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Sense memory


Back in the 80s, I was pretty much a pothead. Not your average stoner, mind you. I did some very active intellectual pursuits during that time, including picking up a couple of college degrees, a brave search into comparative religion and spirituality, some jail time, and a failed marriage.

With the 90s came real work, explorations of acting, refinement of creative pursuits, and medical problems. And aside from a few dabblings here and there, I've been pretty much drug-free.

Recently I was digging through my old CDs, and found a bunch that I hadn't listened to in a long while, including some favorites from the midnight-toker days.

Wow, do I miss being high right now. The music just resonates inside of me with an emptiness and longing that is indescribable.

You see, I have this theory. Certain experiences are imprinted based on the environment in which they were experienced. For instance, if an individuals first experiences of sexual arousal were attached to pictures in lingere catalogs, that individual will always carry a kind of fetish for lingere.

In my case, the first time I was introduced to marijuana, I was head-over-heels infatuated with a stripper named Elaine. We used to work together in the clubs, and formed a bond-- we dated for a while-- and she was the first woman I had ever been so gone for.
After that, getting high was always like being just a little bit in love.

Eventually, Elaine drifted out of my life in a tragic love accident. She fell for someone else. Didn't leave room for me anymore, and I was heartbroken, but by that time I was imprinted.

A few years later when my life was a complete shambles and I had to move back home with my parents, I managed to grow my own little crop frm seeds I had saved, and I would drive to the north side of the lake, park the car, and listen to the radio and look at the stars and the lights of the city. I had managed to find this place where I could get a rock radio station from Fargo to come in clearly, and it was so nice.

During this time, both my mother and father were very ill; my father had had a near-fatal heart attack, and my mother had thyroid-destruction surgery. And I had moved back into the house (bad idea, but I was suckered into it) after having been on my own for three years. I was not allowed to argue or voice an opinion that would upset either of them, or I could kill them (yes, that bit of psychology was used by both of them), so I had no outlet for frustration. Except the lovely little magic spot on the north shore, and my lovely little green weedy friend.

Over a period of time, I developed an imaginary girlfriend. We would sit in the car and watch the stars and listen to the music and just talk about stuff. Family stuff, the future, feelings, pretty much anything. She was wonderful, but I always knew she was just a figment of my imagination.

Until one night. It had been a particularly bad day at home, and I had gone out to my spot to get high and calm down. It wasn't working, and I ended up driving home quite late, still pissed off.

I walked in the front door of the house, and she was there. She threw her arms around me and just held onto me, and all of the anger and grief just drained out of me. Then she kissed me.

I went to bed that night and slept more soundly than I had slept since I had been home.

After that, when we went out to the lake, she was different somehow. She was no longer in my imagination, she was there sitting beside me. She wasn't just there to listen to me anymore. She had her own dreams and desires, and we talked about those.

Eventually I recognized that she was becoming disenchanted with me and growing more and more restless. I knew she needed to leave, but she was staying out of a feeling of loyalty. One night we had a fight over something tiny and stupid, and it broke the ice. We talked about her needs, and that she needed to go.

It was a teary farewell. I cried, she cried. We hugged. And then she got out of the car, turned and gave me one last sad smile, and walked off into the night.

I never saw her again.

And now, when I listen to the music that I remember from those long-ago days, it brings back every memory of the love and loss that I went through.

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