It was Saturday afternoon, and my co-worker had finished his shift and left. The parking lot wasn’t too busy, until a caravan of seven vehicles arrived.
I told the lead guy where the group could probably park together. I told him they could all pay me the fee after they parked. As the other cars pulled up to me, I gave each driver the rundown: Park with your friends. Give me $5 before you go on the trail.
The group was a mix of families in big pickup trucks and SUVs and young guys in little sports cars.
The fourth or fifth vehicle in the caravan was a little sports car. The driver rolled down the window, and I started talking, but I was immediately distracted by the bong in the passenger’s lap.
I’m not going to pretend I’ve never been in a vehicle with a bong. I won’t pretend people didn’t hit that bong while the vehicle was in motion. I won’t even pretend the driver didn’t hit that bong a time or two while piloting the vehicle. But we had the sense to put the bong away when we approached federal land, especially if the driver were about to talk to someone working on that federal land.
Not this guy. His bong was out, and he was proud. The bong protruded like a big glass erection from between his legs. I could barely believe it. I was so surprised, my words got all stuttery, and I could hardly give the driver my speech about where to park and when and where to pay the $5.
After I’d finished speaking to the driver, I leaned down further, to speak past the driver and address the passenger.
I don’t care about that, I said, not wanting to say the word bong and counting on the passenger to understand to what I was referring. But you are on federal land. If a ranger comes along, he might not be happy to see that.
The passenger thanked me. They’d forgotten, he said.
I didn’t ask, but I wondered, Forgotten what? Forgotten he had a bong wedged between his thighs? Forgotten that the bong wasn’t invisible? Forgotten they were on federal land? Forgotten the feds are still opposed to the possession and use of marijuana?