Lockdown Living (P.3)
So I’m a bit weird I think. I’ve always got on much better with people who are older than me. The 70 something year olds I do Pilates with - great chats! Always been the way. I just feel really uncomfortable with my peers. I guess I just hate how competitive it can be.
I remember my first year at university. We were sitting round the table in my flat smoking a ridiculously large joint. Like, unnecessarily big for the amount of people that were there but again, you know, its all for show so the bigger really is better. Embarrassingly by this point I was still getting a pretty good buzz just second hand. However, the time had come that I was going to have to prove myself as either moving up the social ladder or remaining very much at my mid-level, clerical position of tea maker and biscuit bringer for fit boys I could never speak to.
It’s always done with fucking drugs when you’re in your twenties isn’t it? No one ever tests you with, I don’t know, how good a listener you are or if you hold the door open for other people. No. its always drugs. Smoke this, snort that, rub this in your eye balls, turn once throw your hands above you head and most importantly … DO NOT ACT LIKE YOU HAVE TAKEN ANY DRUGS! That was the part I never got. Five people sitting round a table, as high as Keith Richards himself but if you dare laugh too much, drop something or just get stuck staring into the middle distance for a few minutes, you know what you get? Public shaming. You may as well be put in the stocks and have rotten veg thrown at you … (only locally sourced, organic veg from ‘Infinity Foods’ of course, we’re in Brighton now)
No one politely leans over and says ‘I’m just getting a glass of water; can I can get you anything while I’m up?’. Nope. Instead, you get the loudest, most obnoxious boy in the group with long, dyed blonde hair and a baggy linen top and harem pants, pointing and shouting at you ‘Mateee, you are fucking gone! Such a light weight, you are so fuckinngh blazzeddd’. And, believe it or not, this behaviour actually insights others to join in, laughing! So now its okay to fucking laugh? I felt like saying to them, how is me being stoned revolutionary information? I’ve just smoked a joint … Miranda Priestly words have never rung truer - ‘Florals? For Spring? Ground-breaking’.
Its such a minefield. Firstly, there’s the terror about when the joint actually reaches you, I mean you’re already shaking, paranoid and jolty… and that’s just from being a 22-year-old. And they never say, ‘here you are, your turn’. They don’t even look at you. You just see a hand vaguely hovering in your periphery. Sometimes you’re not even sure if they’re just resting. There were a few times I actually leant forward and tried to take it from someone who was just pausing to look deep in thought.
Secondly, when you actually get it, there’s the whole how long do I keep it for!? Too long and your hogging it, stealing from another equally poor student but too short and people will know I’m just joining in this ridiculous public demonstration of coolness because I quite fancy the boy over there. You know, the one with long blonde hair, in the linen shirt?
I would always go for three, evenly spaced, mid-length drags and then politely and obviously pass the burden on to the next person. The relief when I knew it would have to get round five other people until it imposed itself upon me again. Maybe even someone would have finished the damn thing.
I got shouted at once, actually shouted at by a guy when I went to tap the ash off the end which was already the height of the fucking Shard and it wouldn’t drop off. I tapped a little more vigorously and the ‘cherry’ fell out in to the ash tray. I got ‘fucking hell mate! You knocked out the fucking cherry, for fucks sake man’.
I thought holy shit, what does that mean? Is it like the best bit or something? The crème de la crème? Or maybe it helps with the filtration somehow? My mind was racing, palms sweating, nausea, (mostly likely to do with the copious amounts of marijuana I’d reluctantly inhaled). However, years later I found out that the ‘cherry’ (and I know I’m a little late in the game here) is just the lit bit. The lit bit! That’s it! Easily salvageable by lighting it again. I know. The effort that it must take to re-light it, especially in these modern times. Fire. How to make fire... Rub two sticks together? Blow on leaves? Oh no wait… just use your fucking lighter! Pricks. There’s about twenty of them on the fucking table any which way, each with their own marijuana picture printed on them.
Lastly and undoubtedly the most humiliating moment of smoking in large groups is knowing when it’s finished or not. There seems to be an unwritten rule that the person with whom the weed belongs to should have starting and finishing rights. Makes sense I suppose. But what doesn’t make sense is when I’m all the way over one side of the room and the owner is all the way over the side and I’ve never actually spoken a single word to them, how the fuck do I get it back to them without completely breaking the atmosphere and revealing myself to be the uncool, awkward, nervous character I’ve so desperately tried to conceal since coming here?
Seeing the joint coming towards me, getting shorter and shorter I would panic. Do I just take a quick drag and then somehow try to shuffle my way past all of these people? Do I say ‘would you mind passing this back to Tom please? Thank you so much’. How do I even know when its finished and I’m not inadvertently robbing at least four expectant zombie-land extras out of their much desired fix? And there’s no way of knowing because no one fucking talks about it! I would just always pass it on no matter what. A quick drag, singeing my lips and tongue so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to taste anything for the foreseeable future and just get rid of the fucker. Some one else’s problem to deal with. Its not like there’s any camaraderie in those situations. It really is every man for them self.