My recent trip turned out be about recognizing and re-establishing connections.
Once again, I scheduled a Sunday afternoon on a weekend when my ex-wife had the kids. I spent much of Saturday cleaning the house.
I’d find out later that my recent paint scheme - vibrant greens and reds - would prove to be striking when contrasted against people in the room.
For two days I ate no processed foods and as little animal fat as possible with peanuts for protein. On Sunday, I had just a mango for breakfast.
I also played a gig the night before. I’m convinced this enhances the trip, as this band is prone to jamming and improv. On top of the physical and emotional satisfaction of making music, it seems to prep the brain.
I tripped with my cousin, whom I hadn’t really seen in awhile. He used to live with me, but we drifted apart. Then he got married and had two kids in rapid succession over the last two-and-a-half years.
By now we had mended some rifts, but never had time to hang out. This has been disheartening to me because we had been very, very close for years. I don't know if he was aware of this being any deeper than just a trip - I silently wanted this to be an opportunity for us to reopen our relationship - but he certainly made a big effort to make it.
And, once again in attendance was my girlfriend, who doesn’t partake. Fortunately, I’m told, my cousin and I are quite entertaining.
We dosed around 10:30 am. My cousin ate 3.5 grams, I took four grams in tea. I had an old watch from my late grandfather, which I set to 12 when we ingested so I could keep track of what was happening and when.
After drinking and waiting for the shrooms to steep a second time, I suggested we get oranges and orange juice for trip. My girlfriend offered to drive.
This proved to be a folly, as the shrooms kicked in hard and fast on the way there. Halfway through the ride I was getting trails from passing cars and some lattice designs on the roadway.
My cousin put on his sunglasses and hoodie, curled up in the back seat. My girlfriend and I went in ... to a bustling supermarket on a Sunday morning. Great.
Of course, EVERYONE knew what was up with me, and the noises and crowds made were nearly overwhelming. It took all my energy and concentration to make it to the produce section for the oranges. The juice was not happening.
My girlfriend was like my sherpa, especially when I got to the counter and had to navigate my new chip debit card. I felt like some old guy from a third-world country being shown how to use new electronic devices in a place where I didn’t speak the language well, and in front of TV cameras.
Back home, my cousin and I stretched out. He had fun walking in and out of view of a mirror, while I had fun every time he forgot I’d put pop paper on the floor until he stepped on it. I took a few sips of my tea’s second steep, but I was tripping pretty hard so I didn’t drink the whole thing.
By this time, the latices became bulbous, three-dimensional orbs that overlapped each other with red outlines. They reminded me of celtic knot designs and also icons and motifs from, I believe, religious art from India.
A narrative emerged wherein my cousin and I had known each other in earlier lives, in the same dynamic: Me as more aggressive in ways but ultimately blustering; he preferring to exist in the periphery, jabbing at institutions.
It’s in my nature, for instance, to take on a full-time job in my field as a writer, then join three or four bands as a drummer all while raising two kids mostly on my own -- and then get angry and frustrated when it becomes too much to to juggle.
He, on the other hand, tried much, much less but would trip up less. He talked during the trip about all the pranks he’d pull on his family members and teachers as a kid.
“I don’t know why I would do these things,” he said of acts like spending an hour carefully flipping over his older brother’s dresser drawers so everything would fall out when he opened them when they were kids. “I just could, so I did.”
I developed this idea that this was he and I throughout history: me leading some sort of headstrong charge, him scampering about poking holes and being subversive.
I began to fixate a little on this being in ancient Rome, with me as a low-rent Caesar, as I neared my peak. I went to the downstairs bathroom to take a shower, but instead sat down at the keyboard and hammered out what I decided was some sort of ancient clarion call.
It was a simple thing -- I’m a drummer, not a pianist -- wherein in I volleyed between two octaves of an E while then wandering around on the white keys.
This put it mostly in a minor key and took on a haunting sort of warrior feel. After that I switched over to a celestial synth sound for a heavenly resolve.
After that I finally took a shower, where I peaked hard. I looked at myself in the mirror for a while, and decided my face morphed into an oldentimes Norse warrior (Odd, since I’m Italian).
As the feel and sound of the water pushed me toward the peak, I kept hearing in my head the phrase, “You are a warrior: strong and noble.”
Also implied was “silent,” as in stoic or not seeking recognition. This second part seemed to tie in to an earlier conversation, where I expressed my distaste for “mommy” blogs - my opinion being, “We shut up and we do our job as parents. We don’t seek fame for it.”
I hit peak and really got lost for a minute. Those bulbous latices became a sluice which I rushed down toward the center of existence. What followed was a weird rebirthing feel, that in retrospect felt cribbed from the Chris Helmsworth lagoon scene in Avengers 2.
I began drumming out a section from the song “Thick as a Brick” on the shower walls like a beckoning drumbeat - a jerky, fast 5/4 “1-e-&-a 2 &-a3-e-& 4 & 5 &” pattern, which I began to expand on for a moment before wrapping up.
This was about three hours in. There was quick, but not jarring, drop-off, and the post-peak held very steady for another three hours or so.
I was agitated for a little, still in some sort of “warrior mode,” and kept saying, “alright, I need to relax.” Finally, I did.
Steve and I sat on the floor of the basement giggling and joking around. I poured some water on the rug so we could watch it soak and mess with it:
“I’m … I’m gonna pour some water on the floor, heh heh.” / “Yeah, yeah, do it, man.”
From there on, we sat around various places in the house just talking. We told more stories from when we were kids, to the amusement of my girlfriend.
And, after she left for work, we continued bullshitting about current stuff in our lives and people we’d hung out with in the past few years. It wasn’t anything too deep, but it was focused to be sure. I took a strong bowl hit, my first and only of the day, which kicked in those pre-peak feelings and 2D visuals again.
He finally left around 6, probably an hour or so after we were back on the ground but feeling the afterglow. The kids came home around 8.
I thought for a while on the warrior thing. It's odd for me, I’m not a physically aggressive person, certainly not great in a fistfight. But I'm also not one to shy away from confrontation.
The best I can figure is that there's either more than one type of warrior, orbit was a fleeting thought to which I’ve assigned too much weight.
The latter makes me wonder if I’ve then outgrown this mindset for psychedelics, the idea of just ingesting and being shown. Perhaps now they're messing with me now?
Anyway, once again the advantage to my schedule is, as always, that I’m asleep by around 10 pm on a Sunday, ready to start the week fresh the next morning.