Amsterdam: No Hash, Please, We’re Skittish

The truth of it is that late in college, pot just got boring. Somewhere around 1986 the fumes wore off the rose. I remember the moment precisely, probably because I wasn’t smoking at the time.

Mom, you can just stop reading, right now.

We finished striking our Lowell House production of The Rainmaker, by N. Richard Nash (1913 – 2000), and as one will after a college show we pelted to someone’s room for the cast party. Beer was opened — something awful like Meister Brau I’m sure, since it wormed its watery way into dorm cockles everywhere by costing $4.99 a case. Kajagoogoo had broken up the year before, so the music was probably good. Rainmaker had been a friendly and stressless show, for the most part, and we were happy and tired.

Soon everyone sat in a circle in the living room, and joints passed hand to hand. My Girl At The Time was abstaining in the wake of cocaine problems a few years earlier, and I gallantly declined as well. Not a biggie. So, you know that bit in the zombie movie when the Guy Who Was Bitten or the Girl Who Had Sex or the Sickly Child Who Does Not Speak keels over in a glaze, soon to leap up and commence to chomping on the rest of the gang? It was like that: inside of 10 minutes the room was silent with glassy disoriented folks nodding their heads and saying “Yeaaaah, totally” a lot. And with the rare exception, that pretty much put an end to the whole marijuana business for me. I mean, we had been having fun.

Mom can start reading again now.

Lo these years later we’re off to Amsterdam, and Mary Elizabeth Williams puts it beautifully in a 1997 article in Salon:

You reach a certain age, and spending three days with your head in a bong just isn’t that appealing an option anymore. Yet tell people you’re going to Amsterdam for the weekend and suddenly they start hooting like you’re opening for Cypress Hill on the NORML tour. Your friends no longer see you as a mature adult who enjoys museums and fine wine. No, with that one word, “Amsterdam,” you’re transformed into a wound-up college student out for the spring break of a lifetime, the kind of person who uses the word “party” as a verb. (Read the excellent rest of Toke of the Town at Salon.)

The Bass Goddess sent an email: “Amsterdam? Whoo-Hoo!” Waltress sent one: “… Anyway, you will soon have forgotten it as you partake of the legal illicit substances in Amsterdam. Have fun.” At work they snicker. At the bar they roar.

In fact, I just don’t smoke. Being around weed — I’m in the music business, and I live in New York fafucksake — doesn’t make a difference. I don’t eat Froot Loops either, and being in the vicinity of Kellogg’s products doesn’t change that. (“Hey, you! Get away from the cereal aisle!” “Aw, man, I was just looking, I wasn’t eating it!”) The whole hoopla makes me wonder just how much the average American Joe really, really, really wants to get stoned. It’s a bit worrying.

But next time, who knows. I’m thinking I’ll visit a coffeehouse. Just to sit in one. For a minnit. Just to, you know, check it out.

About Linus

The man behind the curtain. But couldn't we get a nicer curtain?
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