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As we stepped out of the veil of the doorway and into the street, the feeling of a strong marijuana intoxication was breaking through into one much stronger and foreign. Walking down the street, it felt as if I was moving through a vortex. In my field of vision (and to all other senses), endless stimuli would come and go, only existing when I could acknowledge their existence. And they only existed. Sounds were heard and sights were seen, but I did not associate people as beings, and I did not associate speaking as language. Soon enough, I began repeating sounds I heard over and over in my head. I would catch a phrase someone had said as I passed, and repeat the raw sound (as I did not understand its meaning) over and over again in my head. It was nearly overwhelming being in this relatively busy city area, but I was determined to go with the flow of it and simply observe. That is, acknowledge the bizarre and disturbing without feeling disturbed by it. This, however, began to give way somewhat when I looked over at my friend. His hands were in his pockets, his eyes looking straight forward with a frightened gaze. He had the look of someone who had committed a crime and was trying to act inconspicuous, but was unable due to extreme nervousness. This unnerved me a bit, and I had the thought that I needed to act more inconspicuous. I stuck my hands in my pockets and undoubtedly began acting considerably more suspicious than before. I tried saying something, but it came out very animalistic and crude. But it was still eerily like how I would talk to this particular person. I began thinking about how I put forth the pretense of a persona. But what is a persona, really? What does it really represent? Does it represent anything? I act different depending on the person I’m talking to, projecting my idea of what achieves “proper” social interaction. I began to think of a separation between my social being and my internal being. The way I am and the way I act aren’t necessarily synonymous. The way I act is only the way which I choose to project myself; it’s a mechanism based on how I believe social interaction to work…
We reach a street corner. My friend stops and speaks. “What do you want to do, man?” I know the answer. I want to go back to my car and chill out, away from the public, but we practically just got here. I didn’t want to do anything he didn’t want to do. “Well…I kinda would like to go to the car…if you want to.” “Good idea.” Oh, ok. We began making our way to the car, taking a different route than we came.
As I sat down in the car, I proclaimed, “Okay, so, I am ridiculously high.” He looked at me sideways and responded with, “Holy shit man, you took the words right out of my mouth,” He paused. “This could be bad. I’m not getting good vibes from all of this. I feel like I was drugged…” I thought back to how we got to this point. We had come to downtown with the intention of being a part of a popular monthly art event. We had come with the intention of looking at art galleries, but our first stop was at a head shop, just for the fun of it. We were somewhat familiar with the owner, who after a short time pulled out a bong and a bag of herbs that were clearly not marijuana. He told us and two others in the shop that this was a legal herb mix he was going to start selling, and that we could smoke it with him. Clearly, based on his mumbled speech, he was already very high. I was skeptical, but I suppose curiosity got the best of me. I took two or three rips from the bong, and my friend took one. We fell back and began looking at pipes, already feeling what was very close to a strong cannabis buzz, when a guy with his kids walked in. We left, due to the sketchiness of people smoking a bong in a place of business with someone like this in the shop.
Back in the car, my friend says, “Think about it dude: a guy with his fucking kids walk in to see the owner hitting a bong. And that place has a security camera. Right now, there’s footage of us hitting that shit. And we don’t even know what it was, or if it’s really legal.” This could be bad, I thought. Rumour has it that the shop is being watched, and that the cops are looking for any excuse to bust this guy. Which was likely, considering the owner before owning the shop had never been anything in his life other than a major drug dealer. “I’m almost certain that it was JWH. He had it a long time ago, and the high was identical. I somehow doubt that something as powerful as this is legal, either.” I was unsure about the legality of it, and even though I was more inclined to believe it was legal, I still felt uneasy about the whole situation. I asked, “So how long is this supposed to last?” He looked at me with his uneasy eyes and said, “An hour or two,” “Then that’s it?” “Well, then it just like being high on weed” Suddenly, the whole situation felt like some middle school PSA about marijuana being a gateway drug. Two innocent kids get swindled into trying a new drug after being told it gets you high like the reefer does.
Still feeling uneasy, we both fell into silence.
Outside the windshield of our parked car, day was giving way to night, and I was feeling as high as ever. And more than ever, I felt extremely bizarre. I was thinking about something -I forget what- and I began to perceive it from a completely different viewpoint, and then another, and then another. I began seeing the whole of this represented as a blood-red pinwheel fractal, where each tiny segment was a different viewpoint, and the fractal as a whole was a representation of reality. I began to dive deeper and deeper into an extremely strange mindset that I would akin to something between weed and acid, but not like smoking weed while tripping, and really something that was its own. The trip had a feel that I’ve tried to describe as “retro 1970s”, but the thoughts that would normally bring to mind doesn’t really describe it at all. Think of a computerized bizzaro-desert with melting palm trees at sunset with a heavily damaged Funkadelic cassette tape playing in the background….I guess…and within this state, I began drawing out of reality. Out of all associations and into a vortex of nothing and everything, where everything made sense, but only because nothing made sense.
My friend shifted in his seat and coughed, and I began drawing out of this state somewhat. I remembered our previous paranoia and we began talking about it again. After a bit we fell again to silence, and I suggested we put some music on. He wholeheartedly agreed, and after putting on Strawberry Fields Forever, I immediately associated Lennon’s personality as fitting in with the personality pinwheel. Not only can a single personality be broken apart into viewpoints, which an be broken into infinite different viewpoints for looking at one thing, but the perspective of one person can be compared to another person in the same way individual perspectives can be compared to other potential ones. It’s the exact same concept.
By this point, I was noticeably coming down, but I was still slipping in and out between simply a strange mindset and the bizzaro-desert, but not quite to the extent I was within it earlier. After a while, the high found its way to the equivalent of a very minor marijuana buzz, and I felt confident enough to drive. And we drove home.
[Notes: It has since been confirmed the drug was in fact JWH-018 mixed with catnip at a 2:5 ratio. It’s also worth noting that I hadn’t smoked cannabis in a month, and I had done acid a week prior.]
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