Monday, August 08, 2005
Black Oaxaca Blues
I was suffering from severe dehydration and minor brain damage late Saturday morning when I peeled myself off the carpet and limped into the shower. I employed heaping gobs of translucent purple shampoo and hypoallergenic bar soap to powerwash away the encrusted scum coating my body: sweat, smoke, beer, and carpet fuzz. I exited feeling dumb and clean.
Unfed since late Thursday, I drove down to North Avenue and circled the commercial district by the horse track. There I sought sustenance to replenish my depleted vitamin reserves. One must remain stocked with vitamins, minerals, fats, and oils for one's internal energy factory to burn if one wishes to function within acceptable parameters. Realizing this, I eventually deposited myself within an undercrowded restaurant. I ate spinach and corn and bread and cheese. I went home intent upon laziness and labored breathing. I would not participate on Saturday. I would lounge.
My plan was not to be. I took a call midway through my afternoon of nothing. "Answer the phone, Steve. I know you're there. I'm buying grillables. There's a pool. On a roof! We have drugs! Answer the phone."
I'd been thinking negatively about this lifestyle all Saturday afternoon. My friends and I have been abusing substances as a method of making our lives interesting. The truth is, these drugs distract us from the fact that we're doing little and accomplishing nothing. We're just torching our energy, our ambition, our opportunities, and our futures. Our lives. In lieu of focusing individually, imposing self-discipline, setting goals, saving money, and advancing our careers, we're navigating dead ends, resigned to burnout, disappointment, and unfulfilled potential. We gave up. We're losers.
So naturally I accepted the invitation and scooted out to Schaumburg. Today's drug du jour was a perfectly legal substance sold in headshops. Ever since the advent of High Times magazine, enterprising burnouts have been growing fake marijuana and selling it via magazine ads to gullible idiots and young teenagers. Can't find a dealer? Buy Wizard Smoke! Smoke eleven home-rolled cigars and you'll feel mildy light-headed and heavily nauseated! A great buzz!
This dubious industry has evolved over the past several years, and now they're selling strange black chemicals dripped onto shredded kitchen spices. They soak parsley in bathtubs deep in the woods of Indiana, and once they've dried the flaky muck, they use eye droppers to add layers of hallucinogenic stain to the surface of the doomed soup garnish. They sell this stuff for forty bucks a gram. One hit of this oily "plant" and you're in heaven. If you believe that.
I allowed myself to be goaded into testing this crap while I was ensconed in the cramped passenger seat of a Hyundai. My mood shifted from zapped and slaphappy to itchy and annoyed. I wanted to simultaneously strangle everybody else in the car, itch all my skin off my body until my veins were crawling out my flesh, and jump out the car window into oncoming traffic. Then I began to notice I could feel every imperfection of the pavement passing below. I was no longer riding in a car. I was strapped to the inside of a soup can, and a very angry giant was kicking it along the curb. I was going to die.
It was horrible. Normally when the colors go bright and grainy and the air fills with aquatic noises, I'm tripping happily, filled with childlike fascination watching even the simplest things. Not with this stuff. I was hollow, my skin was striking sulphur, and each and every one of my pores opened wide and started squeezing out the slick clear oil of fear.
"What the fuck is this?"12:00 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
"Salvia Divinorum. Sally D. Oaxacan healers use it for supernatural travel and spirit healing. That was the 20x potency. Very strong. Great stuff."
"It's fucking evil. I feel like somebody scraped me hollow and filled me with pop rocks."
"Really? I love it. Makes me trip for ten or fifteen minutes, real smooth, easy comedown."
"We must have different body chemistries, because it turned me into a dancing skeleton. I'm ready to stab my ears with shish kebab skewers and pop my eyes out with a grapefruit spoon."
"You just need more. Here, burn another one."
"If you say so."
My body caught fire. Red hot irons danced up and down my skin. Nerve endings curled in shock. My feet became inexplicably soaked. The food I'd eaten alchemized into granite, locking my innards tight. I sweated more. I was going to die.
Finally, we arrived at our destination. Sweet sweet relief. I jumped out the damn car. The demons drowned when I finally leapt into the pool. I stayed in the water for an hour. My humanity re-arrived.
To be fair to the drug, it's a lot different if you smoke marijuana first. (Yes I tried it again, in a different setting.) Try it sober, though, and out come the wolves. Brutal.
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