It was a beautiful late summer day in Cleveland, and my boyfriend and I had been lucky enough to get our hands on a little bag of crumbled mushrooms.
It was a beautiful late summer day in Cleveland, and my boyfriend and I had been lucky enough to get our hands on a little bag of crumbled mushrooms. Having never tried any kind of psychedelic before, we were uncertain what to expect, and, perhaps unwisely, decided to overload our brains with sensory information. We swallowed dry about two mushrooms each, and headed for the Museum of Natural History, which is full of dead stuffed animals in threatening poses. We wandered around feeling extremely excited for about 45 minutes before realizing it wasn’t working; we weren’t tripping. We were seeing odd things out of the corner of our eyes, like small scurrying animals, but I normally hallucinate stuff like that. So we left, and were standing in the park next to the Museum, and swallowed the rest of the bag, which was just a mouthful of dry powder. A gust of wind blew some in my hair and face, and I found that hilarious. Then we headed for the Museum of Art, which is one of the country’s better museums. We rushed through the eighteenth and nineteenth century collections, knowing instinctively that the twentieth century would have something to offer, being in the particular state we were in. I sat down in front of Monet’s Waterlilies, which is an enormous and very impressionistic work. Soon I was seeing multiple layers of imagery slowly shifting over each other, it seemed like rows of rotting and crying disembodied heads, moving and turning, with some arms reaching out. This might sound like the beginnings of a bad trip, but I was thrilled, my eyes afraid to blink that it might fade away. I found it deliciously ironic that I would be seeing such grotesque imagery in such an insipid and benign painting. I realized that the guard had been hovering in the doorway looking rather suspiciously at me, because while you are supposed to look at art, you’re not supposed to stare at it, transfixed, for ten minutes. I moved on, and to my utmost joy and satisfaction, I saw that virtually all the painters of the twentieth century must have intended their work to be seen in such a state as mine; indeed, mine was the ideal state. Rothko and Pollock were unbelievably sublime, rich with dense layers of shifting imagery. I finally understood this stuff- I loved it! I watched the other museum goers squinting at the painting and making dissatisfied grunts, and I felt superior. I went to the bathroom in the museum, and I wouldn’t recommend it, especially for all the girls out there. (There are girls who go to this site, aren’t there?) The harsh fluorescent light made me look like a week-old corpse; my flesh was yellow and decayed, and I saw rivulets of blood running down my arms. Then I wandered into a new exhibition of the photographer Cindy Sherman, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with her newest work, it’s all about sex and decay and the grotesque. There were these lifelike dolls crawling with bugs and coated with moss, sticking bizarre objects into their orifices. My mind was swirling with all of these images, and my filthiest nightmare couldn’t compete with what I was actually seeing. I didn’t stay long, sensing that too much of this kind of input in my heightened state could alter me permanently. We left and spent the rest of the afternoon in the Public Gardens, which was most soothing. The high lasted several hours, and at the end of the day we felt as we had exercised, got a massage, and had a great meal, when in reality we had done none of these things. The mushroom is truly a phenomenal fungus, and I recommend a day of visual stimulation such as this one for your lighter trips.