A Stoner’s Trip

DISCLAIMER:  This is fictional story.  It is an instalment of a series of fictional stories involving drug use as a central plot theme.  Reader discretion is advised.  The provision of this story over the Internet, or through any other means of communication, is not to be interpreted as a suggestion or recommendation to use drugs.  The reader assumes any and all responsibilities derived from his or her actions.

2008 12 22, Marijuana, Environment, and Salvia Flashbacks, by George Bookman (.txt)

I have not smoked Salvia divinorum since the seventh of June.  And the last time I smoked pot prior to yesterday morning, on the tenth of October, I had no salvia flashback.  Nevertheless, yesterday morning, the marijuana I smoked triggered a flashback, which I proceeded to study.

The story begins on the night of Saturday, 20 December.  Boris and I had decided to go to a club to see a band.  The club was downtown in Penn City, not far from Boris’s friend Jim’s place.

At the club, we run into Jenna, Jim’s girlfriend, who thus informed us that she was on ’shrooms.

The smell of marijuana often wafted through the club.  Boris noted that these people must be brave, considering that not even smoking cigarettes is permitted within the establishment.  This isn’t to say that the authorities weren’t trying to stop illegal activity.  On the contrary, when I re-entered the building, a security guard asked me what I’d just placed in my coat pocket.  I had to explain to him that it was this thing called a hat, designed primarily to keep my head warm during these snowy months.

Despite the security, drugs were around.  Someone gave Boris a tiny bit of pot, which he fashioned into a make-shift joint using a hallowed-out cigarette.  This is, in fact, why we were outside: so that Jenna and Boris could smoke this make-shift joint.  Apparently, however, there was only enough marijuana for a single hit, and that hit was taken by Boris.

This is not all Boris did during the night.  He later bought $20 worth of chocolate-covered ’shrooms from some random guy, which he ate in the bathroom.  Further, he had been drinking during the night.

Although I was sober, I had fun.  I was enjoying the music and dancing thereto.  Toward the end of the night, I find Boris sitting on this long bleacher-like construction.  It was here that I discovered that he had already eaten the ’shrooms.  I asked him what he was planning to do about getting home, and he said that, effectively, that he hadn’t thought about it yet, and did not intend to think about it until time arrived to make a decision.  I thought this was rather careless of him.

Earlier in the night, we had made plans with Jenna to head over to Jim’s place to crash for the night, and perhaps do a few other things if the night was still young.  But I had no directions to get to Jim’s, and was sort of relying at this point on Boris.  I asked him when he thought he would be ready to go, and he said he’d be ready when the club kicked him out.  The ’shrooms, it seemed, were preventing him from doing much else.

I told Boris that the members of the main band were at a table along the far wall signing (and selling) stuff.  He replied that my information presented to him a conundrum: should he stay where he is, or head over there to get something signed by his one of his favourite bands?  Recalling that I had faced a similarly-nonvital conundrum the first time I used ’shrooms, I opted to inform my friend that both were good options, and that he really couldn’t go wrong with either.  He opted to stay more or less where he was.

The club closed at 2:00 AM.  About fifteen minutes prior to that, the lights came on, all music stopped, and people were no longer dancing.  Nevertheless, Boris still heard music.  All I heard were my ears ringing and many voices talking.  But Boris insisted he still heard music; so, we proceeded to ask people around us.  Everyone confirmed my position—that the music—had ceased, yet Boris found believing us difficult.  “You’re kidding me, right?” he kept asking.

At this juncture an important question arose: was Boris going to drive?  He kept insisting that he couldn’t leave his car there, while I kept insisting that he couldn’t drive, and that I had to drive him.  Eventually I succeeded in convincing my friend.  However, neither of us were positive how to get to Jim’s.  We began to cross the street, but Boris got side-tracked into thinking, not realising that there was traffic behind him.  I hurried my friend out of the way of traffic.  He called Jim, and then handed me the phone, realising that he was not going to be able to understand Jim’s directions under his condition.

I got directions from Jim going from Interstate 42 to his place.  I did not, however, get directions from him going from the club to Interstate 42, as I felt fairly confident that Boris would at least know that.  Getting directions over the phone is not the easiest thing to do when your friend, who is on ’shrooms, is replying to you as though you are talking to him, when in fact you are not and are instead talking to his friend on the phone.  But I made do, and looking back must admit the situation was a bit humourous.

Unfortunately, we drove around for an hour just looking for Interstate 42.  If it had been sunny out, or if Boris had been drug free at the moment, we would have immediately realised that the ramp to get onto 42 was right next to the club.  Alas, I spent the hour driving.

We asked two or three people for directions, and were following said directions until Boris said that Interstate 42 would be in “that direction,” at which point I took his advice.  That was a mistake—each time.  Eventually, I got Boris to call Jim and hand me the phone.  Five minutes later, we were at Jim’s.  Throughout the ride, Boris was laughing, although I was hardly ever sure precisely at what.  But it was all cool in the end, for we arrived safely at the destination.  And, most importantly, Boris wasn’t behind a wheel—that, I’m afraid, would have been a disaster.

Upon arriving at Jim’s at three in the morning, yesterday morning, we found a variety of people smoking pot or playing video games.  We also discovered a lot of amazing art that Jim’s roommate had made.  I was flabbergasted: this guy’s art was amazing.  I was all the more flabbergasted as I’ve never painted anything in my life.  This guy was extremely talented.

This one guy, whose name I do not think I caught, was smoking some pot.  I asked him if that was just for him or if it was for anyone in the room.  I believe it was actually just for him, but he was willing to share some with Boris and I.  I took my first hit at 3:13 AM, but I didn’t get much out of it—I believe the contents were mostly burned up.  The guy packed a bit more, smoked, passed it to Boris who smoked, and then allowed it to be passed to me.  Again, I don’t think I got anything of substance out of it.  This was around 3:20 AM.

Around this point, Boris opted to play Mario Cart with some other people, and thus I was sitting directly next to the gentleman with the weed, no longer segregated by Boris.  He repacked his pipe, and I had at least one big hit around 3:30 AM.  It was probably only a minute or two before I was under the influence, if even that.

The guy mentioned to me that the pot we were smoking tasted like maple.  Supposedly this was a good thing, as Boris had noted upon seeing the bag, that this was some high grade stuff.  I at first didn’t taste anything, but there was indeed an aftertaste.  At this point, I cannot remember the exact aftertaste I experienced, and could just as easily say it was hickory as I would say it was maple.  But the guy said it was maple, and I saw little reason to doubt his expertise in the matter.

I don’t know if I had a second good hit or not, but in any event, I began experiencing a salvia flashback at this point.  I informed Boris, and then asked Jim if he had any water.  He pointed me in the direction of the kitchen, and I was much obliged.

Retrieving the water was not the easiest task.  Indeed, I was not even sure I could walk.  But, I persevered and found my way to the kitchen, at which point it was merely a matter of finding a glass and filling it.  I had to be very careful, however, as I did not wish to break the glass; I figured, correctly, that doing so would make me a bad guest.

Finally I had myself a glass of water and I returned to the group.

After that, the order of the bits and pieces of the night are not wholly clear to me.  I do recall, however, coming across a number of interesting thoughts, some of which I took the time to write down on a scrap of paper.  Questions I wrote down include:

  • What is intelligence?
  • What is life?
  • Am I alive?
  • What am I?  (What animal an I?)
  • Am I brilliant or retarded?
  • What is ethical (right), what isn’t?
  • Are we in 1984 and don’t know it because we’ve been brainwashed to believe the “real 1984” is worse than we’ve got?

I think I ought to explain each one of these.

The first question is a basic philosophy-of-the-mind question.  One could also ask, what is consciousness?  How is it that a thing, such as ourselves, can be conscious?  Some philosophers will even go so far as to ask, are we really conscious?  These are questions that, for the most part, lack a definitive answer in the philosophical community.  The debate between free will and determinism obviously connected to these questions.

The second question stemmed from the first.  What is life itself?  I have elsewhere pondered on this topic, but see little need to go into detail about my thoughts here.  The third question is much more interesting, and stemmed from the second.

Am I alive?  The question seems like an odd one.  "Of course I'm alive," most would proclaim.  But philosophically, is this necessarily the case?  Even if we discount the idea that ghosts could think they're alive while not actually being so, I always find myself rejecting Descartes's view that his mere thoughts "prove" his own existence.  I could go into detail about this, but I've already done so in essays and find little utility in making the same exact arguments here.  Suffice it to say Descartes does not convince me.  Besides, my views on Descartes were not what I was thinking about when I was asking myself this question, and I only discuss it now in case it is of some brief concern to the reader.

No.  Instead, I was thinking about such topics as quantum immortality, memory, and the being of action.

Quantum immortality is the concept in theoretical physics that holds that no one ever really dies--that is, if there are an infinite number of universes.  At every minute of your existence, you could die.  A piano could fall on your head and kill you instantly; or, it could just miss you.  In one universe, according to this view, you die; and in the other, you do not.  Since your consciousness would cease to exist in the universe in which you die, it could only continue in that universe in which you live.  Thus, you will never experience death--if this theory is correct--since your consciousness will always continue in a universe in which you're still alive.  The reason we do not see people living infinitely-long lives in "this" universe is because the portion of universes needed for eternal life are so few and far between.  I don't know if anyone actually believes this theory is correct, but it is a theory held by some at least for its philosophical merit.

Anyway, I was thinking about it in reverse.  I was thinking about how many infinite number of times I must have died.  I was also thinking about memory, and how I am unable to remember my birth.  Did it actually happen, or do I just think it happened because I'm accepting the lies given to me by others?

Finally, I was thinking about the being of action, a concept I developed after having used salvia.  As you will recall, while experiencing the radical effects of that drug, I questioned if I was the experience of turning left.  Perhaps, instead of being the person who turns left, and am merely his experience at that moment in time.  Remember, although marijuana is not--at least not in doses typically consumed--a real hallucinogen, salvia is.

Perhaps some definitions are in order.  A layperson definition for hallucination is an experience that one believes to be true, even though it's not, while a pseudohallucination is an experience that is unreal and is known to be unreal.  Salvia causes a real hallucination, and if it had lasted longer, I may very well have come to the conclusion that I indeed was the action of turning left.  As it were, I was still deciding when I came out of the experience.  More recently, on marijuana, I did not believe I was any action and was extremely unlikely to come to such a conclusion.  But I was still considering the possibility, at least from a philosophical standpoint.


Previous Story


Next Story