or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Shroom
At the time of this trip I was 18 and had done mushrooms only once or twice. I was a novice and had only %u201Cstubbed my toe on the psychedelic doorway%u201D with previous doses like 2 g.
December 5th 2008
My friends S, R, and myself grab mushrooms from our link around five in the afternoon. It is my last day of University classes for the semester. We acquire half an ounce of mushrooms, and we wanted to do an eighth of an ounce each (3.5 g). We decide to wait for K, a childhood friend who happens to be S%u2019s older brother, to come home from work. We offer him an eighth along with us.
We eat the mushrooms in S/K%u2019s apartment and promptly leave. It is unreasonable for us to be in front of his mother on mushrooms. We walk down his street with no clear destination in mind. As we walk a familiar dreaminess begins to overtake me. The few people that we see on the cold street are inexplicably hilarious. We turn off of his street and onto a smaller one, and it is clear that we have collectively decided to go to a strip mall about 5 minutes away. The term %u201Cstrip mall%u201D is not quite adequate, for it sounds much less inviting than the plaza we were heading towards.
As we walk there, it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to stay on the sidewalk. I stumble along and end up walking in the middle of the road. I laugh when I look behind at my three friends, because we stumble like zombies from Michael Jackson%u2019s %u201CThriller%u201D video. We then turn on to the final long street that will take us to the plaza. The road is a long downhill slope with the plaza right at the bottom. Near the end of this street we see a small Chinese lady standing in the middle of the sidewalk. She is looking directly up at the sky, unblinking. She remains motionless, unaware of our presence as we stumble around her and continue on our way.
In my bemushroomed state the strangeness of her stance was too much for me and I blurt out loudly to my friends, %u201CWas she real?%u201D
We all laugh and R responds, %u201CI know, right?%u201D
This brings me to a point I have noticed about being on mushrooms: The world stores up weirdness over long periods of time and unleashes it upon you while you are tripping.
We arrive at the plaza. The wide empty parking lot rolls onwards like liquid and a breathy giggle escapes me. We come to a small wooden box in the middle of the parking lot, filled with shrubs and flowers for decorative purposes. This is where we spend most of the night.
We talk and laugh here for what seems like hours, though many of the details elude me. Several conversations stand out.
S asks me about doing something within the next couple of days; he wonders if I am busy or free.
I reply %u201CYeah, I%u2019m free%u2026For as long as I exist, I guess.%u201D
We all laugh at my wording of this simple phrase, and I realize a profound truth that never occurred to me before: That I am free.
An incredible pressure is removed from the base of my spine, and for the first time in years, I feel genuinely happy.
Another conversation leads to the topic of our mutual friend, H. As soon as he is mentioned I feel a tug to some arbitrary point on the horizon of my consciousness, as if my mind is making room for him in this experience. We begin to laugh at his antics, K recalling them vividly, until our extreme laughter starts to sound strangely, like weeping. It is a curious paradox of emotions felt, and as many come to understand, a hallmark of the psychedelic experience.
Later we see a car that we recognize; it belongs to a guy who lives in K%u2019s old neighborhood. Barely containing laughter we ask him and his friend if they have any weed to sell us. We give them some money and they leave, saying they will be back in ten minutes.
When they leave R asks, %u201CWere they on mushrooms too?%u201D I am thinking the same thing for some reason, although in retrospect they were definitely sober.
We sit in front of the plaza, watching it breathe, and wait for them to come back. Eventually they do come back, but being bereft of the sense of time, who knows how long it took.
We cheer as they park their car. K gets in the car as R, S and myself wait.
K exits the car, laughing, and says to us breathlessly %u201CHoly crap he showed me some dank that was like this long (as he indicates with his hands) then he ripped me off a piece and was like %u2018Here%u2019 and then he was like %u2018Be careful with that shroom shit%u2019.%u201D
Now that we have our bud of white widow, we want to head back to K%u2019s house to smoke it. K ends up calling his mom to pick us up in her minivan. I am so grateful because it is very cold out now. I am slightly worried that his mom will know we are on something, but the anxiety passes when the van arrives.
The van drives up to us and K asks, %u201CIs that our car? It looks different.%u201D
We get into the warm vehicle, and I hop in the back. It feels so good in here, compared to the wet cold outside. The sounds of the radio begin to trip me out more.
K%u2019s mom drops off R at his house, then drives us back to their own apartment. Some Christmas-like piano is playing on the radio and it almost moves me to tears.
As we are walking down the hallway to K%u2019s apartment, his mother looks very different. The best way I can describe her is as a kindly witch.
I duck into S%u2019s room where my guitar is sitting from earlier in the day. I can see a wild look in S%u2019s eye as he picks up his own guitar. He begins to play a haunting minor riff. It still gives me chills when I play it now. As he plays this, I play a lonesome melody overtop. It feels as though we are not only playing music, but creating something utterly tangible.
K comes into the room and sort of ruins it. Through no fault of his own, of course, but we instantly have to give him attention and the feeling is over. He begins to roll a joint and urges us to keep playing. We decide to play one of his favorites, subconsciously deciding he is in control, and we churn out the beginning of %u201CEnter Sandman%u201D.
Soon the joint is rolled and we go to the apartment stairwell to smoke it. S brings his guitar with him and plays as we smoke, but I do not.
What happens after we smoke is very hard to describe. I realize I am still very much high on mushrooms, and now, very high on weed.
I am aware of some constant noise and notice that K is rambling about how intellectuals ruined the world, or something along those lines. This topic became common for him on later trips.
I begin to stare at him directly in the face and his features start to change. Suddenly he looks like a caricature, and his eyes begin to bulge out. Red spots on his skin form and become bubbly, and strands of hair lift off of his head and dance spastically.
Somewhere at this point it gets hazy.
My train of thought is being held up by a %u201Cwrong%u201D thought, and it feels as if I will die if my thoughts are not allowed to continue. Then, the origin of my thoughts suddenly feels like it is outside of my head, as if I am looking in to the contents of my head and looking out the windows of my eyes, rather than actually occupying my head. A voice definitely not my own communicates to me that I have solved the last piece of the puzzle. Although it does not say that exactly, that is the closest worldly thing I can use to explain it. My visual surroundings begin to rush rapidly, and I feel like I am on the verge of some cosmic revelation. The revelation of God or aliens would pale in comparison to what I am feeling.
I try to explain this to K and S, but before I can, S speaks:
%u201CA voice told me I had to keep playing guitar in order to keep living. After that step was done, I had to play guitar in order to make you two guys friends with each other. These steps kept coming faster until I felt like I had unlocked or discovered something!%u201D
I can barely contain my excitement. We have just had separate yet unmistakably similar experiences. I tell them about what just happened to me a moment ago.
K says, %u201CRelax you guys, we are just talking.%u201D
I am in awe by how intense our simple conversation has become. Looking back, it seems that K felt left out because he did not share that same revelatory feeling, and thus killed our conversational momentum.
Later I stand up before my two friends and look down at my body. My jacket juts out at hard angles and I get the strange sensation that I am a dark hero in a comic book world. A clear aura, the first I have ever seen, lightly shoots off the surface of my skin.
Having agreed that the trip is over, we head back into their apartment. In the post-trip period we are talking, drinking coffee and listening to quiet music. I go to K%u2019s computer and his web browser is open, with the Google logo smiling down at me. I slowly type in %u201Cepiphany%u201D the first word that comes to mind that can singularly describe what happened. As you know, Wikipedia links usually come up first. Among the first hits was and article called %u201CEpiphany (feeling)%u201D, which describes:
An epiphany%u2026is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has "found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture,"%u2026
This is something like I expected, but what I did not expect, further down the page:
For the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, epiphany or a manifestation of the divine is seen in another's face.