I understand why people do drugs.
Drugs and alcohol have the magical ability to take you somewhere else and it’s right here. A short trip. The journey is from your mind to your mirth, from your perception to what it is you’re perceiving — the lateral move from intaking reality to being a part of it. They call it mindfulness. Drugs achieve it so effortlessly that it’s hard to classify as the same thing, and maybe it isn’t. I’ve been thinking; children are there all the time. For example, when I was a boy, I despised hikes. Walks of any kind. Where are we going? I would think. Views meant nothing — I see it, now feed me. In recent years I’ve come to the opinion that to not complain is the mark of an exemplary individual, but I had no such opinion then; I would whine. Man, I would whine. Clever little negativities. “Leave me in the car”, “Is this a loop or do we have to walk back right where we are? Great. I have to see this twice”, “ When I get older, I’m never walking again.” I was a pain, truly… Unless you could get me talking… My dad would engage me about superheroes — a favourite subject of mine to this day — and that was it. What walk? We’re talking about Batman. I would go on and on, absorbed in conversation, my imagination stepping in for the walk while the boy could conveniently enter a time warp. Without realizing, the hike would be over. And it might not seem mindful to need a distraction from my moving legs, but I assure you, I was nowhere else but in that conversation with my dad. Maybe childhood was saturated with fantasy and play — maybe that’s why it was so easy to exist there. In getting older, it makes me wonder, are we just hunting for our childhood enlightenment? Forever chasing the wisdom we lost? Through combustibles and consumables, trying to scratch our way in-to or out-of ourselves?
I’ve been taking drugs recently — immaterial ones. My drugs have been social and the effects are the same. I’m wonderfully present. When at my aunt’s, sitting in one of her wide chairs with a pillow on either side of me, one serving as a backrest and one serving as an armrest, while I listen to my uncle tell me about a nearby theatre; when she serves me a cold beer after I’ve bused and biked across the city to see her, and later, when I am reading on her pullout couch before sleep, I am only there. And otherwise, when I am at my friends’ house, playing Dungeons & Dragons — navigating a fantastical realm around a kitchen table. Or when we bike through the streets as a small armada, making our two-wheeled prowess known. Three nights ago, we played the grade school game of grounders for an hour and a half — in the dark, on a kids’ structure. I am present too when I visit my brother in North Vancouver and his dog Harvey (girl) greets me overjoyed. Her tail wags with such force that her rear paws slide back and forth on the hardwood. I can’t be anywhere else when I look into her illustrious eyes, when she sleeps with me and I hear the rhythm of her breathing. I’ve been taking drugs recently — I’ve been couch surfing and it’s powerful stuff.
I feel a great sense of being lost at this point in my life. It might be the once-in-a-century pandemic, it might be the new city. It’s certainly in some part because the structure of schooling has fallen away and I’ve been left to navigate the adult world without handrails — both a wonder and a terror. I think that’s why many enter graduate studies; at least while paying tuition the answer of what to do with yourself is ever-present, and you can prolong entering the what-you-make-of-it until you’re thirty. I hope purpose is clear then. For my sake too. I’m almost twenty-four and I want the world — but what to do tomorrow? You see, this thinking-ahead happens at my desk — I bed on no couch tonight. Philosophizing happens at my desk, then again under my covers.
The saying goes that everything should be taken in moderation. I don’t think this is sound advice for play — play always. Listen to music, share meals, hear stories from your uncle, climb a play-set at night, wrestle a dog, converse, and sleep on couches.
Goodbye and I fake smoke a cigarette as I write this — because it’s cool,
B.F. Greeno, aka
The Sofa Sage