Last summer, after talking with some friends about their experiences shrooming, I decided to do a little research on the affects. Feeling satisfied with this, I gathered a couple friends from college who were around over the summer. None of us had ever done shrooms before. This is our story....
We did it on a Satuday night. Mary-Anne came over early. We rented some movies: Alice in Wonderland (the Disney version, not the Czech!), Emperor's New Groove, and Fear and Loathing. I also had Sealab 2021 at home.
It's 6 o'clock and Noah will be another 20 minutes. We decide to start eating while waiting for him. I bring out the zip-lock bag. Hmmm... how do we do this? We each take a couple. She wants to take it light and says that'll be it for her. I'm more playful and eat a little extra. I had been told that these would taste bad. It's true. They're gross. But since it was dry, it wasn't so bad. We ate Frango mints to cover the aftertaste.
About 6:30, Noah arrives. Mary-Anne and I are in good spirits. Not sure if we're feeling anything yet, but laughing easily. I hand a couple to Noah. He asks if this is the same amount we ate. Hard to judge. We say about the same. But Noah makes the mistake of drinking some water before eating them. The taste is intensified, and Noah makes a terribly disgusted look as he grudgingly chews and swallows. He leaves part of it untouched though, refusing to eat any more, so I eat it myself.
At this point we're all just sort of joking around with each other. Noah asks questions about what to expect. I offer a vague range of possibilities. We're listening to music and taking it easy, just talking and laughing. Fifteen minutes later, Mary-Anne says the lamp in my room seems brighter. Not noticing any difference, I roll my eyes at this and go to the bathroom. I look at the toilet. The toilet is breathing. This is fantastic!
I come out of the bathroom. I tell them: It's happening. The toilet's breathing. But they don't understand what I mean. It's... breathing??? Yeah. It's inhaling. And then it's exhaling. Like lungs. Breathing.
We decide to go outside, since at home we're still limited to my room. For some reason, this takes a while. We're still talking and getting distracted by image effects. Objects look strange and seem to be moving. Noah and Mary-Anne are feeling a little nauseous (for some reason, I don't). We drink some water and hang out more. We notice also that our eyes and noses are getting rheumy. Side effects. I look at the remaining mushrooms and take out a large stem, saying I'll put it in my shirt pocket. (I'm wearing a casual, button-shirt with the sleeves rolled up.) But I don't see any pocket. I announce that I don't have a pocket after all. But ten seconds later, one appears. So I do have a pocket now. I put the stem inside.
Finally, we go outside. There's a small park behind my building, so we go out the back door into the alley. But I forget that there's a fence all along this side. We'll have to go around the block to get in. Okay, so we start walking along the alley. Time seems to be slowing down. Everything looks different, but not in any specific way to describe. It feels like we're taking a journey just to walk down this alley. It's also not so easy to walk. We're not feeling so coordinated, but laughing just the same. I take the stem out of my pocket and bite half of it. Mary-Anne says this is a bad idea. I respond by gleefully eating the other half.
We decide that going all the way around to the park is too much of a hassle. Plus they're feeling a little more nauseous. We take my street to get back to my place. Along the way, things get weirder. The trees along the sidewalk seem to fill the scene. It's like we're traveling through a forest. At this point we're not talking much; just quietly walking and looking around. Then, behind us, something completely strange. An African woman with three or four children (Mary-Anne and Noah insist there were 10 of them.) One child is being carried on her back. The others are following behind her. As she passes us, she's scolding her children in an African language. Time is moving slowly. We can hear every syllable she utters. There's no other explanation: We are traveling through a forest in Africa.
We stop and let them get far from us. It's too hard to keep ourselves from laughing. It's just all too amusing. As we continue walking, I realize that I can actually see the "air."
We go back inside, and into my room. Our pupils are gigantic. The lamp light is filling the room. I have to turn off the bathroom light anytime someone leaves it on, otherwise that light floods into the room. We're staring around at my room. The visuals are getting stronger. It's hard to get yourself to move around. You just want to sit and watch. We finally turn on the music again. Gypsy Kings. It's slow and calming. This is good. Noah and I are lying on my bed. Mary-Anne is sitting in a comfortable butterfly chair. Objects are dancing. They're dancing to the music. Hallucinations are forming. I see mostly mosaics. Aztec images. Some Egyptian. I also see symbols floating and dancing. I look at the paintings in my room. They come alive. They're breathing. Moving. Dancing. They're real.
Noah describes all of this as a fiesta. He's right. But he's not looking at the paintings. He's afraid to look at them. Instead, he's staring at my blank ceiling. He says it looks like an iTunes visual display. But I'm distracted by other things. I look at our reflection from the television in the corner (it's turned off). I can see Noah in the reflection, moving his feet. But the reflection isn't showing what he's doing. The reflection is a different Noah. As if there are two Noahs. This is too strange. Meanwhile, Mary-Anne is looking around, mostly at her arms and hands. I don't see what she sees. I just see her looking at her hands. I go back to looking at the mosaics, at dancing cups, and at the paintings. The music sounds strange, and it often feels like it's repeating itself. And each 5 second pause between songs feels like a full minute.
Some time passes, and I want to change the music. But the shrooms are hitting Noah pretty strongly. He doesn't want anything to change. If I suggest a change, Noah makes a shooshing sound. (He'll later claim that one time he could see the sound waves leaving his mouth.) We're having trouble talking, even thinking. The music keeps confusing us, and Noah thinks I'm doing something. An example of our logic at this moment:
Noah: "Okay, there's two different options. Option A and Option B. Option A you changed the music but you've changed it back. Or Option B we stick with Option A."
Me: "Option A."
He takes the remote for my iPod speaker system and places it away from me, on his side of the bed. But later he's not satisfied that this is safe enough, so he puts it next to me. This makes sense to him at the time.
Later on, he begins getting worried. He wants someone else around who can make sure we're safe. I have to explain that I can't get my dad. Noah goes back and forth between being happily absorbed and being fitfully worried. I step outside my room to see if my dad is gone. Everything is so strange now. I have to go back and forth through the apartment three times just to be sure. He's gone. I tell the others.
But Noah's getting more anxious now. He calls a friend of ours, Bryan. (Bryan had actually said he would stop by to hang out with us.) Noah insists on giving Bryan the directions, but Noah's completely confused and not making any sense over the phone. His sense of logic is breaking down.
Mary-Anne and I go into the living room to talk. We decide we have to get Bryan over here. Problem is, she doesn't have his number, my cell phone is dead, and we're not about to approach Noah at the moment. I know that I have Bryan's number written on a piece of paper. But where is it? We go into my study, where my phone is. We look around. Everything feels like an eternity. We can't find the number. I grab the phone anyway. Conveniently, now I also have the piece of paper with the number. We're dumbfounded. How did this happen? We call Bryan and give him directions. Now we wait. It'll be 15 minutes before he arrives, but it might as well be an hour.
Mary-Anne and I go to the living room. Noah's still in my room. He's not making any noises, so we feel more at ease. She goes to turn on the television, but the cable isn't working tonight. So we get static. Really loud static. I freak out and turn it off. We hear Noah complain about the noise from my room. Now everything's quiet again. Mary-Anne wants to watch one of the movies then. But they're in my room. This seems like a difficult journey. Too difficult for now.
She's feeling hungry and gets some food from the kitchen. Pickles, of all things. Oh well. We're talking. Bryan arrives. Mary-Anne and Bryan are talking. Bryan's talking about the lab research he was doing that day. He works with rats, injecting them with different drugs (emphetamine, cocaine, others....). He talks about how he pricked himself with tranquilizer by accident this time. It's difficult to follow the conversation. Mary-Anne seems to be in pretty good shape, but everything to me is still bizarre. And I'm shaken by this idea that Bryan has a drug in him. I didn't quite understand. Was he okay? I needed someone around who had a grip with reality. Sights were different. Sounds were different. And the way things felt was different too. There's no confidence from others who had this going on too. But most importantly, while most difficult to explain, is that we were different. Our minds were altered. The world around us was different, but we weren't just observers! We were a part of this world.
We put on the movie Fear and Loathing. Not much later, Noah comes out of my room. He's standing in front of us, breathing deeply and holding his knees. He's okay. But still shaken. He sits down. I'm worried that he's angry with me, and I curl up in the sofa. But he seems okay. He keeps saying, "Wow.... That was crazy...." He and Mary-Anne are getting over it, though still feeling effects. I'm still in another world. The movie is freaking me out. I've never seen it before, and I can't tell if the hallucinations are part of the movie or in my head. Noah also gets uncomfortable. We plead to Mary-Anne to let us watch Emperor's New Groove, which she's reluctant to watch. But seeing our agony, she agrees.
Noah and I have both seen this before. We're excited. Though for some reason the DVD won't let us skip the Disney previews. I keep trying the remote but it won't let me. I feel frustrated, not knowing if this is the movie's fault or my own. But Mary-Anne tries too and says it's part of the movie. Suddenly I get an urge to check my room, to see that everything is okay. I get up and run to my room. Something feels wet. Did a cup of water spill over? But there's no cups on the floor. The bathroom door is open, with the light on. The light is painfully bright. I run to turn it off. I'm back in my bedroom. Now there's a cup on the floor. But it's full. I put it on a shelf. There's so many bottles of water everywhere. It makes me uncomfortable. And the floor still feels wet. I go back to the living room.
The movie has started. Bryan and Mary-Anne ask what the movie is about, and Noah and I try to explain. But the task is too difficult. We're trying to remember. He turns into a Llama.... Who is he....? He's the Emperor. Why does he change....? Well, he changes because he changes. No, he changes because she changes him. She does it. Because she's his advisor and he doesn't appreciate her. But how does she change her? She just does. Oh, she uses the potion. But now, why does she want to change him into a Llama? That's strange.
And at just that moment in the movie, the character says exactly this: What? A Llama? Why is he a Llama? He's supposed to be dead!
So that was strange. Even stranger, every time I looked at the movie, it was always her talking with her guard, Kronk. How was this happening? Nothing was as it felt it should be. At this point, it was mainly my logic and connection with time/reality that was obscured. Not many hallucinations. But then suddenly something on the screen would come alive. Not everything together. Just certain things. At one point Noah and I jump up. We hear something that sounds like a fire alarm, coming from my room. We run to my room. It turns out to be his cell phone, which was on silent, vibrating on the bed. Bryan and Mary-Anne didn't hear a thing. We had super-acute hearing. (They would tell us later that they couldn't follow the movie because the volume was way too soft.) While in my room, somehow the music starts playing again. It sounds very loud. Noah and I are confused. We turn it off. We continue watching the movie, but then I start getting very uncomfortable with the idea that someone has turned into a Llama. I suddenly begin to wonder where my keys are. I go to my bedroom and check my pockets. But my pockets are empty. I go to the bathroom and then come back out. When I'm in the hallway, I check my pockets and they're full again. I have my keys. All is well.
Not long after, we decide that it won't be so good if my dad suddenly shows up. It's 11:30. My dad could be back soon, or he could be back in a couple hours. This uncertainty was too troublesome. We talk some more, and eventually Bryan takes Noah and Mary-Anne with him. I can come too, but the logic at the moment tells me I'm supposed to stay. But before leaving, they go to my room to get their stuff. The floor is wet. I dry it with a towel. But we can't find any cups lying around. I decide to let it be. I'm meanwhile distracted by the floor. There are footprints on the floor, and they're moving around. My bed is breathing, and my room is way larger than it was before.
They're gone, and I feel odd. I decide to straighten up. I want everything to look normal, so I start throwing away the water. But everything becomes its own task. Every room I enter demands it's own attention. I'm talking to my surroundings and to myself. Trying to figure out what I'm doing. Going over a huge process to reach a conclusion, then going somewhere else and forgetting why. And then I get the idea to come up with an answer, and go through the same steps to get to the same conclusion, or something else.
I find myself counting and identifying things. Those are two cups. One is full, and one is mostly not full. The one that is full is not unfull, and the one that is mostly not full is also not full. All of this takes a long time.
Then I decided I should watch something. Or maybe hear something. Which one? I put on the television. It's Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. The scene I turn on has Spike at bazaar, asking some guy about his business. He sells drugs. I had turned on the movie at the one moment when there's any mention of drugs whatsoever. But the movie is too slow. I'm not interested in it. I try music, but it feels out of place. I want to interact with something, not sit by.
I go online. (And yes, my computer screen was alive, even 3D.) I check facebook. I have a message. It's from Caroline (a friend of mine). Here's her message:
"fun jeff! How are you doing?! I hope you have had an awesome summer...are you an O-aide? We must party together when we get back...and I suppose other people can come to. Miss you! See you soon Mister! I'll take a rum and coke..."
Of all the nights, I get this message at just this moment. There's no such thing as a mere coincidence anymore. Anything strange is REALLY strange.
Eventually I decided to go to sleep, and when I woke up, I was back. No more dancing cups. No more living paintings. Not even breathing toilets. Actually, it was a little sad, but I felt relaxed and in good-spirits. There's probably a lot more to say about this. In the end, all I can tell people is that for a good five or six hours, the three of us were literally insane. No matter how many stories you might hear, it's not something a person can understand without going through it. Tripping... is an experience. Different from anything else. Wonderful or even frightning, but definitely different....