I don't smoke weed. I don't. It makes me uncomfortable and anxious and altogether miserable.
Most people can't understand this. When I try to tell people that weed makes me paranoid, they have a variety of responses:
"You're just not smoking the right kind," or "You're not smoking with the right people," or "You're not smoking in the right setting." They always blame outside sources and never the weed itself and the fact that THC mixed with my particular brain chemistry often spells out disaster. I always refuse marijuana. And then, I went to Amsterdam...
Amsterdam is a place where nothing matters. You have a job? Not here. You're a student? Not right now. You don't smoke weed? Oh yes you do.
I had been sitting in a park for hours with my roommate, two Australians we had met at our hostel, and a bunch of pub crawl promoters who bought crate after crate of beer and kept offering them to us. I was also completely deprived of sleep and coming down from a mushroom high. This whole park ordeal was a blissful, relaxing experience. I was enjoying the zing of the bright green grass, the rainbows in my eyelashes, and on the whole just in awe of life, wondering how I could be so lucky.
And then... someone whipped out a joint. It looked harmless enough. Just a plant rolled up in smooth white paper. I eyed it, looking for the terror lurking within. I saw nothing.
My roommate, who I had explained to a thousand times that I never smoked weed, casually offered me a puff, as if it wasn't a momentous decision. The Australians also agreed that I should have some. After all, we were in Amsterdam.
Fuck it I thought. I am at peace with the world, nothing can get me down now. After all, I am in Amsterdam.
Moments later I was in a spiraling downward avalanche of terrible thoughts and feelings, which is what usually happens after I smoke.
I couldn't speak. And even if I could, I didn't want to for fear that I would freak the other three out. Too late. Apparently my facial gestures were enough to tip my roommate off.
"She's freaking out," she said. Not the best thing in the world to say to someone who actually is freaking out.
The three started talking about chicken burgers, which for some reason was the strangest concept to me.
"CHICKEN BURGER?" I asked, astounded.
In my mind a chicken burger suddenly became a burger with a real live chicken on it, feathers and all. The two merged in my mind becoming a fusion of chicken-cow-feathers-aaand beaks. The chicken did not look happy about being merged with a burger.
"Chicken burger," I repeated and shook my head while the three gawked at my never having heard of a chicken burger.
My roommate changed the subject.
"I want a sucker," she said.
"What?" said the Australian girl.
I turned to her and discreetly whispered with a sly smile on my face
"She wants... a sucker..." as if I had just let out the world's biggest secret.
"You're right," said the Australian girl, "She's freaking out."
A few days later, while talking about the experience, my roommate told me she never wanted to smoke weed with me again. Well, I don't really blame her. I don't want to smoke weed with me ever again either.