And Then I Thought I was a Fish

IDENTIFYING INFORMATION: Peter Hunt Welch is a 20-year-old single Caucasian male who was residing in Bar Harbor, Maine this summer. He is a University of Maine at Orono student with no prior psychiatric history, who was admitted to the Acadia Hospital on an involuntary basis due to an acute level of confusion and disorganization, both behaviorally and cognitively. He was evaluated at MDI and was transferred from that facility due to psychosis, impulse thoughts, delusions, and disorientation.

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Observations of a Straight White Male with No Interesting Fetishes

Ever wondered how to justify your own righteousness even while you're constantly embarrassed by it? Or how to make a case for your own existence when you contribute nothing besides nominal labor to a faceless corporation that's probably exploiting children? Are you clinging desperately to an arbitrary social model imposed by your parents and childhood friends? Or screaming in terror, your mind unhinged at the prospect of an uncaring void racing to consume the very possibility of your life having meaning?

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This is the story of a boy, a girl, a phone, a cat, the end of the universe, and the terrible power of ennui.

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And She Stoned Me

Composed on the 29th of January in the year 2011, at 1:51 PM. It was Saturday.

So one day at UMass, this little hippy girl who looks just like a cuter Ani Difranco comes up to me and my RA and asks if we have a bowl. If you never smoked pot, a bowl is a pipe for doing it. I say no, but I can roll a mean joint if she wants to pick up some papers. She’s into it, and off we go. The speed of the situation was such that I almost got my RA to come with us, and it was only as we were rolling the joint in the park ten minutes later that it occurred to her that maybe she didn’t want to be caught with a joint five minutes away from where she worked at a job where she was supposed to report people smoking pot. So she bailed and it was just me and Ani.

Ani and I hit it off like rock stars, and she decides we should spend the next day hanging out, so the next day she comes to the campus and we start looking for weed.

Here’s the thing about being an attractive hippy girl looking for weed: you will get it. The situation on campus, as I soon discovered, was bleak, with sources and deliveries everywhere drying up. I got all my weed from my friend who lived in an apartment in Northampton where we could smoke in his apartment in relative peace, so I never knew there was this complicated network of distributers with a few centralized sources. I never would have known, but Ani was crazy, and wanted her weed in the same way I want cigarettes after eight hours. I will lie to, steal from, and cheat close friends for cigarettes if it comes to that: I am an addict. Ani didn’t have to do these things because she was a cute hippy girl. We met up, and thirty seconds later she said, “Let’s go to Stoner Hall (note: this was not the real name of the building), I know a place that can probably hook us up.”

I assumed she meant she had a friend, but she really did just know a “place.” She wasn’t even especially clear on where; we breezed into the dorm, went to the third floor, and she just knocked on doors and asked the people that opened them if they had any drugs.

If this was normal for you, good job. For me it seemed dangerous and insane, but then again, I am not an attractive girl at a college campus, although I’ve always thought that would make this activity even more dangerous and insane. Eventually, we open up to the average hippy heaven dorm room: lots of tapestries, half legible jokes and “save the whatever” notes scribbled on the walls, things that are fun to play with when you’re hallucinating, Phish on the stereo, etc. This is where I start to learn how the hippy drug economy operates at UMass. In fact, had I been a narc and had a tape recorder, I could have sent about thirty people to jail. There are some weird things about committed stoners: they are really relaxed, but are always paranoid they’re about to get busted. They will always share, but are always low on weed, so they feel obligated to give it up if you ask, but are keeping a tab in their heads (about the only thing they remember) about how much you take versus give, and will stop inviting you over if your take gets too high. They also take precautions like special tubes to exhale the smoke through, toweling the door, burning incense, and so on, but will then explain the entire nature of their drug network, complete with names, dates, and locations, to two total strangers, on the grounds that one of them has beads in her hair and must be trustworthy.

You simply cannot overestimate how dumb the average modern hippy might be.

Ani, being smarter than most, just knew how to exploit the situation to get free weed. They smoked us up, gave us some contacts, and off we went to go find other people to smoke us up.

I have no idea how many times we did this. I don’t think I could have gotten as stoned as I did if I was sitting at a table chain smoking joints; I would have passed out.

My memory isn’t great, but I only very rarely black out; I apparently stole a traffic cone from behind a police car once and made a bong out of it (to non-stoners: a bong is another instrument for getting stoned), and I’ve woken up with a couple of mystery bruises, but for the most part I don’t black out, much as I wish I could, since the memory of, say, crawling up the stairs at three in the morning after puking on the street for half an hour and falling through the door to land in front of my roommate with his brand new girlfriend isn’t necessarily something I want to remember. In fact, just drinking the drink that got me to that point, called a Screaming Nazi, isn’t something I want to remember. It made my forty year old, committed alcoholic drinking buddy cry, and not just a little eye watering: tears pouring down his face.

So not being able to remember most of this night means I smoked a lot of pot. A near impossible amount of pot, all of it for free. Stoners often say they get to a plateau where they just can’t get any more stoned; I thought this was true until that night. I have a few dim and scattered memories. We went down and played piano for a bit, because you only need to be able to play one thing on piano to get a girl interested in you, and that thing is The Moonlight Sonata. She outclassed me completely by playing and singing some classically inspired pop tune that she’d written, and I discovered she also sang like a cuter Ani Difranco. For the rest of the night, the only recurring thought I can remember in the haze was “I am totally going to nail Ani Difranco tonight.”

Here are some stages of getting stoned:

1. “Oooh, that’s nice.”

2. “This movie rules.”

3. “You know, like, your body is, like, part of everything, man?”

4. “I love the Grateful Dead.”

5. “I could totally live off potato chips.”

6. “Whoa, how long have been here?”

7. “How long has the CD been on repeat?”

8. “Dude, that Beatles song just, like, stopped, man. I mean, I knew it was coming, but I kinda thought it would go on forever this time.”

9. “I am so totally stoned man. Dude. So stoned. Are you stoned? I’m stoned. Are you sure you’re stoned?”

10. “Wait, who are you?”

And so on. Eventually I hit the previously unknown stage 63: “I am a feral kitten,” and promptly entered stage 64, or the unable able to speak because words are no longer following each other properly in your head stage.

It was worse than that; it was like having the kind of condition where you can’t form new memories. I would walk into a room and wonder where we came from. I couldn’t tell colors apart. I couldn’t stand up for more than five minutes at a time. I think I tried to eat soda with a fork. The only thing that kept me moving was Ani, continuously dragging me wherever it was we went that night. Another problem was that weed makes me almost uncontrollably horny, and that by itself makes things like thinking and talking difficult, so on the rare moments when I surfaced, I had to spend most of the time stopping myself from drooling.

The next morning, and I’m not sure how we got there, I slowly came to my senses in the smoking room in my dorm, sitting across the table from Ani. I was still unable to speak, since my brain was still busy regaining control of basic motor functions. I had to flirt entirely with hand gestures, and this did not go well, partly because my hands were so fascinating (12: “Dude, have you ever like, looked at your hands? I mean, like, really looked at them?”). She sort of smiled, possibly patted me on the head, and left. I couldn’t hold my weed, and she couldn’t respect a man who couldn’t hold his weed.

Lesson: I can’t remember.

Hey kids, do you know what this is?

Hi there! You should totally go buy my book for the low low price of 6.73! It's like buying me a beer at an out-of-the-way dive bar in Brooklyn! Not in Manhattan. Manhattan prices are ridiculous, though there are a couple of decent Irish dives where you can snag a drink for five bucks. Otherwise, you're looking at a two or three book beer.