Ok, I admit it. I ate a hash cookie once.
I was 19, hopelessly naive and living in a squat in London with my much older brother and his immigrant friends. They all worked in menial capacities at a restaurant in Covent Garden, and would arrive home at around midnight wired up and ready to party. Translation: they’d sit around in the third floor kitchen of our dilapidated terrace, smoking joints and exchanging what they evidently thought were witty and hilarious remarks.
I’d sit with them, wide-eyed, trying to follow the conversation, having very little to add. My first experience of inhaling anything was when the old guy next door offered me and my best friend a fag over the fence: it burnt my throat and turned me into a wowser for life. So I just watched, and listened – afraid to admit I was bored shitless. Witty? Hilarious? You’ve got to be kidding.
Still, I did try a hash cookie, eventually. No high, not even a tingle. My next drug experience was when I took up with a magnificently built African American guy at the age of about 40. Still hopelessly naive. One day, we went to visit a friend of his, and he closeted himself in her room. Annoyed, but not particularly jealous, I barged in, only to find them both skulking by the window, smoking crack cocaine. Until then I’d had no idea that my lover’s constant hovering on the edge of bankruptcy, and bouts with mysterious illness, were anything but innocent stupidity.
Seeing him standing there, shamed but hopelessly enchained to this hateful substance, I remember feeling a surge of fury, disgust and pity. So this, I thought, is what it comes down to – you barter your own, admittedly mundane, perceptions of the common reality for a chemically enhanced, infinitely more palatable version, and then there’s no going back. Admittedly, my brother’s hash was a long way from Robert’s crack – one became an executive, the other died. Even so, I’ve noticed that long term weed afficionados tend to process thoughts with the speed and focus of a wisp of smoke coiling up into the atmosphere…my mental processes are vague enough without adding any extra handicaps, thanks.
My head is a library, a studio, a thrift shop, a museum, a dress-up box, a bowl of alphabet soup. The one thing I’m most afraid of in life (apart from harm to my children, who hold my heart in their hands) is to lose the key.
Given all of the above, am I the right person to be interviewing an author whose hero aspires to make a living cultivating weed in Hawaii? In my next post, you’ll find out.