What did my first time smoking marijuana feel like?
I wish I can say it all started at a frat party with a bunch of my friends. I would say that we just graduated from High School and we wanted to have a nice celebration. I would imagine we would engage in coitus with some associates we barely know from school. I could picture teens asking the elixir of cognitive impairment for permission to act out our moronic impulses without that nagging voice of reason. And I would be the only loser who hasn’t tried any of the “adult” stuff. Like I could give a crap about sex, booze and nose sugar.
Well, the booze would be fine.
And instead of crack. It would be weed.
But nope. That didn’t happen. My scenario isn’t that exciting, but it was just as weird.
But before we get to the good part, some backdrop of my influences is in order.
It was common knowledge back then that my sister and her husband were pot heads. And it didn’t really bother me all that much. In fact I think they were relieved that I was willing to hang out with them in the same room and they could continue to smoke as much as they wanted. I remember playing with the “clouds” when there was not much to say. We would generally just chill and play videogames. The room did get pretty foggy. I remember looking in awe as my bro-in-law would take a really big hit and just make a silent bellow, releasing this monster of a cloud into the room. It was fun pretending he’s creating this being of smoke ready to do his master’s bidding. My sis in turn would release smoke that resembled tendrils of dragons that danced in the air for a while before disappearing into the Ether. Before I realized what it was, there was no doubt that I got contact high.
While we would hang, they were nice enough to pass the bong or pipe of choice to me when they would partake, but I would always decline. Back then I was still in High school and very much involved with the Mormon church. So pretty much anything that would “poison” God’s vessel, or dealing with things that had to do with indulgence was frowned upon. I didn’t want to get in trouble with the man upstairs, or with my old man.
So these leisurely few hours after school of shooting the shit and playing with clouds and dealing with my own self-denial would be the usual norm between all of us.
Plus, refusing someone’s generosity was rude. Right?
The turning point happened when I graduated high school a few months later, and shortly after when I ran away from my aunt’s place of living. Initially I was staying with her because my dad decided to move to California on my senior year for work. I wanted to finish high school with the friends I made here in Oregon instead of starting over in a new city, so we thought it was a good idea to let me move in with Auntie for the last year until I graduated. Long story short, it wasn’t. But she lived in Madras and the school was a 15 minute walk from her place, so I stuck with it. Stubbornness runs in the family I suppose.
Auntie and I didn’t see things eye to eye. We would butt heads on every little thing and eventually things got heated. After a rather huge argument, my sis and bro-in-law stepped in and helped me move my things from that house into their place of living as a temporary spot until they could help me move back in with dad.
We did all this in the middle of the night while Auntie was asleep. It felt like they were breaking me out of jail. I felt like a fiend, it was great! I took the T.V. with me too! (It was my own tv, don’t worry. ;p)
So now it was: me, sis, bro, and two of their friends/roommates. They were cool. They knew what was going on and sympathized with the situation.
Even though I was elated to get the fuck out of there, I couldn’t get that last argument I had with Auntie out of my head. That last conversation kinda hit me hard. Needless to say, I was mopey.
These guys understood, so after a bit of talking the question came up. Do I want to celebrate my liberation? Both from her and for my recent graduation from High School?
They proposed the suggestion that I smoked with them to help me chill. I was hesitant, though I wasn’t 100% against the idea. The only thing that kept me from partaking was the voices that said it wasn’t healthy, that it wasn’t moral. That anyone taking the devil’s weed are no better than criminals or homeless men.
Then I realized, this was Auntie’s voice.
I squashed it under my proverbial boot.
I didn’t need her telling me what was wrong with me anymore. I was tired of hearing her judge me because I was raised differently. Her words didn’t matter to me anymore.
I just wanted to do what I felt was right for me. I just wanted to relax.
So we got right to it. My brother went to fetch the materials and sis was telling me her own stories of indulging as we waited. The whole time it felt like an initiation ritual. It was a bit thrilling, like buying your first porn mag behind your dad’s back. But to have this feeling surface when it’s only just smoking pot – well after my 18th birthday no less – made me feel stupid.
So first off, bro didn’t start me off with a pipe or even a joint. They sat me down at the dinner table and presented to me a small water bong. A green bong with a crooked neck that made hitting out of it a bit more convenient.
The instructions were simple: Just suck out of it.
No weed and no bowl, just suck.
I thought he was being weird, but he quickly explained that before I was to indulge in THC, it was best to have a feel for how sucking from a bong felt like first before actually having the bowl. So I did.
Breaching the threshold of being a pure saint, I put my lips to the lip and sucked.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but tasting the splash of bong water droplets wasn’t delicious. I told him so, and with a smile he encouraged me to try again, this time hitting it softly.
So I put my lips back on and inhaled softer. Breathing in through the glass wasn’t great since I was not used to the flavor of resin air.
After a few good tries I was promoted to rookie pot head when they loaded the first bowl. Even their roommates joined in with the ceremony putting in their two cents of wisdom.
I like to call myself a visual learner, so I was grateful when they gave a demonstration on how to hit it. Even down to how to hold the lighter better.
How to handle the lighter wasn’t hard to grasp. (Ba dum, tss.)
After the demonstration and words of wisdom, the moment came. They set the bong down and pushed it towards me.
I took a big breath (away from the neck as instructed) and exhaled (away from the neck as warned) before lighting the greens and inhaling the smoke into the chamber. I heard my sister warning me to stop before filling the chamber all the way, mixed with words of encouragement from everyone else to fill it to the max.
I can’t remember which I did, but I do remember stopping, lifting the bowl and taking in the cloud before exhaling and coughing my soul into the living room.
My throat was on fire. It took me a bit to calm my coughing. My sister handed me a glass of water while everyone cheered. I took their utter amusement as a sign that I was accepted into this little clan of Indica worshippers. I was glad.
One or two more hits and I was set for the rest of the night. Thinking back, it’s hard to describe what it felt like being stoned for the first time. Reality didn’t feel “real”, just weird. There was no hallucinating. I just got even lazier than the norm, which wasn’t saying much. Daydreaming got even deeper and I zoned out a lot. Cookies were twice as delicious as they usually were. All in all it wasn’t crazy, but I definitely didn’t feel normal. It’s hard to put the feel of it into words, but I had fun. I was comfy and happily watched the pros tackle the “gas mask” from a safe distance.
It took me a while onwards to really get a feel for what my tolerance level was and what glass pieces I preferred over others. And it would be a few years before discovering what it felt like to “overdo it”, but I still partake from time to time. It even helps me out when I’m writing or talking to friends about philosophy and fiction. Smoking while playing videogames is fun as well, if I don’t zone out too much in the opening menu screen.
As a whole, the experience wasn’t a frat party, but I was nevertheless surrounded by friends. I was happy.
And the drive to Cali that weekend was filled with fun banter and peaceful smoke.