Tag Archives: pot

Golden State Green

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I’d heard the stories from other travelers. Seemed like most everyone had a story about being handed weed while flying a sign. Seemed like everyone had a story like that except me.

Maybe I looked too middle age and normal. Maybe I just didn’t look like someone who wanted marijunan. In any case, although I’d flown signs for two years in a dozen states, no one handed me weed until I went to California. Money, yes, and food–once an entire cake–and hand sanitizer and a toothbrush, all were given to me as I stood on corners and held my sign, but no one thought to give me pot until I made it to the Golden State.

I was in Ukiah the first time it happened. Mr. Carolina and I had just spent a few days with the Viking and Mick and Karl, his three friends I’d recently met in Santa Barbara. We’d made some new friends and seen some beautiful California mountain land, and now we were back on the quest to return a pipe to Sweet L’s dad and then drink from the headwaters of the Sacramento River. After we said our farewells to our friends, we headed down from the mountain and into civilization where we hoped to get fuel for the van and for our bellies too.

We pulled into a gas station next to the Wal-Mart and stood behind the van. Mr. Carolina held my two-gallon gas jug and I held our “out of gas” sign. A few different people handed ua a few crumpled dollars, and we thanked each person sincerely.

Mr. Carolina had wandered away when the man approached me. He didn’t look like a hippie or a Rastafarian , or a sterotypical stoner. He just looked like a normal guy.

Here you go, he said to me, holding out his hand. This might help.

I reached out to receive what he was offereing. He placed quite a large chunck of hash in my hand. I quickly closed my fingers to conceal it.

You can probably sell that for $60 or $70, the man told me while I thanked him very much.

I knew we weren’t going to sell it. First, I’m not in the drug sales business, because it seems like quite a risk. Secondly, who was I going to sell the hash to? I didn’t know anyone in town, and I wasn’t going to walk through the Wal-Mart parking lot and approaching strangers and saying, Psst! Want to buy some hash? while suspiciously shifting my eyes from side to side. Third, while I wasn’t going to smoke the hash, I knew Mr. Carolina would.

Mr. Carolina lived with pain. He’d been in a terrible car accident some years before. He suffered from a brain injury and what he called a “broke neck.” His spinal cord obviously hadn’t been severed, but I suppose one or more vertebra had been damaged. He told me about coming out of a coma and trying to pull out the catheter draining urine from his body before he realized where he was and remembering what had happened. He told me about pissing blood when the catheter was removed. He’d had multiple surgeries since the accident, and he’d lived with pain since then. I suspect he suffered more pain than he ever let me know.

He’d been on prescribed pharmaceutical pain pills for a while. He’d been a “bad drunk” too, he said. Now he used marijuana, when he could get it, to manage his pain. The chunk of hash in my hand would get him through the next few days.

When he came back to the van, I opened my hand and showed Mr. Carolina what was hidden inside. He had a big smile on his face when I handed it over to him.

The second time it happened was in Bakersfield. Mr. Carolina and I had picked up two traveling kids at a truck stop in Santa Nella, and now we were trying to get them to Oklahoma City.

Please don’t leave me in Bakersfield, the Okie kept pleading with me, although I’d never threatened him with such a fate. I don’t know what sort of disaster he’d experienced the last time he was in the city, but he was really nervous about being left there.

We pulled into the strip mall housing a Wal-Mart and about a dozen fast food joints, hoping the Universe would provide us with money for dinner that night and enough gasoline to get us out of town in the morning. Lil C siad he wanted to fly his sign at the parking lot’s main exit. I said that was fine with me, but told him I’d make more money than he would, and I planned to share whatever I was given. He said I should go ahead and take the main exit.

I’d been standing next to the stop sign for a while, and people had been blessing me with dollars when an older man wearing his hair in a ponytail pulled up. I saw him rooting around, trying to find something. He rolled down the window on the front passenger side and reached across the seat. I stepped over and leaned in to take what he was offering.

Do you smoke weed? he asked.

Even though I personally didn’t, I knew the boys would, so I said yes. The man handed me two skinny joints, and I thanked him very much.

Sure enough, the boys were happy when I returned to the van with enough money for dinner and gas to get us out of town, as well as two joints for them to pass around before we slept.

 

Do You Grow?

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It was in the last days of my second season as a camp host when I went to the group campground to check in the astronomy club staying there for the weekend. When I asked around, I was told the person who’d made the reservation had not yet arrived. A nice guy in my age group offered to sign the permit, so I wrote down his address and other pertinent information.

I meant to give him a fire permit too, so using their camp stoves would be legal, but I realized hours later that I’d forgotten to do so.

The next morning when I went back to the group campground, I had the fire permit ready for the same guy to sign. I’d simply copied the man’s address from the camping permit onto the fire permit. When I found the man and asked him to sign the permit, he jokingly asked if I’d memorized his address.

I explained I’d copied his address from the camping permit. Then he asked if I planned to visit.

I began to wonder if the man was flirting with me. Men never flirt with me, so I’m not sure I could recognize flirting if it actually happened. His being in my age group made flirting more probable, but I decided he was just being friendly.

I told him I couldn’t visit because I didn’t even know where his town was.

It’s in Santa Cruz County, he told me. We have a big organic farm. You could park your van on our farm.

(I don’t know exactly who the other people included in his “we” were.)

I made a bland comment about it must be nice to live on a farm. Then I  said, Do you grow…?

I meant to end the sentence with something clever, but nothing clever came to mind. (That’s what I get for I opening my mouth with no plan on how to end what I’ve already started to say.) Instead of ending the sentence with something at least reasonable, if not clever (beets? pumpkins?) I simply let the sentence hang there unfinished.

Then I realized, Santa Cruz County and Do you grow? when taken together have a definite marijuana connotation. What if he thought I was asking if they grew weed on the organic farm?

I’d never ask a stranger if he grew pot. It seems like a rude question, even in California, seeing how marijuana is federally illegal and all. It’s none of my business if someone is growing weed. It’s safer for everyone to keep marijuana cultivation on a need to know basis, and I don’t need to know!

I’m not sure if the man recognized my awkwardness. He started talking about the zucchini he and whoever else lives on the farm grows. He told me all about the big, big zucchini.

Any flirting that may have been going on was entirely incompetent.

 

Bong

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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?

I Shouldn’t Have Said That

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It was the Memorial Day holiday and my first weekend back at the parking lot. I was happy to be back on the mountain.

A Jeep pulled in, and I approached it. The window rolled down, and I got a whiff of what smelled like weed to me. Instead of playing it cool, like I usually do, I said, It smells gooood in here!

The young people crowded into the Jeep remained noncommittal. They weren’t looking for the trail or our parking lot, but had pulled in to ask directions to some other place.

Instead of letting the weed thing drop, I pressed the issue. I can’t remember what I said, but I actually used the word weed (or maybe pot). I wanted them to know I was hip and cool and with it. I wanted them to know that I may be a middle-age lady, but I know marijuana when I smell it. I’m not sure why it seemed so important to me that they knew that I knew, but in the moment it was.

As I talked to them, my tongue went slack and my words were slipping around loosely. I took that as a sign of a contact high.

A couple of the people in the Jeep said they didn’t have any weed. I said, Oooookkkaaaay, as they drove off to wherever they were going.

I turned to my co-worker and said, I know they had weed in there!

He said, So what?! We’re in California. I love to see young people smoking dope.

I explained I didn’t care if they’d been smoking weed, I just wanted them to admit it.

Then I realized (as so often is the case), I should have kept my big mouth shut.

#1 It wasn’t my business if they were smoking weed.

#2 Recognizing the smell of marijuana does not make me hip or cool or with it. Thinking I’m hip (or cool or with it) because I know what marijuana smells like actually makes me pathetic.

#3 If they weren’t smoking weed, I probably came across as really weird.

#4 If they had been smoking weed, I possibly make them paranoid. Here’s this woman in a uniform asking them if they’d been smoking (a still federally illegal) substance. I imagined them driving away, muttering at each other, She knows. Everybody knows.

I totally should have kept my big mouth shut.

But if the people in the Jeep hadn’t been smoking weed, what did I smell?

#1 Maybe the Jeep was a diesel? I once (foolishly) lived in close proximity to marijuana of a diesel variety (sour, I think). For a long time, the smell of it was seared into my memory, and whenever I smelled a diesel engine, I thought of that weed. Whenever that happened, it was more of a dirty exhaust smell with marijuana undertones. The smell in the parking lot was different because a) I didn’t smell it until the window went down and b) it didn’t smell dirty at all.

#2 Maybe I was having an olfactory hallucination? I’ve noticed a couple times this season I’ve thought I’ve smelled weed when I was in a place where such a thing was impossible, like alone in a campground restroom.

I think those people had been smoking weed and didn’t want to tell me. Fair enough. Admit to nothing is a good guideline when engaged in illicit activity.

I’m going to work harder on keeping my mouth shut.