate this passage to D – who doesn’t know what it’s like to come up on LSD. To commit oneself to an unseen future… an unknown duration… a guesstimated dosage. I bet when D thinks of drugs he thinks of is as binary, “under the influence” or “not under the influence”. He doesn’t intimately know the slings and rushes of commencement. Like a defendant during trial, waiting, waiting… no way to undo the sentence and no idea what it’ll be.

Cultural wars waged over this drug, corruption around its distribution at all levels. And for me, personally, it’s the only one I do without knowing the maker, the dose, the trail from its birth to my mouth. Because its active dose is so small, it’s not worth it financially to cut the purity with anything, and even if it were, nothing can poison in that small a dose. All I know about this stuff is that it had smilie faces on it, it was once in Canada, and a 19-year-old raver chick from Winnipeg assured me it’s “mellow, nothing to worry about…” which for me is a contradiction in terms.
Hear this D: there’s nothing worse than being caught on the threshold. The cowards who choose low doses probably do so because of the fear induced by their very choices. More is not always scarier or more intense. The LSD asks you to choose its world or yours – and only the willing are given a tour.
So now I sit, stomach rolling, body pushing all toxins to the surface in its innocent effort to excrete the LSD – already absorbed – already passed through me and breathed and sweated out before I’ve even felt the first effects.
It’s been, what, an hour? Did I pay for the ticket without getting the ride?
Body check: increased salivation, thick mucous at the back of the throat, head clear and heart rate only slightly increased (I thank the Lord for organic local food). I am tripping, yes, but I’d guess the dose is ~50mcg. Barely noticeable. My parents’ generation would ingest 10X this amount, ideally, I’d like about 3-4X.
To augment or not to augment, easier to make that choice for someone else than for me. I’m tampering with duration, not intensity. It’s 4:00 pm. Tripping is fun during the day, but the night can wear on if you’ve no one to play with. I am not scared of being taken too far, it’s just that I have things to do tomorrow. If I increase the dose, I’ll be up all night.
And if I don’t, I won’t really trip.
I took 2 of those, dammit. And I don’t even barely feel it. People take 1. That’s why they make them, you know, cut that size, instead of 5X that size. Or is it just marketing?
A bunch of fucking pussies, my generation.

I doubt, D, that at this dose you could tell the difference between the great and powerful LSD and sobriety if you were now in my place.
It’s only prior knowledge that hints at the experience. The shadows on the cement patio COULD be purple. I sense their purpleness. However, they are not actually purple. The music teases me with nuance, yet even when I listen for it it refuses to reveal itself. My thoughts glance off of my divinity, but can’t get inside the lockbox. My handwriting could slant down at a 45 degree angle and take up 1/3 of the page – but no - I’m still able to keep the pen in between the lines set by Mead corporation and the letters, for the most part, don’t have more loops than they are supposed to.

And so, instead of spending the past 1.25 hours coming up on the psychedelic that changed America - I have come up on an LSD-tinged sobriety.
Should I have held them in my mouth longer? The 2 small tabs of blotter paper? Would that have done it? They were so bitter. I felt and tasted that they’d been either stored with perfume or that the dropper used to drop x # of drops (x=.02? :P) of liquid LSD on them had previously been used for perfume… but still the bitterness made me nervous. LSD has no taste – at least, not at human doses. Bitterness can be a sign of additives, impurities… Scariness. So I considered putting them in my vagina so I wouldn’t have to taste them – thought better of it and threw them out. Sad – I think it was just the smilie face ink that made up the bulk of the bitterness. Still – I have sucked on blotter for less time and it’s worked swimmingly.
Oh well. Without the trip LSD has almost no effect on the body. I’d compare it to 1/3 of a cup of coffee. Mild laxative effect, slightly increased heart rate/breathing, some mild skin sensitivity, a hint of tension, and a very, very clear head. Only now that I’ve learned to be in touch with my body do I notice it. I’ve had a similar experience, took 2 of ancient LSD and they didn’t work, but I was so “on” that I didn’t feel it at all, because caffeine and nutrasweet set my baseline off already.

Stunning really. That something so mild on the body could be so glaringly real, so terrifically overwhelming to the psyche. Neurons re-trained for life.
I guess sometimes we learn as much from “not tripping” as we do from “tripping”. Today I’ve re-learned these drug lessons:

1. Caution sucks. 2. Whether it’s the 1st time or the 100th, the decision to take a drug is not really in the hands of the person taking the drug, it’s the drug that decides. 3. Don’t wait years between trips. You forget how. 4. LSD will make you lose weight even if you don’t spend 10-15 hours not eating. 5. Never trust Canadians. 6. Drugs definitely make one less nauseous during the “take off” if one has a clean body/emotional plate. 7. Unless someone warns you “This is REALLY heavy acid man” and that person is age 50+ - just take 3 to start with, with LSD it’s really better to overdose than underdose. At least you have both feet on the ground… aren’t stuck straddling the threshold… devoting all your strategic time and mental energy to assessing a state that isn’t.

8. When all else fails, press the giant button marked SYNERGY:

9. Me like the weed. Me like the sex. Weed and .02 on a scale of 1-10 of LSD oh the joy of a bump up in the trip (.03!), the emotion, the empathy, the telepathy, but a dulling of the clarity, the joy of LSD is the trip/mild stimulant, and when the weed dulls the stimulus its just the trip it’s so so good and yummy but my mind, no longer sharp as a tack, ah well. Instead:

Sex! And as I’m coming (before the sex), my mind calls up images beyond my control, beyond my normal scope, every man whose ever fucked or fingered me – the biker in the hooker motel, the black door-to-door salesman, the coked up movie producer, the drunken dogfucker, and yes D, you too, and they all meld into one and became the archetypal fucker... and my current man just laughs and laughs his sober lil' heart out at that... and then fucks me...

10. Three is the magic number (a full 2.3 or maybe even a 5):

What they never explain about N2O is why it is called laughing gas. Yah, okay, we all know the common explanation. “It compels you to laugh”. But they don’t tell you that the deep, utter, undeniable and growing physical pleasure of the experience consumes your mind, body, soul, and a latticework of sound and images of pure pulsing play on human buttons, buttons for which you can’t imagine a use as nothing in the last 1000 years of evolution has touched them and the intensity expands within you, until your framework is undone, your capacity expanded and the only thing left to do is laugh, laugh your heart out. Laugh at the sheer goodness of it all (orange and sparkly, geometries born in the patterns of life!) and marvel at your capability to feel it and as it recedes, you get what you’re laughing at, and laugh even harder in self-awareness, at your own self-induced madness.

11. And later, when all has settled: Synergy Is Good; Make Lemonade.

And now, fuck, here I am. Swearing my fucking head off. Raving about Canadians. In other words: back to my normal old self.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I’ve only been to Wal-Mart seven times in my life. The first two were as a freshman in college, with seniors buying liquor. I was just happy for an off-campus ride. I bought toiletries. The other five times I’ve been were all to purchase some sort of drug paraphernalia or accessory to drug use. And three pairs of jeans.

Everyone looks furtive at Wal-Mart, whether or not they're on an illegal drug-related purchasing mission. Those that are not embarrassed by (or unaware of) the stigma of Wal-Mart’s lack of social responsibility are ashamed of their poverty. No one is proud to be there, from the poor obese souls that spend their lives re-stocking, with cramped hands under multiple hangers, heavy with synthetic approximations of trend – to the greeters in all of their retirement-denied false cheer. Welcome to Wal-Mart, I love you.

The shame colors every nuance of the Wal-Mart experience – when you suddenly realize you know the layout, even in a strange Wal-Mart, in a strange city. You know how to get to the housewares section from the hardware section through the maternity section. You’ve internalized Wal-Mart logic. When you gleefully feel the tension ebb from your body upon seeing that this Wal-Mart has self-service checkout – that based on your innate ability to locate bar codes you won’t have to be acknowledged for buying pie tins, copper wool, extension cords and pyrex by a pockmarked tween who is surely in college in an alternate universe.

Every Wal-Mart shopper has their eulogy to their lost morality: the Wal-Mart excuse story, usually just a re-direct. Mine is “Wal-Mart is the largest retailer of organic foods worldwide.” To “But are they really organic?” I say “it doesn’t matter, it’s a driving force behind the brand 'organic', and that in the long run that makes the market change”.

My hometown is noted for both successfully rebelling against Wal-Mart and holding the front for some years. Enough that a high school friend crafted “H” stickers (with supplies bought from K-Mart) to change “StopWal-Mart” bumper stickers to “Shop Wal-Mart” bumper stickers. Once Wal-Mart finally won the war and moved into the town on the crest of a wave of big box stores – someone actually bombed Wal-Mart. Or the Wal-Mart parking lot, anyway. Poorly. And it was reacted to even more poorly by the local police, who simply shot the bomb with a shotgun. This only reinforcing the authoritative opinion on Wal-Mart: neither it nor its customers are worth salvation. God doesn’t bless Wal-Mart.

The shame hit me, in Wal-Mart, in the changing room trying on jeans. It wasn’t the shame of a middle size fitting perfectly, of thinking of underpaid Chinese women creating garments sized and shaped for the American body. It wasn’t the shame of getting three pairs of jeans for less than $50. It was the shame of the Wal-Mart dressing room – a roving set of walls 10 feet high in a 30 foot high room, walls that should they disappear would leave one naked, next to others naked, in the middle of Wal-Mart, not too far from the sporting goods section where they sell live ammunition and firearms. The nakedness in Wal-Mart, against the backdrop of muzak and ads for in-store products feels as out of place and removed from nature as the lifecycle of Wal-Mart’s products. The shame of being exposed for what I am – someone who knows better, buying cheap chemically treated denim at a Wal-Mart in planned community in suburban California. A greedy, naked, dreaming American in American-Dreamland.

I start to worry that the drug experiences will be colored by where I got the tools to create them and the jeans I’ll be wearing for them but then shrug and give it up because Wal-Mart is fully redeemed by one thing: its prices. The shame is only ameliorated by the underlying, unifying, undeniable righteous beauty that is affordability. The furtive Wal-Mart customers meet each other’s eyes across class and culture with a wink and a smile because behind that shame we know we found the deal, we know we get it. We know what’s really important, not this PC objection bullshit, but what we spend the money we’re not spending at Wal-Mart today on… (drugs). We are all deserving of this cheap child-crafted crap from China. We can have it. It’s for us. We don’t have to hide.

Thank you and God Bless,Wal-Mart, I extol you for taking the blame, the brunt of our wrath at our own lust for product. You ease and cheapen our consumption, freeing us of direct consequence – and in return we transfer our hatred of our own compulsion on to you.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hundred Dollar Bills

I am watching my lover count $7,800 worth of $100 dollar bills. Then he moves into $5000 worth of twenties. I double count them for him, like a good gangstabitch. In these days of credit and debit, of chips and points – I must admit I’ve never seen that much cold hard green cash in one place. Who carries that much cash anymore? Bankers and criminals, and my criminal is deftly flipping through bills, using the “organic broccoli” printed rubber bands I gave him to sort his stacks. I note that one stack smells like cigarette smoke and he smiles. That’s the stack he got for the weed he sells at the bar and grill, to the old-timers and moonshiners in the hills. Here’s the stack from the movie star’s kids, and here’s the stack from the desert rats.

The surprise of it all, the sea of green, the actual flow of the river of money that doesn’t belong to my lover or to me, but there it is… piles and piles of smelly money. The illicit nature of drug money is so stereotypical – we’d just finished watching an episode of Weeds with the same scenes and the same themes – I would expect it not to affect me, but it does. It’s inherently erotic, it can’t not affect me, even after dozens of the same moments. Money = status and status is hot. As I am thinking of how sexy he is, appropriately there is my lover, rolling thick wads of cash up into his boxers, placing those tight green bundles in the crotch of his undies one by one – and stuffing them in his duffel bag full of laundry.

The truly experienced with cash handling instantly hide their earnings from their own view. They sew their money into throw pillows or weld them into fireproof containers. They pay taxes and have a cash business as a cover. Not my lover. My lover doesn’t give a fuck.

After he’s gone I feel dirty, the stench of money is on my hands and I pause to think of all the hands that have been on that money and about how swiping a credit card gives fewer opportunities to microbial predators, then wash my hands with tea tree oil soap. I return to my life of credit, of online transfers and check payments. Everything legitimate, taxed, tracked and recorded. I do this because my parents demanded it of me, this is what it means to be grown up in my family. How unsexy.

Later when my lover needs a loan and can only get it through his father I see why my parents unburdened themselves by teaching me the rules of self-sufficiency in a debit/credit culture. All those dolla billz become less sexy after he needs to run to daddy because he ain’t got no credit – no tax history – no nothing at 33. My lover is locked in – either drum up more dolla billz right quick or run to daddy. His choices diminish. Credit is like diet – it’s a long term investment. You do the right things in the short term to protect it long term, despite those things being uncomfortable. You protect the golden goose instead of hoarding the golden eggs. It teaches you self-discipline… or bankruptcy.

Cash teaches different lessons. Wampum lessons of pleasure and indulging, lessons of splurging and tipping, of tolls and black markets and the slow drip, drip of spending and saving without fee or tariff. Though I wouldn’t want to live in these lessons, there’s no doubt about it: they are a more attractive set. I sure do like to visit the cash world. I never refuse to help count the dirty drug money. I can't help myself from double counting it over his shoulder, even when he doesn't ask. I have the hots for hundred dollar bills.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Little Brother

A time comes in the life of a drug user when their paradigm must be replaced. During this time is a short period where the user questions their sanity. For each person this process leads to different results. I can only speak about my own journey.

For me this time came at the beginning of my drug career. Just after I’d finished the graduate level Cinema-Television Production Program at USC. Left worse for wear after its strict discipline and my nutty penchant for finishing school in a time that beats any historical records for completion of whatever program I’m enrolled in. A three year master’s program shaved down to two and change. During these nickel and penny months, these three before the work was done and five before the diploma declaring me a Master of Fine Arts, this is when I took up drugs in earnest, diligently. Alone.

At the end of this time I found myself on a trip to Northern California with my parents, on a beach I’d driven to in a borrowed car, with a cannabis habit, on triangle-shaped pills sold as MDMA, Mescaline, and ? mixed together, but obviously dextromethorphan of which I, under the influence, took all three of - perhaps hoping they would somehow magically form a trinity that would be Ecstasy.

After gratefully puking up the overdose of said I made a series of unbelievably detached and increasingly self-destructive choices that led to me enlisting the help of a random well-built stranger, and convincing him to leave his young children alone to help me across a super-strong tide.

During this process, he asked me a series of questions to ascertain my sanity. This was the ultimate moment in my arc – here I was, doubting my sanity, without enough sober instances to create any kind of continuity bridge for my life. Now there was a stranger here, also questioning my sanity, and with each odd thing that came out of my mouth his look took on a deeper level of compassionate scrutiny. According to him, I must be special. And there was nothing I could say to change that.

After crossing the inlet once again, the same one signs claim had taken the lives of three adults the week before, with the same stranger’s help (well how was I supposed to get back?), I made it to a shady spot and sobered up enough to think that I could drive. I managed. I went to bed for fifteen hours and woke with the kind of sobriety that makes me pray to God with thanks to be alive and is really better than any drug.

And I return home, and my friend J visits. Thank you J. If you had any idea how it feels… just at the time when I believed I was craziest, you said “well, if she’s doing it, it’s gotta be good, I’ll do it too”. And thus justified my actions. My sanity was restored. You believed in me and made the ultimate leap, trusted me to bring you sanely across. And it was time for me to begin doing drugs with other people.

And good lord, you did mushrooms... then a month later MDMA, LSD, weed, and cocaine…. All in one weekend! And then that pharmaceutical opium, and then San Pedro tea and pot brownies soon after… you did it all, you did it all with me. I wouldn’t, couldn’t have done it without you, and you wouldn’t, couldn’t have done it without me. And finally, DMT.

Your attitude was more diligent than mine, I guess it’s always that way with the younger brother. Just as hard for you to get there, you took steep doses along with me and we rose together. It’s no mistake that I taught you to drive, this is the dynamic we have. You are not the kind of guy that goes along for the ride, so it’s extra special that you got in the car with me.

Of course you had your insanity, your equivalent. The herbal psychedelics you bought off of the internet. You felt so poisoned you went to the emergency room. In addition, you had a pipe and weed in your pocket, which thankfully they took away from you and let you go. Still – this was your equivalent of my insanity. I would never have done your version, and you would never have done mine. I only hope that knowing about mine made you feel less alone in yours.

We hadn’t done drugs together in years until my 30th birthday when we shared a secret dose of LSD and enjoyed 5 different kinds of herb and some whippets too at my 24 hour party. As always, there you were, riding sidecar to my drug whims. By this time my attitude around drugs had soured, and you had married and were planning a future – but it was still the best birthday gift ever.

Turns out, we’re both sane, sane by our counts, sane by objective accounts. We’re saner for the experiences – and more successful. Sane most of all for having stopped, for having developed a very healthy moderation and different priorities within a healthy and reasonable amount of time. Enough time to experience the slings and highs, but not enough to unlock too many doors we can’t plant a guard in front of. Sane most of all for never giving up the drugs, for integrating them into this lifelong quest.

And so you, my ground, my anchor, my brother: I love you and I toast to our shared sanity and semi-sobriety! Thank you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Throughout the months my lover comes and visits my house. The trade brings him through, but he always finds a way to stay the night. His stays though unanalyzed evolve into the kind of time better described by the title “long distance boyfriend”, measured in part by the things he leaves at my house – a toothbrush, his dog’s leash, a bag of dirty socks which I launder and return to him. At a party I try to describe the humor of my long distance boyfriend’s Indian gifts to my household, but realize mid-description that the best parts must be left out. He leaves a scale at my house, always weighing something out, I end up with piles of shake around my living room, some usable, some not. I get treats and goodies and buds and hash balls and tiny vials of honey moonshine and gardener’s prize persimmons or asian pears - a taste of whatever he’s gotten from whatever random section of the populace tied together only by their usage. And then one day, as he leaves from stopping for barely a shower and a kiss – he smacks his forehead as he realizes he forgot to give a northern rancher a clone. Before he can turn his head to aim his sheepish look I sigh and put my hands out. He hands me the box from the new work boots he’s just purchased. I wave goodbye, bootbox under my arm.

I plan to shred it as he would have if I’d made him stay to do so. I am not an illegal drug manufacturer. I do not want business. I do not want risk. I do not want status. I’ve ripped apart many a budding stem before, helping the lover-cum-long distance boyfriend with trimming. Inside I open the box and there lies a poor bent plant in a plastic planter. My plant. My very own plant. An instant, brief perspective change impels action. This isn’t a clone, this isn’t evidence, this isn’t dolla billz. This isn’t an illegal drug manufacturing device, or an illegal drug container. This isn’t an illegal drug. It’s a plant, for fuck’s sake. A sweet, small, living, breathing, plant.

In a quick fury I find a spot in the corner of the yard, dig a hole, plop the plant in, fill in the dirt and give it a shovelful of compost. I don’t look back, continuing in the long tradition of not telling my roommate about cultivars that are frowned on by the law. Two weeks later I check on it after not being able to physically identify it from either window of the house on that side – both about fifteen feet away from where I planted it. When I approach I see it, amongst the jade green of the ivy it blends in almost perfectly but for hints of the undersides of the leaves which belie a lighter, grass-like green. It isn’t as light outside as this plant’s indoor genetics are used to, which makes the leaves droop and further blends it into the downturned leafy neighborhood.

It is beautiful.

I can’t dwell on it. What would the neighbors think of me standing in the corner of my yard staring down for no reason? Would they investigate what I was viewing? Would it bring attention? My exhaustion with the paranoia brought on by other manufacturing forays years prior replaces any human to plant interaction, reaction, action.

In another two weeks I am furious with my lover (demoted from the title of long distance boyfriend) for his selfishness and in a fit of frustration with him decide to check on the plant. The weather has been literally freezing and I’m almost pleased when I find the plant wilted, withered, frozen, whitened. My mind fleets to life, to the beating, pulsing rhythm of survival that unites this photosynthetic expression to my own respiratory goodness. To our eukaryotic solidarity, to our expert and related chemistries, to the power of the sun and water, to the hardiness of hemp. I teleport this sanity - this knowledge that the plant can be saved - far under the rage that infects my lover and me as a side effect and tear the plant from the ground and itself asunder all at once. Throwing pieces of it to all sides as it scrapes it’s resinous and miniscule thorn-like hairs against me in an inept attempt to fend off predators hundredths of my size and without opposable thumbs.

And, walking away, I commit worse than this frenzied murder by patting myself on the back for just having done something responsible. Grown-up. I would have had to tell the roommate eventually. It would have started budding. It would have smelled. It’s against federal law. I don’t have a prescription.

Then, to prove my essential human nature, in a step even worse than the justification – the self-recriminatory laud: I would have had to deal with the flowers and would not have had the self-control to have let them be, to let the plant’s lifecycle play out with no help from my particular brand of nature. Therefore I would have chopped it down eventually anyway. Push away the thoughts that recognize the difference between ceremoniously trimming the first plant that I’ve nannied and taking out my anger at a difficult to kill being on one that is easier. Pound myself into rightness. And as I walk away I settle on the inevitable death of the plant and myself as a reasonable explanation for just about any behavior on either of our parts: “It’s all the same, might as well just pack a vapor load and pretend it came off of that plant.”

Thus ends another lesson in how the lives of humans become a slave to this plant. Looking at the lover – a trumpet prodigy destined for greatness who succumbs to the plant, loses his passion, his hobby, architectural school drop-out because of burn-out, loses his sanity, his will to fit in, becomes a slave to his addiction, then a slave to the spread of the plant, then a slave to the propagation of the plant. Now his life plans demand the plant. Even when some other plan emerges - of money, of world change, of quitting his own usage – in the background he will always grow weed. The reasons might change (more money, just for friends, just for myself) but it will always be there, and right now it’s at the foreground as an option.

And every other tale of cannabis addiction has the same tone – a life dulled by the plant, and then enslaved, whether to support oneself or one’s habit or both. It’s such a slippery and common contract that I wonder what led to so many signatures. Perhaps gardening is such a nice form of slavery as compared to laboratory chemistry – the repetitive extraction, combination, distillation that other drug slaves endure - that the workforce doesn’t awaken to their fate as easily as do addicts to other drugs – and there are few interventions for the cannabis addict. Perhaps it’s just that nature takes on a portion of the work and lightens the buck’s load… or perhaps they’re all just stoned.

The palmate leaf is like a hand that grabs the face, an impartial helmet and intermittent blindfold. Myself I slave away after 9 years of internment to the plant, all those years spent under the lucid awareness that my life would be better, more progressed, more productive, more successful, more real, more linear, more sparkly, more sensual, and more powerful without it. Since I killed the plant it seems I don’t even get my own plant for all my enduring service to it – instead all I get is this perspective. The true nature of symbiosis is always one of co-dependence and it’s possible to look upon it positively or negatively; I was just too stoned to make a list of the positives. The only gift of a non-consuming addiction is to recognize that life grants alternatives – that there is always column A and column B. There is always “sober” and “high”.

So I have knowledge. I’d imagine it’s another useless politically correct assumption I learned in my generational autocracy that an educated slave is best. When one hasn’t any control or power it’s useless to know things, and perhaps more fun not to. To that note, I take a vapor hit for all the dead plants, the mounds and mounds of them that would form across the planet should they all de-compost simultaneously. All those that have been born and cloned, died and transferred, cut and ripped, bagged and shipped as they pretended to serve us, the wily expert thespian plants convincing us all the while that it was us behind the whip.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tweaker Pool

“So, yeah, at the bridge come off toward Rio Nido along the river”

“Uh-huh” Phone between my chin and shoulder, I am writing this down on the back of an envelope, my pen is running out so I’m scribbling furiously to get the ink to flow again.

“And then go, like, past where Rio Nido starts and you’ll see like this lodge, onna them Rio Nido tweaker lodges on your left, make a left, and then another left at the tweaker pool,” I laugh at this “and you’ll recognize the house because it’s the only one that’s bright green”

I think ‘well that’s appropriate’ but “ok, I think I got it” is what I say, despite that his instructions included no road names and two references to tweaker architecture.

Later as I’m leaving I look at an online map and realize that this area is one of the compounds in the forest, with all streets named “lane 1” or “canyon four”, a maze of houses, their layout chosen not by human planning but by the location of the giant redwoods with whom they share occupancy. I dial his number. His roommate picks up.

“No, they’ve already left. I’m watching the baby.”

I’ve been to his house too, way up out in the mountains in Lake County, stacked, pimped, full of weed and state of the art electronics and lizards.

“Uh, do you by any chance know, say, the address to the house I’m meeting him at?” I say, careful to sound neutral and dumber. When the roommate talks it’s clear he is a gentlehippie.

“Aw, no, I don’t, but I don’t think it would help you anyway, it’s so crazy up in there, it’s like a maze, I’ve gotten lost in there every time. I think it’s on Canyon Something, though”

“Thanks, that’s helpful.”

“Good luck.”

At the Rido Nido tweaker lodge, I make a left. It’s clearly a lodge. A-frame. Sign: “Lodge”. Who would stay there, I’m not sure. I’m not sure that designation means it’s meant for tweakers. Rather, it seems to be a front for tweakers. This becomes apparent to me when driving onwards…

…there it is. In all its glory. The tweaker pool. A swimming pool half-filled with mucky green water, deflated grey ball sitting at the corner, pool ladders detached and rusted, sitting by the side of the pool, all surrounded by a chain link fence. A faded sign “Pool”. As I’m staring at the remarkably aptly described tweaker pool, its description becomes even more accurate as a toothless, shirtless, shiftless man in faded blue jeans wheels a cart carrying a white industrial liquid container and an empty jug they use for watercoolers (5 gallon?) across the dirt road. He squints at me. I drive on. The road can’t decide on dirt or pavement. In my rearview, I watch the man rattle his cart into a garage, his neck tattoos only visible from the rear. He peers out the door after me, and closes it.

I stop at the brilliant green house, who for all the trash-bag taped windows still belies it’s treachery to the tweaker neighborhood by reeking of weed. Legally. 215. California rocks. I am stunned at how easy this was to find. No GPS. No mapquest. Just tweaker pool.

He greets me at the door, there are four full size boxers, one with swollen nipples, also greeting me. And his baby, and babymama and babymama brother and brother’s friend. And two other people making a deal. And 11 puppies (they inform me a few times that 2 of them died… labor was so long that they drowned in their mama) in a kiddie pool in the other room. Puppies they’ll later sell for two grand a pup. And two giant exotic lizards, whose names they tell me but I forget. One from Australia and one from South America. State of the art lizards in the wrong continent. They mention the mice feeding copiously. The boys flirt by trying to impress, disgust, overwhelm. In the other room there are plants, beautiful green cannabis plants. The house is dingy, they bring life.

I notice that every time I come to the house they change the music. Usually to reggae, sometimes to hip-hop. I’m not sure whether they’re reacting the dreadlocks or whether they just want to look cool to me. I know at their age I’d want to look cool to me. At least brother’s age. He and she are older, close to my age I think, but maybe it’s just that I drop money to him, and he’s the most respected of the group so seems older. Indirectly, I pay for their state of the art lifestyle. And lizards.

Brother’s friend is reading a letter from a Brazillian pen pal. I get the idea that these letters don’t arrive as often as he’d like. “Dude, she sent me a picture!” he exclaims. The whole room crowds around. “She said she wants me to visit, but not for too long, she’s got roommates, and school”. The usual hoopla over her femaleness and Brazilianness ensues from the guys. I am amused knowing they only speak about a female like this if she is 1500 miles away.

I watch a quarter pound being sold to him for $500 and then buy a quarter ounce from him for $100. Themz the breaks. I should get my 215. Go scrip. But no. I must brave the tweaker path to pick up barely acceptable weed from a trashy kid from Ohio who moved to NoCal to sling dope, talks big, and seems to have a problem using a scale. It’s really not simple to be a good dealer, and he’s one of the worst I’ve had, but has a good heart, so what the hell.

I take a few pulls on a hookah that brother’s friend brought back from Israel - $15! It pulls nicely. Water, red and gold plated base and thickly woven red cover to the tube, still plastics used, but the mouthpiece has a built-in glass spiral to cool the smoke. He makes me add some of my own weed, the ignant fucker. The smoker high is nice, I’m used to the vaporizer. He sings along to “Smoking marijuana like we just don’t care” and winks at me. It’ll be a nice drive back, on the windy road through the redwoods, shifting into the rolling hills of where I’m from.

As I leave he and brother are on the front porch.

“I hate this house.” He says

“Me too.” brother usually agrees with him.


“It’s so boring here.”

“Maybe we should get a couple canoes and some beers and hit the river.”

“That sounds fun.”

“Yeah, go cabrewin’!”

“Yeah, that’s cool, go caboozin’!”

“Naw, I don’t think I’d make it back up the river if it was caboozin’”

I choose this time to pipe up “You mean caboozin’ is one way and cabrewin’ a round trip? End up in the Pacific, floating off towards the Farallons?”

“Hey, I end up in Hawaii the way I am when I booze up.” There is a pause, both of them take drags off of their cigarettes in unison. I take this as a cue to leave. As I get into my car, I turn back.

“Well, have fun you guys, enjoy the cabrewin’. I hope ya don’t end up ka-yakin’”

They laugh at this. I get them. I’m one of them. We’re all stoners. Smoking marijuana like we just don’t care.

I see no tweakers, or anyone for that matter, on my way out of the compound. The pool looks just as bad from the other side.

Later the beauty deepens as I spread the story. JB tells me about a conversation with one of his geek friends – a game of 20 questions only the questions are limitless and the objects are random.

Fast forward 1.5 hours into their conversation:

“So, it isn’t just an undermaintenanced swimming pool”


“So of the set of swimming pools that are undermaintenanced, this one is so because the person or people responsible for its maintenance are using, procuring, selling, or manufacturing methamphetamines?”

“Close enough.”