Daily Archives: March 1, 2012

When things taste better.

My company volunteered me to take what was essentially a personality test a while ago. The supposed purpose of the survey was to determine what personality traits the company should select for when hiring future employees. The questions dealt a lot with what action or emotion I identified most with. Basically I spent the entire survey saying, think before you speak. Think before you act. Think before you feel. Which works out great in work environments. People who are proficient at monitoring and managing their emotions typically work well in most environments. I am a product of a well-indoctrinated adolescence. Works diligently. Plays well with others. Perfectly normal, perfectly healthy.

When I am done with the survey I am offered donuts and orange juice. Working in a medical clinic means constant bombardment with processed and refined carbs. When an orthopedist’s office provides your clinic with “breakfast,” they mean bagels and cream cheese. A drug rep who brings you “lunch” is talking about pasta and salad from Olive Garden. I decline, not interested in the lack of protein.

People like me spend most of our time in school looking for things we don’t find. Eventually we give up and settle for something that works. It’s fine.

* * *

THC does not act directly on the dopaminergic pathway. Not all users feel pleasure in response to consuming THC. This is my first time, and the mild euphoria I feel is probably a result of a combination of several factors. Warm lighting, some relaxing music, a relatively quiet restaurant crowd, and her smile. I’ve been feeling strange up to this point, and it’s not until I realize I can’t make sense of words on a menu that I realize that yes, I am officially high. I look up to tell her, and when I find her eyes it is almost like the first time we make eye contact, a few long seconds during which I think of several things to say and end up with an awkward “hi.”

She is always pretty. Every time I look at her and my eyes find hers, without fail, I feel admiration. Cannabis alters sensory perception, so when I look at her now, I recognize her, but she is different. What am I seeing? Dark brown eyes, soft lips, mahogany hair that flows around her face and drapes across her shoulders. I have seen these before, but not like this. There’s more to the things I see than how they look – everything I perceive has an emotional component. So when I look at her, there is warmth, happiness, limerence. I feel a need for closeness.

Distance means more when THC is binding to my cannabinoid receptors. Later, when we will walk to the movie theater nearby to eat peanut m&ms and try to make something coherent out of the images on the screen, I will be daunted by the journey on never-ending gray pavement underneath a black sky. I will also be perplexed by the queue to the ticket booth, where the neon lighting turns my weaving path through the queue into me walking through the Starship Enterprise. And walking up the infinite steps to our seats in the theater will challenge both my depth perception and motor coordination, which could be better to begin with.

“I meant distance from you,” I clarify with her. “Distance feels more significant.”

She moves closer to me. Holds my hand.

* * *

I spend a disconcerting amount of time trying to cut through a band of fat in my steak. Before that, I’d become very intimate with the process of mashing butter and sour cream into a baked potato.

“Do you want me to cut your steak?” she asks.

“I’ve got it,” I say, and continue to fail.

She takes the plate away from me, and cuts my steak for me. The mild disassociative effects of being high don’t prevent my heart from swelling. The waitress and other patrons of the restaurant are probably a little perplexed but I’m too baked and too happy to care. The steak tastes fine, and it’s temperature is pleasant. The potatoes impress me more.

A concept in injury recovery is healing in the context of movement. Resting is a necessary component of tissue repair, but remodeling begins quickly after the inflammatory phase. Sit around on a couch eating oreos all day waiting for your hamstring to get better means your damaged hamstring fibers remodel in the context of acute and non-mobile hip and knee flexion. Scar tissue is non-contractile, does not contribute to movement, but the orientation in which it develops can be influenced to some degree. You can choose between something that makes moving hard or something that doesn’t help. When the scars have settled, can you trust your legs to remember to run?

I can’t remember the first time I got burned, but I can remember how I reacted. Pretend it doesn’t mean anything. Let non-contractile tissue accumulate.

She runs her fingers through my hair. “You look a lot more relaxed.”

“About what?”

“About everything.”

I try to talk to her about my experience. Connotation is suddenly very important to me and I keep saying sentences, then replacing words with other words that I feel are more appropriate. My words fail me, so we go to her car to hold each other. There are things the heart doesn’t forget. Take away my barriers and pretenses and I am sixteen again, when a hug means everything and holding hands makes the difference between a good time and the best fucking night of my life. Let me feel close to her. Let me be at peace with needing this closeness.

When we make the journey into the labyrinth of the theater we maintain our embrace into our seats. Her head on my shoulder makes more sense than the movie we watch, and I think about that more than I do about the scenes which seem to mean things on their own but not as a whole. If I am physically uncomfortable leaning together like that, I’m not aware.

I don’t know how long we’ve been watching the movie, but I begin to realize that what I’m seeing is becoming more and more coherent. I hope for a few more hours before I come down, because I feel like I’m losing something.

* * *

One of the first things I do afterward, of course, is to tell everyone in my life about the best day of my life. I talk about how peanut m&ms, fried oreos, and cherry pie with whipped cream tasted, how their texture blew me the fuck away. I express sadness at the fact that these things are not as enjoyable while sober. I now have a reddit account, “EverythingSoProfound,” subscribed to /r/trees, in commemoration of how my world was forever changed by pot. Do I remember my heart before its scars?

“I just want to get that first time back,” I say to a friend, “though from what I understand it’s never the same.”

“Not sure if serious.”

“I’m serious.”

“That’s the basis for addiction.”

“It’ll be fine, I’ll probably just try a few more times and give up and forget it happened.”

Back at work in my scrubs, I eat a chocolate cupcake and am not surprised to find it underwhelming.