I used to smoke a lot of pot. When I think about how much money I spent on weed, I could easily have bought a car. Not necessarily a Lotus, but definitely a 2003 Toyota Camry. Yet even though I smoked consistently for a decade of my life, I never really reflected on "why?"
When I lived in New York City, there was a weed delivery man who would come directly to my apartment (albeit two hours later than promised). This tardiness could have been considered annoying if I wasn't already stoned on the couch playing video games. Upon arrival, I was offered a variety of strands of weed. Any real distinction was lost on me, but having the choice made me feel a connoisseur. "Ahhh yes, I will take the 'Total Chronic Erase Your Face' today." I would then smell it like a fine wine and give the nod that I was pleased with my informed decision. "This will go great with the cheese sandwich I'll be eating in 40 minutes."
As I inched towards my 30s, I tried to quit -- and by "try," I mean I talked about quitting while high. Then, one fateful day I realized that maybe I had indeed smoked enough pot. A friend had offered me a bong hit, and five minutes later I was lying on her floor having a full-fledged anxiety attack. My friend brought me to her bedroom to lie down -- partly because she was concerned, and partly because she wanted to watch YouTube videos and my moaning was distracting. I finally passed out only to wake up about an hour later with some harsh realizations. I had to say to myself "It is 3:00 in the afternoon, 75 degrees out, and you are under seven comforters after being put to bed like a baby because you got too high."
Part of the comfort of weed was that it connected me to my youth. A time when life was relatively carefree, except for the stress of searching for affordable tickets for the WARP tour with NO INTERNET! Ahhhhh... the horror of being a teenager in the mid 90s. Yet I had to realize that in order to embrace adulthood, I had to let go of the nostalgia of the past. Even though I had spent most of my 20s vehemently critiquing culture while watching conspiracy theories and smoking joints -- it was time to find my place in society and grow up.
I have been able to maintain abstinence for six years. Although I think weed is medicinal and has great value, it isn't my personal recipe for productivity. Yet recently I injured my back so severely that I experienced a week of incessant spasms, and a friend gave me a weed tincture to minimize suffering.
I took a very small dose, so I wouldn't get high -- but I did have an epiphany about why I smoked so much pot. Weed is a plant with a personality, an essence, and even a soul. When you smoke, it's like inviting someone into your brain to keep you company. Your consciousness can have a conversation with her. She saves you from boredom, and colors reality with a distinct texture. Weed becomes a friend within your own mind, diverting you from being alone with your thoughts. Pot is like that buddy who never changes -- the one who you can always rely on to always be the same and never judge you. Like that dude Mickey from down the street who still lives with his mom and listens to Nickelback non-ironically.
There is profound loneliness to human existence. Just because you are around people, doesn't mean you feel understood. You can be lying next to the love of your life and still feel utterly alone. There are various ways we attempt to transcend this sensation, but it doesn't go away. We are coping. Our lives are often meaninglessly overcomplicated simply to distract ourselves from the loneliness that exists within stillness.
Weed is the antidote to the feeling that comes with knowing that we are born alone, and will die alone. She comes into your mind and says, "I am right here with you... and isn't the word cloud so weird?" It's like having a psychic sibling who tickles your imagination and penetrates your ingenuity. She is accepting of all we think or say. Weed can be a meditation, a provocation, but maybe most importantly... she is with you. That is what most of us are seeking -- that person who, no matter what, will always stay.
Maybe you are thinking, "It sounds like you actually did get high" but I didn't, I swear... Anyway, I have to run now and eat some ice cream on toast.