bg/ish: "I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback."
Let's just dive right into this.
I mentioned in my post about fireworks over the Mission that I didn't see those particular fireworks because I was down at the Wharf. I also mentioned that I was tripping balls. Although that expression is somewhat common, and it's full implications may have been somewhat of a stretch for the overall context of the night, it was in it's most literal sense, in no way an exaggeration. A brief bit of setup...
My plans for 4th of July consisted of a BBQ at a good friends house. Drinking was expected. I rolled thru with a couple of 12 packs myself. Ah but the party goers were thirsty this day. The sun was out in the Mission, and San Francisco was alive with that coveted combination of beautiful weather, a holiday, and the carefree relaxation of Summer.
We drank. We ate. We shuffled around to music. We smoked the gorgeous herbs native to Northern California. We laughed. It's possible on the inside, we felt like crying. Ah but you know, it was a party! Old friends. New friends. A revolving door to our backyard oasis in the City.
As the day turned to evening, the group began to disperse and move into what was sure to be an exciting night regardless of individual destinations. We ambled back towards our apartment, or possibly stumbled drunkenly. It matters not. We found ourselves laying in the cool grass of Dolores Park, taking in what was to be the last of the day's sunlight.
It was then we dropped acid into our cans of PBR.
* * * * *
Growing up, I lived a life mostly sheltered of sex, booze and drugs, albeit exposed to domestic violence, religious values, and emotional pain. That's what we call "a wash".
Through my late teens and early 20's I rarely experimented with drugs, although I did my share of boozing and womanizing. I'd smoke pot and occasionally throw back some prescription pills if I could get my hands on some. Eventually, I began to smoke copious amounts of ganja, although I typically preferred it to drinking and only during the lower periods of self doubt and loathing did I consider it a problem.
I saw friends get totally lost in certain drugs, and I never had the desire to relinquish the necessary amount of self control, so I tended to abstain.
Within the last 6 months however, I've began to change my outlook on experimentation. I'm a young, mostly stable man in my 30's. I feel relatively settled and am in no way worried about losing control of my life to any controlled substance. So I've tried things. Some I've liked. Some I haven't.
So, on the 4th of July, I dropped acid, and dare I say, it's the best drug I've ever tried.
* * * * *
We sipped our PBR's at the park. Slightly apprehensive at first. Occasionally I'd look in the can to see if I could spot the paper floating around. Eventually I swallowed it. Before finishing the entire beer, we walked back to the apartment to set up shop. Buen Sabor. Food in the stomach. We settled in to an episode of South Park.
It's hard to say what I was feeling at that point. The acid certainly wasn't kicking the door to my mind down. It was perhaps knocking gently, or ringing a doorbell that had long stopped working.
We were going to see fireworks. We jumped on our bikes and began our mash to the Wharf. About halfway there, I started to feel an almost symbiotic connection to my bike. The door was open. We turned up towards the Wharf at Embarcaderro, riding slowly through crowds of tourists and local Bay Area visitors on foot. Without thinking, I smiled wildly at the first attractive girl I saw, and she smiled back. It was making itself at home.
We pushed on towards the Wharf. Traffic was backed up for well over a mile. Typically, I love to mash between the lanes of traffic on this route, and on this night, with cars at a standstill, I was all too eager. I rode, focused, relaxed, and then, the tail lights of the cars stretching out for miles in front of me began to separate from the cars and form a galaxy of red stars for me to navigate through. It was at the same time beautiful and sobering. We were laughing like old friends now.
Upon reaching our destination, I found a small strip of grass next to a sidewalk, propped my bike up, and laid down in the grass next to a tree. The tree seemed more alive to me than any of the thousands of people flooding the area. I laid on my back. The fireworks started. I could see them out of the corner of my eye, but I was more interested in the hues and tones they cast on the night sky. I took in the sounds. I laughed absurdly and extendedly.
Eventually we made our way home. We settled in with some more South Park. After about an hour we turned in, I put on some chill music (Emancipator), crawled into bed and closed my eyes. I had beautiful, lucid dreams, and everytime I woke up, I knew that as soon as I closed my eyes I'd be back in my wonderful trip.
* * * * *
By no means is the purpose of this post to advocate drug use. Especially LSD. It was my first time, and I can only speak on what effect it had on myself personally.
The next day, I was mentally exhausted, and strangely refreshed. I had two distinct moments of "Hi, I'm LSD, and I'm still in your system", but they were fleeting at best, and a satisfying reminder of the previous days perception shift.
Going into the experience, I didn't know what to expect. I had a few presumptions, but none of them really came about. Here's what I didn't expect to happen though...
I felt completely at peace with myself. I felt my anxieties sort themselves out, and flush out of my mind. I felt my penchant for self-loathing dissolve and wash away. I saw my perception of the world shift, and I learned from it. I gained a new appreciation for the smallest things. I interacted with people in a more extroverted way, and hardly worried about what they thought of me. I took a huge mental step over a huge stumbling block that had been clouding my mind for the past 6 months to a year. I never felt out of control. I never felt wasted. For the first time in a long time, I felt my life was beautiful.
I still feel that way today, with even more affirmation. I've written fairly openly in this space recently about my mental state, my perception of people and my life, my pains, my escapes, and my lack of focus. I take no shame from my experience. In no way am I advocating what I did as a solution.
We'd had this acid since it was gifted to my roommate on New Year's Eve. This wasn't something I rushed into without regard. But I feel good. In fact, I feel great.
I've been reflecting on how I allowed myself to get caught up in a mental web of sadness, angst, and anxiety. We tend to think of "habits" as things like, smoking, or drinking, or abusing oneself to Hentai porn. (hehe) But we often forget about our mental habits, our patterns of thinking, our self serving nature and placations.
It can obviously take time to break habits developed over years. I'm certainly not saying that one hit of acid was a cure all for me, but it was a good start. It was relaxing and cathartic. It was like a reboot of my brain. I had good people around me and was in a good environment and ended up having a really good experience. I don't take that for granted.
* * * * *
At any rate, that was my 4th of July. Illicit drugs and fireworks, my own slice of the American Dream. It's a cutty style. I suppose it's only fitting the only photo of me from that day captures me lounging in a leisure shirt, clutching a beer, rocking a swanky 'stache, with a Haitian girl in my lap.