Friday, December 3, 2010


We always had weed. We would go to buy more before we ran out and we would usually get high while we were there with whomever we bought from—that’s probably in the stoner’s bill of rights if there is one. And we usually had good weed. We had been to the Cannabis Cup, after all. In Amsterdam. Anyone can be a judge, mind you, you just have to have your wits about you enough to sign up and show up. This is harder than it sounds, given the industrial strength product one is dealing with once one has arrived in Amsterdam.

Harry and I had met in New York and flown over to Amsterdam together. We hadn’t seen each other in almost a year. I got a terrible cold the day before I left so I spent most of my time in the (teensy tiny) hotel room.

We went to each of the coffeehouses on the “menu” and tried all the entries for the Cannabis Cup. We chatted with the other foreigners. Everyone spoke English. We met one guy who told us that someone had stolen a bag of weed from him in the square. He called out to a nearby policeman who chased the thief down and made him give it back. It was a relief for once not to be breaking the law.

One night, we went out to walk through the red light district. We walked past tulips in their buckets and windows full of little gnomes and chocolatiers until we saw the unmistakable fiery glow.

We walked the length of the district once. There were all sorts of women, black, white, Asian, in all sizes. They mostly wore lingerie or "fantasy" outfits and heels. They were just standing around inside a window that was lined with red neon on the outer corner. Not a whole lot of action. The red did make their skin sort of vibrate. It looked warm. Delicious. Like a candied apple.

“That was sort of anticlimactic,” I said.

I don’t know what I had expected. Something more aggressive, I think. Although, to tell the truth I was afraid to stand too long gazing at any one window for fear they would invite us in.

“Should we walk back through?” Harry said.

“Sure,” I said. Although I felt threatened already.

Most of the women were passably attractive. Not that great, I thought, as we strolled by again. But there was one beauty. She was a tall brunette with long wavy hair past her waist. She had an Italian look, a kind of poor man’s Sophia Loren. I glanced back at Harry’s face and saw him smile at her. I turned back at her just in time to see her smile in return. Something was exchanged, a small intimate moment in which I was only an observer.

I was so sick I had to stay in the next night and miss the closing gala. Harry went by himself. I had an uneasy feeling. I waited up. When he got back we smoked a joint and he showed me the photos he’d taken. There were drummers. There were crowds. There was a woman in a bikini dancing on stage. I had a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach but I just kept getting high and tried to ignore it.

By the time Harry and I moved to Los Angeles, several years later, I had been getting high almost every day for eight years. It had become a habit, not just the ritual of the drug, but having a feeling, an intuition about something, and choking it with bong hits or a big fat blunt. Pot took from me many things, not the least of which was my sanity.

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