I have now smoked pot three times in my adult life, and all I’ve gotten were rolled-eyes and shaken-heads when I’ve told the stories.
“You can’t trip this bad on pot.” They say. “It must have been laced.” They say. Yeah, maybe. Or, maybe Bobcat’s brains are just not designed to handle the stuff.
The first time, I was 24 years old. I had driven to San Francisco to see about a boy I liked. It was my first evening in his apartment. I didn’t want to appear a bore and assured him “Of course, I smoke!” A few minutes later, I was precariously perched on the edge of the cliff that appeared in the middle of his living room, holding on for dear life and fighting the urge to plunge into the dark abyss below. Then I was all dressed in the shower with no recollection of how I got there. The boy I liked looked worried.
“Get out of there. We’ll take your clothes off and I’ll put you in bed.” This was bad, very bad. I didn’t have time to complain. I was soaking wet, sitting in his closet. Whoever “he” was. I couldn’t recall. I was scared and crying. Then I was in bed, wearing his clothes. I have no memory of the changing process. I fell asleep convinced I wouldn’t wake up. I died then. And then dated that boy for four years.
The second time, I was 39 years old. I took one puff on my boyfriend’s pipe. It was my idea. I was stressed with school and wanted the kind of relief I saw in his eyes when he smoked. But, within a few minutes, there was no relief in his eyes, but flames. In fact, he was the devil, and the wall behind him was a roaring fire. I crawled backwards onto the bed into the corner, scared out of my gourd. I reappeared next to his bicycle. I was turning the pedal with my hand. He was still the devil. I was going to die. I reappeared in his bed, on my knees, hands in a prayer motion. “Please God, make it stop, make it stop.”. The boyfriend was yelling at me “What the fuck is wrong with you? Do you have some sort of brain problem you’ve never told me about?” Then my roommate came. I didn’t know who she was either, but she sure seemed more trustworthy than he did. She held my hand until 2 in the morning.
“I’m gonna die.”
“No, you’re fine. You’re not gonna die.” I already forgot we had the conversation, and immediately started over. She was a good friend.
The third time, was a few nights ago. I was camped in some ancient ruins in a cave overlooking a grandiose vista of a starry night, with a friend I will call B. I’ve met B only a few weeks ago. He is a calm and collected man. He seemed like someone who could handle me if shit hit the fan. Curiosity got the cat to the bowl.
Again, I took just one puff, and before he even had put the pipe away, I was tripping balls. The world beyond the ruins disappeared into a black hole. I walked back against the wall of the cave for support. B told me “Just ride it out.”
That’s about all I remember clearly or consistently.
But, I did get my journal, at some point.
So, here we go. This is the account as it happened, for entertainment purposes only.
“I don’t know what will come out of this. But I’m going to try anyway.
Too many words.
I smoked pot and I’m “tripping balls” as B would say. I wrote this because I think tomorrow it will amuse me to read balls.
My body is writing this, but my consciousness is shifting realities. It is “going” to the physical location of any thought I have, any event I talk about, and other places in full awareness. Meanwhile, my body is by the fire, having a conversation with B of which I recall none of the words because I was elsewhere. I have visited past, parallel present and future realities. These are actually impressions in a timeless singularity. There is currently no past or future. Now I am here, wondering if I’m full of shit. Still, my experience remains.
I am conscious of turning the page.
B is smoking a cigarette by the fire. I sense that this reality should feel normal, but it is too shifty to feel real. It will be dismantled before I can document. It is already dismantled.
I have no recollection of writing the paragraph since I turned the page. B shifted by the fire. I remember what reality I am in – still a little fuzzy on the time period. I just saw myself create the next sentence. I was in the future when it happened, then returned here to write it. Fast forward and back. I went to tomorrow to read it. The morning sun was shining. Memories are sticking around a little longer now. Each moment is like a slide in an eternal slide show. And a cricket just appeared to bring me back. B is reading now. I wasn’t here when he got his book. I just returned from a few minutes in the future. We will be talking then. I know what will be said. I am only in each “time zone” for a second, maybe not even that long. B said – just returned from there – B said that if I eat something it will pass quicker. But, I put one plantain chip in my mouth – back from my desk in my room in New Hampshire. Ryan was talking to me – plantain – forgot what I was writing about, but I remember it was important. Just returned from when I got my journal, whenever ago in the past that was. I’m glad I got it. If I’m gonna trip balls, at least – just returned from – where was I anyway. I already forgot. Right! Balls! Now my body is laughing because I said balls. Now it is laughing because I wrote balls. Now I am laughing out loud at this set of sentences.
Man, this is intense!
I remember! Yes, I was gonna talk about – just came back from that moment – plantain – OMG! Brain, stay put for a sec! I put the plantain in my mouth and suddenly the flavor was too intense to bear – Was in Tahiti just now with Vatea on the docks. They didn’t have plantain there. Not only was the taste crazy, but it felt like the whole chip swelled up – Hold on, I just got an important insight into reality. Now it’s gone. What was I even talking about?I asked B for some water in a voice I didn’t recognize as mine. I was just in Paris, at a place I don’t know. It was raining. I’ve never been there. There is a writer somewhere I visited just now. In a white shirt with suspenders. A white house. A plantation maybe. Florida? Back to B reading his book. I think I was done talking about plantains.
Oh! I remember … I am traveling to alternate realities that are further on the — B laughed. I lost my thought. I wish they’d stick around longer. I wonder if this will seem like utter nonsense tomorrow. I was there though. And I just returned from the edge of a canal. Where? I don’t know.
Fuck. Ok. I’m gonna ride it out for a bit. I’ll be back.
[some time (whatever that means) later]
So, who’s doing the conversing with B and the writing in this journal while I am gone? I mean, I can hear myself, and I sound totally present – except I don’t know what just happened or what I just said because I was elsewhere. What animates my body when consciousness is traveling away from my body? Or is there no body while I’m not here? Like if I were skipping slides in the slide show of reality.
[I have a sketch of this]
O XXXXX O X=missing slides. O=points of entry.
This looks ridiculous. But that’s what’s happening.
Yeah. I don’t know.
I am not writing this anywhere else. I just checked. There is no parallel reality in which I am recording this.
This is so weird. I can’t conceive of skipping slides. If slides are skipped then who thinks the thoughts that are created to write this text here that I am writing?
I just read “there is no word”
I don’t know where. Maybe in this journal. Maybe elsewhere.
I am grateful to B for being exactly who he is right now. I just returned from a reality where someone was trying to hold and comfort me. This caused a lot of stress. At least here, I don’t have to worry about what’s going on with my body. I need no awareness for conversation or functioning.
I just forgot who B was. A presence across the fire. But he seems familiar. I seem fond of him even when I don’t know who he is. When I go, I go alone, except for parallel realities that are linked to this fire. When I go to reality with this fire, then B comes too, but not in the physical form of the reality in which I am writing this. I was just in a castle in ?
B said there is an owl – maybe a little owl wisdom would be nice. Seriously! How do people do drugs any harder than this? So unsettling. Am I unsettled?
Well, at least I’m not fearful, so that’s good.
I don’t feel in danger, and I have a good sense that eventually I’ll be here longer.
I just looked at my shoes twice.
I don’t remember what happened in between.
Owl hoots. I see my shoes. Maybe it is helping me to come back. Yes. Owl hoots calling me home. I welcome it if it is so. I’ll be happy to be in my body full time again. Or not skipping slides. Whatever.
[some time (whatever that means) later]
I ate something and I think the effects are lessening a little. I am not as “real” in those other places as I am here.
I vaguely remember being scared when it began, probably from bad past experiences. Now that I’ve gotten used to it, being just here feels a little “flat”. I can’t find a better word yet. Here. “Here” feels small by itself, maybe like a comfortable childhood home after a round the world journey.
There is this rock here in particular that looks very familiar. I just saw myself tomorrow, giggle at how nonsensical that last sentence will seem.
[some time (whatever that means) later]
So, I am only partially right. I don’t recall where I’ve been as crisply anymore, but I am definitively not “back” yet. The owl stopped hooting. I have reached a state of trust. I don’t know what my body is doing while I’m gone, but I trust it to continue to appear normal. I just set up camp – precise movements I know by heart. Next thing I know I’m writing in my journal from my sleeping bag. I was not involved in the setup process. Oh … I can almost see where I just was. There must be boundaries between realities. Maybe one-way valves that don’t let memories back through. I return with impressions here, then create images in my mind to match these impressions. But, that’s because the original images can’t make it through.
Oh, I have questions! Maybe best I ask them tomorrow.
One question I won’t be able to answer tomorrow because I won’t remember how I feel right now is Why can’t memories of parallel journeys be brought back? Because of how this feels. I think that’s what insanity would feel like. Shifting realities and not remembering which one is “ground”. I count this one, in which I am writing this, as ground because when I’m here – and I seem to return here more consistently – the others are fainter. Though, I suppose this one could feel faint when I am elsewhere. I don’t know. It doesn’t feel important.
Why was I so scared the other two times I smoked pot? I guess I feared losing my mind permanently because I didn’t remember going elsewhere. I was just missing large chunks of my own story with no explanation – like finding myself fully dressed in the shower or by the bicycle. Maybe I was scared because I didn’t trust my body left “unattended”.
I guess this is one major difference. I feel good here, being me, and I trust B. I feel safe in the ruins.
I vaguely remember telling him “I’ve known you for a while” or something like that early on. It’s just a flash of a memory. I wasn’t here very consistently then. I flipped through realities quickly with him for a bit, all had to do with the fire. It was the anchor for the duplication of this one reality with B. I saw him by the fire across lifetimes and time periods, in different forms. I didn’t look at his face, but his feet and bottom of pants/shorts changed rapidly. We were in the steps of Mongolia. He had black feet in the Serengeti. On a sand dune by an oasis. Others. More. We were family, partners, lovers, then back to friends, right here. It feels weird to write this now. And I’m (this body) here will think it’s utter bullshit tomorrow.
Hey, I don’t know. Maybe it’s all in my brain. Altered chemicals with weird side effects. But then, isn’t perception of reality always in the “brain”, a receptor/decoder for consciousness. “I” didn’t move, but I was conscious elsewhere. Maybe all realities are in my head – stories to experience impressions.
Yes, of course they are. I just can’t conceive that they are.
I was here for a long moment just now, and I liked it.
I’m just going to sleep it off now.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll just be here.
Bobcat – or whoever I am – out.”
Home (“here”, “ground”), the next morning: