Category Archives: Adventures

The Music Festival and the Human Organism

The performer at the front of the stage is an individual, and in his dance, you see his individuality. The specific man that I am referring to is wearing a shirt that only says ‘FUCK’.

“Is he telling us to fuck each other, or is it like.. ‘fuck!’?” the drunk festival goer in front of me wonders to his friend. I wonder too, and settle on the former. The way the artist dances, it’s hard to not want to fuck him. As the crowd goes wild, he basks in the lusty intentions of one hundred or more people that grasp up at his suggestive coils and cocky grin. He’s dancing his individual dance and we like it. Most of the Ithacans at the Trumansburg Grassroots festival have never heard, nor sought after music from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where this band reigns, yet we know we’re attracted to it. It’s strange and different and alluring – and confusing as all hell, as it seems to be a combination of bongos, alt rock and mouth percussion with what sounds like a horror movie-tier out of tune calliope, signaling that the ferris wheel is about to be overrun by bats and undead clowns.

At first, I was annoyed at the audience present for this show, as mostly drunken couples were blocking my way, and it seemed as though the only reason they were present for this band was to show off their couple-ness and festival wear, while pretending to like this unusual world music, so as to seem cultured. Then I realized this was probably just a projection of why I was present for the performance, and instructed my ego to cool it for a minute. Beneath the future shock and wow-factor, however, there is a true sexual energy and relationship that knits the artist to the audience. It’s a one on one relationship for the audience member, and a one on two hundred for the performer, arrousing memories of the deadmau5 visuals I’d seen at Firefly the previous year, where the electronic mouse begins to dance, and electrically transmits this dance, like a wave of Simon Says, through the crowd in front of him. What’s actually happening – being transmitted – is the love of art. The artist is loving their own music, and dancing to it. This enchants us, the audience, and we begin to love this music as well, through all it’s differences to our mainstream culture, so we begin to love their art in our own way, and respond with our own dancing and movement.

Really, the common theme is creation. Both artist and audience are smaller cellular networks in the greater body of the festival; and like cells in the human body, we are mobile. We are taking in food and beer and oxygen and a good deal of pot smoke, interacting with information centers throughout the Trumansburg Fair Grounds, depositing our waste and building up a collect vibe of happiness and love by boogying throughout.

Just as our bodily functions are largely communicated by electric impulses from the brain, and carried out by the working class of microorganisms that make us up, the festival is arranged by those that organize & administer it every year, and carried out by the individuals that tend it. Should the brain cease its functioning or a sudden plague upon our body’s biome occur, the individual we call ourselves would also die, or at least become seriously crippled in comparison to who we were. If the festival organizers decided that next year they would still hold the festival, but would not advertise it or interact with the local community in any way to assist carrying out the festival, perhaps a hundred or so locals would show up the third weekend in July. But which artists would show up? How about the food services and crafts people, trash collectors or waste control services? Reversely, what if the festival were in full swing but not a single ticket holder showed up? Is it still a festival? Can it be considered dead or crippled?

Collectively the festival goers, artists and administrators convene to create a distinct ‘Grassroots’ individuality that anyone who’s been will describe to you as “magical,” through glazed eyes and a trippy grin. The individual human also has a distinct personality, or duration that can be expressed in whichever adjectives those that spend a lot of time around you choose. Is it insane to recognize that what can be tranferred to what is greater than the solitary human, can also be transferred internally, to what is much smaller and abundant in the solitary human?

Festivals, city centers, states, countries, planets. We’re in all of these places, some by agreement, and some because we were born here. Is my liver the Bonaroo of my chest cavity’s North America and my body’s planet earth? We can certainly attract a crowd of probiotics to our liver by gulping down a Kombucha or some sauerkraut. So when I circle Donna the Buffalo on my festival schedule, perhaps I’m drawn by the electrical impulse my brain picks up from her control center. Attraction & Agreement.

Any space cadet will tell you how well festivals and tripping go together. It’s a fascinating way to analyze the human experience. Children are conceived at festivals – some humans are born and some encounter death. We get shitfaced & take shits. We eat, intoxicate, fuck, dance. The common theme through all of this is creation.

Dancing becomes all the more interesting in this context. In the mini festivals and city centers within us, microorganisms are boogyin’ and shakin’ all about, doing most of the same things – living. They’re taking in gases and liquids and solids, breaking them down, channeling them into energy or usable  materials. Some of this energy, they’re using to move and shake a replication of their own DNA into our bodies, to take over the family name when they finally bite the dust. The legacy of our cells becomes the aging we see in our faces. The global warming of our body’s demise. Cells die, People die, Worlds die. Festivals die too, and even celebrate birthdays. Grassroots turned 27 this year, because we all collectively gathered to create it. I turned 21 this year – not because a faction of microbiology gathered in my corpse to animate me, but because this is a metaphor. Please, people, follow the analogy. Okay?

What’s so interesting about our urges to dance and jump and expand and bump our bodies together in the presence of this strange music channels a deep tradition encoded into my DNA. My body is always moving, within the thin barrier of skin that separates myself from my not-self. The twist of my hips and springs in my calves that causes the boy two rows up to keep  glancing back at me are a tribute to the constant life-creation-death cycle that continues my own existence. Our collective movin & shakin continues the existence of this festival. As it becomes less kept with the times, and more esoterically held by those that have been going since birth, eventually Grassroots will wither and die.

The artist’s “FUCK” shirt now takes on a whole new meaning. Yes. We should fuck each other, so that new generations of those holding the grassroots tradition are born and this Greater Body can live on in our descendants. Is it a coincidence that the body rush of LSD almost always gives me a spontaneous orgasm? Now, I’m looking around at all of these healthy and unhealthy bodies, wondering which ones want to wriggle with me as badly as them. In fact, I’m starting to sort the more healthily evolved bodies from the not. The people dancing in ecstasy from the ones looking around with mild desperation, continually sipping their bevvy. I feel the aerosolized hair follicles of the woman in front of me. Each sequestered strand follows the same, long loop-de-loop that makes her hair curly. I want badly to reach out and grasp her hips and sway with the wild beauty of her. I feel my own strictly laced braids. They roughly scrape the tan that used to be sunburn on my shoulders. Little stubs. I want to be free and flowing like she is, but I recognize that I don’t want to undo my braids only because she has. I feel the real heat and life emanating from her, and I am ready to embrace it in myself.

With my hair down, I feel the heat at the back of my neck, feel myself begin to sweat, feel my limp white hair tangle in masses and overlap where it wasn’t supposed to. I dance. My body beckons all those healthy enough to rival me, ubiquitous with a dominant sexuality that my forsaken tripping partner could never conquer, and so had to leave. My shoulders roll and the hair falls over my face, many times. I could feel people watching me and checking me out. Though I enjoyed the feeling, and felt myself twinge internally, responding to their nonverbal interest, I was now committed to expressing my own individuality through the same dance that transmitted the artists individuality to all of us. Recognizing the scent of my own sweat, I feel the network of intel my body is constantly relaying to the other humans around me – the pheromones that my movement macerates, the flicks of eye contact when my toggling gaze cinches to something I like, the fertility in my hips. With my senses so heightened to greet the world with passion, I wonder if I can even catch hints of my cunt in the thick air. Or someone else’s.

Festivals like this walk a very thin line. Yes, it’s nice to get a bunch of like minded individuals and pack them into a concert yard where they can exchange sweat, saliva and scents, bumping their young, prime bodies against one another, perhaps with a love, perhaps finding a new love. However, pack too many humans too closely together and a great time becomes dangerous. Diseases spread in splaying saliva. Port-a-potties are crawling with the viruses and germs that also want to maintain their existence by wriggling through the flesh barrier of your spread legs. With too many people, some start to go unaccounted for – I flash back to the three woman rape parade that Zach, my abandoned trip partner, and I witnessed when the acid was almost an hour into frying our brains. Three women in multiple stages of undressed – one entirely naked – walk through the dance tent with a bewitching light that flashes, one holds a candle, one tells us that her body is not an invitation. The one without any clothes on at all. The woman leading the group I recognize from yesterday, as the woman that operates the Red tent Women’s shelter (for all self-identifying women) in the Healing Arts section of the festival. She repeats “Raise awareness about sexual assault – NO RAPING”.

I begin to remember why I walked away from Zach. All the conversations we’d had throughout this trip about how I’m not ready for a relationship, and not ready to have sex with him, and the way that he explained how he could help me heal – could make me comfortable through sexual encounters between us. How I’d betrayed my own boundaries in order to maintain the connection with him, and how fucked it was. How, this morning, we’d made an agreement that I absolutely did not want to be physically intimate with him, and that he would respect this in me. Then we’d given massages to each other’s weary bodies. Full body massages. How his hand had cupped my breast and I’d pushed him away, frustrated at not being understood. And when we started tripping, how I’d had to stop him from touching me intimately – only on the hand and back – and he’d responded “It’s who I am”.

Statistics from health class are scrounged up in the schema of my brain’s filing system:

Three out of four rapes are committed by somebody known to the victim.

1 in 5 women on college campuses experiencing sexual assault and rape.

I think about the “interesting” stories about other members of the animal kingdom that are rapists as well. The dolphins and chimps that kill porpoises or babies to force the female back into estrus. Perhaps rape occurs, on a subconscious level, when an organism desperately wants to pass on it’s genes – continue its life. The female duck’s main morphological evolution has occurred in its corkscrew genitalia; dead ends and false leads incorporated into its anatomy, to give them an extra advantage when it comes to choosing which genes it will pass on in its young. An edge of paranoia flickers in my thought process, as I begin to feel more and more violated by the persistence of men with sex, even when it’s been outrightly denied. I begin to see Zach as a set of damaged genetics, and the entity of Zach, a conveyer of said genes, attempting to pass them off, terrified at the possibility that his line may end one day.

The phrase “attacker” takes on a hilarious tone in this light. If 90% of rape cases know their ‘attacker’ beforehand, then the whole event really isn’t as sudden as the language makes it seem. Perhaps it’s little comments that could be taken as innuendo, or as harmless joking. Perhaps it’s suggestive touching or other things classified as sexual harassment.

Or perhaps it’s a relationship, where one body explicitly states their will against sex, and the other manipulates and prods and pushes as much as they can, until finally a breaking point is met, and a rape occurs. Perhaps the ‘attacker’ is even trusted preceding the attack. With Zach, I know I will never be raped or forced into sex, and yet I find my trust in him to make me just as vulnerable to betraying myself. His gentler prodding makes me feel as though my best interest is always in his mind. I see his sexual frustration as equally important to my own aversion, when I ought to be considering my own aversion as a testament by intuition. “Not gonna say yes when all I really mean is no. Not gonna say no unless you know I mean it.” And yet the boundary between yes and no has been so obscured throughout our trip. I’ve come to forget that I always have the right to say no, and that when that response is not respected, I have a right to be outraged.

Respect is abiding by what people tell you about themselves. I’ve learned to abide assholes by believing them when they tell me they re assholes. We like to think that human beings respect each others desire to not have sex, and yet statistics show just how often women’s will is not respected. Of course, a much smaller percent of these rapes will result in a pregnancy, and an even smaller amount of these pregnancies will be kept, but this doesn’t necessarily reflect on the hard wired ideology motivating the rape. Men feel rejection, yet continue to attempt initiating sex with us. It is disgusting and far from conducive to a healthy atmosphere. I flash back to a conversation with Matt, where he told me that women are tending to select, sexually, men that are less aggressive. We are choosing to pass on genes that will produce more feminine men, because they are less of a threat. This idea is only theoretical, and yet I believe it.

When knit together with the new paradigm, I begin to see my selections and sorting of the healthy organisms present from the unhealthy organisms present ,I see this selection process in myself. Zach’s pushiness and puberty-esque frustration appears as such a red flag to me, because it denotes properties of his genetics that no longer fit with the more harmonious consciousness. In this new law and ordering of the chaos, people respect the wishes of each other, because they know that an individual knows best for itself – not for separate individuals. We respect each other. Perhaps this is how paradigms come into existence. Survival of the fittest. I pay attention to my body and respect its needs. I give it healthy food, plenty of exercise and creative outlets and consciously work towards healing myself by listening to what I intuitively know I need. I am attracted to individuals that conduct themselves in the same way. Carnally speaking, I am also attracted to the opposite, if it’s got cute enough features. Yet in these cases, I meet a lot of resistance from the parts of my mind that know what is best for me. My intuitive self seeks out everything it needs and rejects what it doesn’t through subtle ~feelings~

This isn’t to say that the new paradigm is necessarily on a trajectory towards this healthier, more harmonious existence. It is simply following the trend of evolution. If sexiness is what we select for, chances are, the new paradigm  will be one of less conscious individuals. However, if we select for healthful traits – as Grassroots and I seem to be doing – via being in tune with our layers of consciousness, then we will most likely find humanity to be characterized by harmony. Which is why it’s so important to keep Grassroots healthy – why it’s so important that Grassroots is recognizing and combatting the presence of sexual assault. Someday, festivals will be creating their own version of young in the fourth dimension – which will bone chart cauterized by the relationship. The network and all that it can create through participation. I raise my Rolling Rock to my lips and watch a young couple grope and swing and dance together, and smile back into my dizzy turning.

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Everything I Don’t Want People to Know About Me (Part 1)

Dear Brian,

I got your thoughtful note, in response to my startling revelation on Thursday night. We were going around the circle, sharing things we didn’t want anyone to know about us. Will, who’d suggested the activity to our Spiritual Seeker group, started off with, frankly, a lame ice breaking revelation that he hadn’t brought his dog to the past two sessions, because after it had growled and pounced at me [two sessions ago], he was embarrassed and felt it a poor reflection of his training. Basically, it was an illogical insecurity he harbored that we all instantly stifled with affirmations to how much we loved the mangy beast, and how a dog acting on instinct could never be a bad reflection of his training (Oh, perish the thought!), because dogs are individuals prone to fits of territorial paroxysms, just as humans can be (it’s a spiritual group, remember?). As everyone flooded Will with good vibes and chakra strengthening thought beams, I was incubating within myself a ploy to up the ante; to reveal something meaningful that many could relate to, in order to spur confessions that could get us somewhere – in order to reveal our deepest fears and anxieties that our insecure psyches clutch in crooked fingers, knurling into the fetal position with barbed knuckles divaricating about all that we want to remain secret, as we pull it behind the shadow of our physiognomy, brows and eyelids cleft and cusped, respectively, darting towards any threat to our private let-downs.

I wanted to blow this wide open, and I considered it a challenge to myself, to be the one to breakdown the barrier of the ego. As my mind flooded with ideas of what I could divulge to others and still save face with the contrived personality I had projected over the months, everything from the mild crush I had on *everyone* in the group to suicidal tendencies entered and were quickly chased out of my mind with a flailing dish towel that offered melee whips to my ego at the thought of revelation. The moment my mind flitted to the anorexia I’d combatted most of the summer, I knew it was the one. Easily relatable to anyone that has struggled with self esteem, and yet an equally difficult chink of my armor to be flashing at a bunch of strangers that I read and discuss books with on a monthly basis. I waited for the silence that followed Will’s submission, and staring straight at the table, spoke: “I’ve struggled with anorexia since high school, and still sometimes starve myself.” I waited for the stuttering admissions of self hatred, the staggered promulgations of other self-esteem motivated self-inflicted suffering. I heard silence. My vision burned holes of embarrassment into the table, while boiling the stress induced water that was never too far from my eyes. The craters of embarrassment quickly transformed into fiery portals to hell, as – still without a word spoken – Alyssa extended a box of Kleenex (with lotion) towards me. I waved it off, still waiting for anyone to speak – anything.

“Is there anything we can do to help?”  – except that.

Uh, YEAH. You can fucking admit to me all the fucked up parts of your life, so that I’m not sitting here feeling like the only person that’s ever done shameful things because I didn’t like myself as I was. ALYSSA.

“No, I’ve been really good with it for the past six months”

“Thank you for sharing your struggle, that took a lot of strength for you to say” Kera remembered her mouth, snapping her gaze from the floor to my tinged red eyes.

“No, it felt kinda…good.” Saving face, saving face – see guys it wasn’t that hard. I’m not screaming internally and perching my hopes like a Disney animated turkey vulture on your parallel self hatred. Half smile, to demonstrate how   *good* it feels to unsuture your festering personality in front of strangers so that they can gawk at the odors of decay.

“SO, were you ever bulimic?” —Stefan, not a week out of a mental institution, in his mental downward spiral often resembles a child in both behavior and physicality. Freakily enough, as the boyfriend and housemate of Alyssa, he has basically taken on the identity of Alyssa’s child, as she quickly turns to chastise him for such an insensitive question.

Just somebody go next, I’m tired of all discernments being fixed on my averted gaze, or *suddenly* agazed with the pillow cover at their elbow. Everyone is embarrassed for me. I shouldn’t have said shit. I should have dug up some meaningless obscurity about my life that no one will ACTUALLY care about, so that we can all go on pretending to heal our emotional wounds and drive home feeling *real good about ourselves for conquering our emotional traumas through sharing it with strangers*.

Stefan: “Well, you all know how my life has been for the past week.”

Alyssa strokes her baby on the head with a crook’d neck and soft doe eyes, “Yes, you’ve been dealing with a whole lot of paranoia, babe. But that’s all okay now” She speaks to him as though he were either hard of hearing or an actual infant, long slowly paced wording punctuated with understanding nods.

Stefan gulps down the last of a home-brewed beer out of a Ball mason jar. “Yeep, I’m on Seroquel now, BELCH”

Yeah, fair game Stefan. Fair game. Stefan is probably the winner of the activity, as we’ve all been pretty privy to the shit storm his mental state has been for the past few weeks. Hell, the past few years. He used to be engaged to a cute lil girl, until one day she came home to him rambling about the aliens that were contacting him through his dreams. Fast-forward three years, and it’s only gotten worse. He no longer talks about the aliens, but I suspect it has a lot to do with how many times people have told him it was all in his head. I think if I have faith for anyone, it’s Stef.

Zach spoke. “Some of you who know me,” the man I spent Valentines Day with, frantically copulating in the field that introduces my house, underneath a pine tree that played more of a role in the love making than I’d care to admit, followed by a two hour drive to Cape Henlopen during which I unsuccessfully sucked him off, eventually skinny dipping in the frigid Atlantic, then nakedly cuddling about a fire on the dunes, was hopefully now going to cover my pride with an equally humiliating confession “Know I’m not even on a speaking basis with my parents, and I spend most of my time alone in the woods. So, what I don’t want anyone to know about me is that I am extremely incapable of being vulnerable.”

“Same,” Alyssa tacked onto his “confession” quick as a fly swatter.

*Cue sarcastic applause in my head.

Well, well. That sounds like something you should have said when Will was ensuring everybody would be comfortable participating in this activity. It really isn’t that difficult to say, ‘Hey, you know what Will? All the tearful admissions of internal guilt and shame and fear sounds real nice and all, but I’m just not feeling it right now. Let’s play Buddhist Monopoly instead,’ now is it??

Now that everyone’s gaze was agreeing with Zach’s pussification, I allowed mine to rise from the table and reel about the traitorous faces. They settled on yours Brian, still fixed disquietly on the floor, flooding it with anxiety. If I’d been observing you in any other context, Brian, I would have been certain from your stare that the floor were actual lava which you were frantically, within the statue of your body, deducing the best way to maneuver. I sent accusational darts into your soul for a comfortable 30 seconds, knowing you wouldn’t dare let those brown orbits settle on mine. I would have sent them into your soul for longer, dear Brian, had my lover man not risen from his seat on the floor and squeezed next to me in the armchair, offering a comforting cuddle – most likely out of shame for not having the strength to admit part of his struggle in my presence as I had. As I took in the resumed shameful quiet, the cynic in my head marched about with freedom, careening in threatening circles around my internal victim. The town crier of my soul became the drunkard at the bar who slurs in the faces of Flyers fans when they inevitably lose a game, proclaiming his own team’s victory in boastful insinuations. Oh, so that’s it. I’m the strong one, eh? Of course everyone here’s struggled with self esteem – but the self abasement by admitting it? ‘Nah, we’ll leave that for whoever goes first. Let them be the “strong” one,’ except I’m not strong and your silence proves it. My so-called avowal was probably one of the most gilded confessions I’ve ever had. To be perfectly frank, I wanted to hear some dirt on all of you – EXPECTED to hear some dirt on you. And that’s exactly why my revelation was anything but strong. You can bet to hell that I would have kept my Irish-Catholic-Shame mouth fucking SHUT if I thought you were all gonna pussy out on me.

Will Spoke. “Well, I have something to share,” you already went? “A couple years back – some of you’ll remember this – when I cashed that bad check?” I’m not one of those people, bud. Will nods, eyes meeting recognition in Zach, Alyssa and Stefan’s faces. “Yeah, I actually considered suicide at one point. I was in a really bad place with all the court proceedings and explaining it to my parents and da-da-da.  I was paranoid man, every time I heard the gravel crunch on the driveway, I knew it was the cops. I remember standing in front of the judge and he was just talkin’ at me and talkin’ at me, and I couldn’t understand what I did wrong, you know? And that was just the first court date – I didn’t think I could do it – livin’ with the feeling that at any moment a cop car could just pull up and..   take me away.” Will let his eyes sink to the floor, normally such an emphatic talker. “Yeah, one night I got really close and I ended up callin’ a suicide help line,” his expression, still on the floor changed slightly. “Yeah, they put me on hold – – it was a really fucked up experience” alright Will, I see you. I see you lifting the mood by loosening everyone up with your story-telling ways while simultaneously calling my anorexia ante. You’re not so bad, Will. 

After everyone had a laugh at the prospect of a suicide help line prioritizing their suicides, the atmosphere was less forced, and the group quickly transitioned to what the next meeting should discuss. It was then that I realized that two of the seven members – Kera and you, Brian – would not even trouble themselves with any admission at all. I greedily returned to the rage in my starvation-maintained stomach.

So that’s it? BULLSHIT. I know all of you have struggled with SOMETHING – if not low self esteem. I meant to say what I said as a conduit for you all to express things you’ve been repressing. I’ve never told anyone, including family, about my *struggle* and what would really make me feel better about it is to know that I’m not alone, or for someone to relate THEIR struggles with self esteem and destructive habits. It would have felt far less humiliating to know that you guys have also grappled with that type of shame-induced behavior. I only realize how un-strong I am from seeing that expectation go unfulfilled. It would have been an ACTUAL strong action of myself if I had been able to admit to being so insecure about getting fat to the point that I starved myself without needing others to admit things on par with it, and I didn’t realize that fact until just the opposite happened. I can understand people being uncomfortable with making themselves vulnerable, but I also feel as though that type of insecurity should have been disclosed before anyone else admitted to something, uh idunno, seriously embarrassing like that – In fact, I feel kind of bamboozled that my admission was met with a handful of tentative confessions of inability to actually participate in the activity. A bunch of cop-outs, really. Will described the activity (that he’d done the week before in Men’s group) as a tear jerking time where everyone divulges their deepest secrets – everyone. From that, I thought my divulsion would be the first of seven, and it ended up being the first of two. Ha-ha that’s not to say that I don’t feel different from it – no, sir. Now that I know the world is full of a bunch of pussies, I certainly will not allow other people’s cowardice to make a fucking fool out of myself. And that certainly doesn’t mean that I’m going to keep my secrets inside in the future – should you be so lucky. Nope, I will continue to reveal uncomfortable parts of myself to others – for the same reason of helping them to feel less shame in their own lives – but I’ll do it without the expectation of hearing any of their trauma. And without further ado, here’s everything that I don’t want anyone to know about me:

(continued in Part 2)

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The Need for Danger

Telling yourself “this is the last time”. Last time for hooking up with strangers and getting away with it, last time taking mystery substances, last time walking down Anderson at 3am, last time driving too high, too drunk, too tripped out, last time lying to the boss, last time manufacturing a whole universe behind the ‘my car wouldn’t start’ story.

All the illegal things we do, the immoral, as well, feel so tense in the moment. The build up of the expectation for the moment it will fail, just before it crosses the threshold of getting away with it; pulling into the garage, locking the door, closing your eyes, opening and releasing the breath that’s been choking up your stomach. It goes back to when we were children, just after learning we could get away with lying. The one time our parents don’t catch us and distinguish truth from reality, we have a seed of hope planted in our cunning. Our own little secret, pregnant with possibilities.

Every night after I heave my body of sweat and grease buildup into my Honda civic after work, I begin the ritual of rolling a joint. Sometimes a spliff, sometimes with mullein or lavender to cut the almost wine-like cooking taste of blue dream. I tap the volume up as high as it goes, light the twisted paper at the end and zoom away, down one of the back streets of Middletown. Over the period of months it’s been since I graduated the court-ordered Drug Diversion program, enforced after my marijuana related arrest, I’ve worked the required number of intoxicants from one spliff, up to a bowl hit + two pure-blood joints accompanying my nighttime meanderings. Whatever winds my eyelids down to halfway when I notice a deer the moment just before too late.

The first time, it was going to be just a special trip, but after three months it’s a habit. My comprehension that should I be pulled over, any dumb officer could see my eyes, smell the interior of my car, badly coated with Zum spray and charred cigarette butts, and ask me to step out of the vehicle before placing me into the caring, seatbeltless, hard plastic of his own backseat to ensure that I’m no longer a danger to the other midnight motorists (who after three months, I have concluded are all doing the exact same thing, some with liquor, my favorites with strange). I now the risk every time I take it, and I cherish it. It’s something like freedom, knowing that what you want to do is understood as prohibited by everyone, but having the secret knowledge of just when that’s going to stop you from doing it anyway.

It’s the need for danger that makes it feel so good. The moment you turn down a side street, like Aladdin snaking through the bizarre with a loaf of Walt Disney animated bread in his arm, and lose the car that wasn’t a police cruiser but was following you anyhow. The breath right after the clench. It feels a little like being a hominid hunter after slaughtering the big bad, but more self-indulgent. The same breath that whispers in your most vulnerable ear “I got away with it, this time”.

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