I played a folk-rock concert at my favorite Seattle coffeehouse, Black Coffee Co-op, on Saturday, December 7, 2013. After my gig, which went just fine, I put my trusty Seagull guitar in its case, said my goodbyes to the young co-op members who ran the great, now lamented, Capitol Hill gathering spot, and I strolled over to the corner bus stop to wait for my ride. (No, I’m not at the stage in my musical career where I have a limo waiting for me after the gig. And seein’s how I’m 67, that will probably not happen!)
At the bus stop, a young, hairy dude walked over to me, said his hellos, and extended his hand, palm up, to me. In it sat a large marijuana bud. He said, “Here, Dude: a present”. I thanked him; but I refused his kind offer, telling him that I had given up smoking weed. Well, he insisted I accept the bud, because he was celebrating the herb becoming legal in our great state of Washington. The good people of our state, isolated as we are in the northwest corner of America, are in our own zone. We voted to legalize recreational weed in a 2013 election. – When the young man at the bus stop was handing out free weed, the law making it OK for him to do that had yet to take effect. That wouldn’t happen until the 1st of January. So actually, the guy was celebrating a little prematurely. – But, not wanting to harsh his buzz, I eventually accepted the fragrant bud.
I took the bit of weed home, put it in an old meds container, and forgot about it. I never tried it — until recently. In fact, the exact date I finally did partake was April 28, 2016.
The last time I got stoned:
I had one hit of weed at Seattle’s long-running music and arts festival, Bumbershoot, in September, 2014. An act which blended Middle Eastern music with techno beats was playing on the Fountain Lawn stage, and I just wasn’t getting into the music. — I like all kinds of music; this particular sound just wasn’t reaching me. Well, even though weed was banned on the festival grounds, I was surrounded by people, young and old, who were smoking it. I simply turned to the nearest smoker and politely asked for a hit. The young man smiled and kindly obliged. He handed me his joint, and I had a puff. He offered me more hits; but I indicated that one was all I needed. And it was. The music suddenly clicked with me (I knew it would. This phenomena has taken place numerous times in my life. I doubt I am alone in that. — I remember attending a concert presented by the truly amazing jazz saxophonist, Charles Lloyd, in 1968, not getting his music at all, having one puff of someone’s joint, and suddenly becoming totally absorbed by the musical offering. So I knew this would work.) — Immediately, my energy level increased, I Grateful Dead-danced a lot, and I just lost myself in the strange techno-Tunisian grooves.
So yeah: that day at Bumbershoot was the last time I tried weed. I smoked it about 3,000 times during my life, and basically quit in 1997. For two reasons: 1) I had my fill of getting high, and I wanted to see if clarity was as much fun (it’s not); and 2) weed suddenly seemed much stronger. Too strong.
Anyhoo (as they say when they don’t want to say anyhow), I sampled a tiny piece of this still good-sized, very pungent bud on 4/28 (why the urge hit me that day rather than 4/20, confounds me). I had no pipe; but I’m a wise old hippie. So I took the empty tube from a roll of bath tissue, and some aluminum foil; and with the help of a straight pin (to make holes), I made a primitive delivery device.* And, I had exactly one puff.
Right away, it made me want to clean house. So I spent an hour straightening things up, using the carpet sweeper, doing the dishes, uncluttering the place. Because I knew that any second, an Authority Figure would be knocking on my door; and if I had my place clean, that would somehow help my case. (Smoking of anything at all is illegal in my senior citizens building. They are afraid we will burn the place down. In fact, for the same reason, we are not allowed to have real Christmas trees in our units. ‘Cause they could catch on fire.)
After I symbolically purified my pad, I took a cleansing bubble bath; then in order to walk off the tension, I went for a long walk, during which I took lots and lots of photos. Looking back on them today, I realize that many of them were just weird.
After a few hours of walking all over Queen Anne Hill, I went home. I sat down and ate a very large chocolate chunk cookie just like the one seen above.
Even though quite a bit of time had passed, I was still a little distracted — off my regular game. Mainly, I was just nervous. — At least I wasn’t fearful of the flying saucer people coming in through the window, strapping me down, and probing me. The last few times I tried weed, even in tiny amounts, that horrible fear attacked my brain. But yeah, I was nervous. Which is exactly why I simply cannot smoke weed. It just makes me nervous. I long for the mellow weed of the 60’s, 70’s, or even 80’s. I’m afraid that young folks with too much time on their hands have morphed it into something that’s way too strong for me.
You’ve heard of heirloom tomatoes? I need heirloom weed.
*If you’re on a budget, prefer simplicity and/or consider recycling to be important, you can create a pipe like mine in about 2 minutes. I’ll be posting a demo video soon, giving complete (and easy) instructions, unless I’m lying. You’re welcome!
I keep the bud, because I can. I lived long enough for it to be legalized in WA. It’s been a good life. — I should note: I have glaucoma. I could smoke all the weed I want, all the time, and never feel guilty about doing so. But my glaucoma is advanced, and instead of smoking weed, I have surgery. Much more effective.
Corresponding with Mike Stengel and Henry Chamberlain (who also has a WordPress blog) inspired me to write this story down. Thanks, guys.
Here’s a great song to accompany this story. When I was 16-18, I was a member of a band I co-founded, the Velvet Illusions. We were clueless, small-town boys who moved to Hollywood. “Acid Head” was our totally innocent take on drug use. Although it was anti-drug, it was banned worldwide, perhaps because of its title.
Here is another photo I took while stoned. Psychedelic, man!