The pre-trip skinny: My dad died 4 days before Christmas. 12 days later, I drove alone 4 hours through a terrifying snowstorm to deliver a late christmas present. I was still pretty shellshocked, partly because I just was, partly because I was there when he died and it was really powerful.
So I get into town, it's like 11pm, I complete my mission and get ready to head for the hotel where I'm going to stay the night. But I stop in the bathroom first and chomp on about 5 dried caps and a few stems. I wash it down with a special drink: 2000mg of vitamin C in orange juice.
I'm always thinking: these fuckers aren't that strong, after all, I raised the little bastards, how strong could they be? I always expect them to weaken from drying.
BTW, the variety: a mix of PF cubes and the pseudo-azurs (most certainly the b variety) from JLF. Now, I like PF, but I find the strain a little wiry - a little speedy. I am wired enough from the coffee I drink at work. I also have the typical problem of nausea, mild to annoying, with lots of PF cubes. The thing about this b strain, it IS stronger.
Anyway, I swallowed the dried shrooms, got in my car and headed to a local watering hole where I usually see folks I know. I could tell things were going to be interesting, because the smells of the bar bothered my stomach right away. So, after a quick, unproductive sweep through, I got in my car and drove (about 20 blocks) through the snowy streets to the place I was staying. But already, lights were spangling, and I was feeling tingly all over.
When I got into the lobby I was accosted by a mob of highschoolers clearing out from some event, and I was getting a feeling I might be in for something different. I had no fucking idea.
Got up to my room, got comfortable, and soon I was having ticks and iches all over my body. I became a little afraid, because my mind was racing uncontrollably. The hicks outside my door in the hallway were making noise, and I was having trouble not becoming paranoid. I thought of taking a shower, thought it might give me some feeling of relaxation and grounding. But by then I couldn't make up my mind about whether to take a shower. I found with some surprise that I in fact could not reach a decision to even turn the water on.
Next, I looked out the window at the back of my room, which looked out on an ajoining part of the hotel. I could see a light in a window, and friends, it really seems like "THE" light, as in the light you see when you're about to die. I was pretty sure as I gazed into this light through the blowing snow of a dark winter night, that I was checking my soul's orientation toward the next life, the next incarnation, toward my death in any case.
Problem was, I got a little stuck at that window. I was hitting one of those time loops I have since read about on the shroomery. Obviously, words do a shit job of describing it, but the best I can say is that I was not clocking the passage of time the way I normally do. I couldn't tell if I was there, or if I was remembering, dreaming about having been there at the window. This little time collapse would become more pronounced before my little journey was through. In any case, I became a little nervous, what with my nervous ticks, loss of time and the paranoia about the people in the hallway plotting my demise. At the same time, I was having a little shortness of breath. Now, I am asthmatic, and I have had a mild air hunger on shrooms before. Usually it's no big deal. But with the bitter cold weather, the highway stress and the incredibly high dosage, I was feeling a little panicked about my breathing. I managed to pull the window open a ways.
There was something incredibly delicious about that window. The sill was over a huge steam heater, so it was like a huge toasty fireside, and with the window open, the fresh air was a real relief. I leaned over the sill, which was a full 2 feet deep, placing my chest on the warming sill and my face toward the snowdrift outside the window. But I was becoming panicked about the air hunger, and I was also feeling stuporous, mildly paralysed. Not a good feeling, especially when you're all keyed up and having a little asthma.
So I did what any normal person would do: I ate several handfulls of snow. It only helped a little. I managed to get away from the window, pacing back and forth between it and the bathroom. The bathroom was interesting, because when I saw myself in the mirror, I saw as much "visuals" as I have ever seen: my hair was dancing and shimmering around my head like waves on a stormy beach. But I was still in trouble.
During this time, my emotions were bouncing manically between explosive greif about my dad's death to hysterical panic about not being able to breath. I was so deadened now that I was unable to tell whether I was in fact breathing. This frightened me, and I tried to catch my breath, only to be confused even more. This quickly escalated into a panic attack, and I found myself getting dressed to go downstairs and ask for help from someone at the desk. This would be bad, because I would have to explain what I was on, and I was carrying my enormous stash. I paced in the hallway of the hotel for what seemed like hours, trying to avoid seeking help, but also trying not to die of suffocation.
Of course, as I walked out into the hall I realized I had left my room key inside, and was now locked out.
I tried to speak a couple times, and was reassured by the sound of my voice. I made it onto the elevator, thinking dimly that I could nonchalantly ask for another copy of my room key and somehow also ask for the room number. I had forgotten the room number the minute I walked down the hall. On the elevator, I experienced a terrible thing: I have read about people experiencing ego death - now I think I have some idea. As I walked toward the elevator, (still having some pretty confounding time-loop problems) I was feeling genuine fear. What if I died? My wife would be so pissed. My family would be mortified. I said "Sorry, honey" over and over, because I was starting to be convinced that death was near. By the time I was in the elevator, I thought I WAS dead. It was like some kind of blackout where my personhood ceased to be, but my mind was still conscious.
I got to the first floor, made it to the men's room, and hid out in one of the stalls. At this point, it must have been 2am, and noone was around. Good thing, too, because I was severely impaired. The panic attacks intensified, and I doused myself with water, drank some, and tried to "wake up" from the general rubberiness and paralysis which had a loose but menacing hold on me. I was poking myself with a pen, slapping myself, and at one point I became afraid that I would severely harm myself. I also was facing the task of remembering what room I was in and gathering the wherewithall to ask for another key.
That's when the writing started. I had blown my nose and wiped my tears off on some scrap of papertowel, and I began to try to communicate with myself using a pen and that piece of paper. It made a certain amount of sense: parts of my brain weren't connecting, I was in a panic spiral, but I could see well, and I was haltingly able to scrawl on this paper. By the time the paralysis was at its height, I was unable to get up from the floor of the bathroom stall, and had most of my clothes off. I managed to avoid shitting or pissing on myself, but I think I was lucky to have all those years of habit ingrained. They served me well.
Anyway, during this horrible time in the bathroom I was in and out of the ego death mentioned above, and I had forgotten who I was. By the time I realized I had written all over my feet and legs, I was through the worst of it. At one point, though, I remembered the past month, my father's face as he lay on his deathbed, the night he took his final breaths, the way he looked moments later - his head horrible and big like that of a huge dead lion. All these memories came to me and for a few moments I thought to myself, god, I just had a horrible nightmare that I was this person who had a certain family, and his dad died horribly. As this vision came to me, it was so unfamiliar as to be stunning. Gradually it leapt in me that I was the person in the dream. Could I handle it? That my dad had died? Coming up from that was so sad I could barely stand it. Somehow, at this point I knew I would be able to be a writer. I don't know if this makes any sense to anyone else, but it made a certain sense to me then and still does.
Then I surveyed the things I had written on my legs and feet. Mostly, they said things like: "It's OK." and "Breathe" and "I'm ok, just sad." But one part was especially weird. Two inscriptions were in one area of my right foot, one with dad's initial's: "XXX lives". The other: "I'm fine."
Now, at my dad's eulogy, this word "fine" played a crucial part, because he liked to expound on the subtleties of words, the word fine in particular. So that was weird. I feel that for a period there he was in my body, (I wasn't there, so it's not like he was intruding or anything) and he left me a little sign. The other thing about the writing and the paralysis was that my dad had bouts of, ah, lack of control of his faculties. He went through a very long depression which left him paralysed, parapelegic. For me, winding up on my ass in a men's room stall writing on myself in utter disorientation was a strange experience, but in a way it was a visitation into part of his life - a part I had never envied, but it was a kind of intimacy, or a tribute of sorts.
Anyway, I had nodded off there for a minute, sitting on the floor and leaning back on the wall. After a while, I came to and managed to figure out that I had not left my key in the room, but it was in the front pocket of my shirt. This was good, but I still had half an hour or so of sitting limply on the floor, trying to gather my decisive powers enough to hump it back into the elevator and into my room.
By the time I was ready to get up, I was out of the horror, still in sadness, but also deeply glad that I had gone into this world, that I had been able to take notes, that I had not died, etc. I left myself a voicemail on my mobile phone, which played back later sounded pretty fucking wacked: I was talking really quiet and fast, oscillating between hysterical laughter and tears within the same sentance.
I slept it off and was mildly tired the next day, but I really feel I went to a world, came back with info, insight and experience I wouldn't otherwise have.