I’m going to get down a few things, after getting a bit warped and absorbing Shambhala, but before I’m so tweaked and burnt that I can’t say anything intelligent for weeks.
Here’s an idea: There are two realities. The reality that is, the objective facts, most of which are hidden to us. And the reality of what we perceive, the miniscule fraction of objective reality’s facts we’ve strung together to form our personal worldview, our emotional response to what we think of as knowledge. Both realities are real. One is incomplete. The quality of our incomplete perceptual reality is what we bring to it – our fears, hopes, emotional graces and baggage.
I think I went braindead. I can’t remember what the point was in what I was writing. It’s getting fragmented. I guess I was trying to lay the foundation for the statement that we CAN tweak our personal reality, willfully, but to a very limited extent. Most people anyway. I can see the possibilities for tweaking, how reality can be what I want it to be, but I can’t do much about it. All I can do is be aware of the mind mechanism at work, selecting for me, narrowing my options for what to do, how to perceive.
I feel stupid when I’m stoned. But I think faster, in rich and complex ways that I can’t articulate except through nonsense poetry, when I think in counterpoint, synesthetically, and ideas must be compressed in jabberwocky.
Nico played the food court. Just Nico, a tiny stage, a guitar, and a sound system. Jazzy lounge covers of Nirvana songs. I said hi. Don’t know if he recognized me. I’m trying to go into the crispers-eating headstate. Oh yeah? Alright, that’s cool. Dead-eyed responses bring me down.
I was going on an emotional trip about people – my inability to connect with them. Then, at the campsite, nature arrests my attention. A freak storm rolls in, driving rain and wind, camp gear flying. We have to hold onto our pavilion and tie the drapings to the poles. I stop thinking about connecting to people, and think about how fragile the grid is. The reality of being outside. Nothing like a big balls-out storm to sober you up. The storm passes, people cheer.
I’m “thinking” I should be insular, but I’m “feeling” the duty and the craving to do something involving people. Remembering the guys in the car, complimenting the dealer on the quality of the rails he sold them. I have 2 bottles of cough meds. I could go stone crazy. Maybe I should. Maybe I will. If people aren’t going to involve me to my satisfaction – I’m so on my own, it feels like… I want to change my values. Here I go. Spiraling down to despair.
She opens the door to the van: “Hey Johnny”. A benign jab. “Hi”, I reply softly, a mournful singing tone, high, “hi”, ingratiating but non-committal. I hate how I sound sometimes. I’m still in storm-mode, but thank God the crazy wind stopped. Still got damp clothes and damp thoughts. I want to drop the needy nag splinter and just be cool, or fuck cool and have fun, one or the other, not this THC-induced over-analytical uptightness. Well, plenty of time for that, but I started writing this in the first place because I was being analytical and seeing the ugly real side of everything, as well as the stupid menacing paranoid neurotic side of everything I created from perfectly real facts, my social awkwardness, my lack of friends, my small stature, my loser-style, which I use to hold a bleak view of life. Yes, I’m sitting in a van writing, at Shambhala. This isn’t the place for emo-goth bullshit.
I’m saying things in a non-stylish, non-artistic, but articulate way. I’m writing insular experience like an extrovert. But it’s sad that if I were to get poetic, it would just be cryptic fragmented franken-metaphors born of personal signifiers – my few objective facts, pushed together to form a junkheap fiction. Heh, too many metaphors. Too many lawn ornaments for this tasteful neighborhood.
I see no brave front in writing anymore. I dropped the shield, it was weighing me down. I wanted to go out, meet people. Now I still want that, but I can’t tweak reality to get what I want. Neuroses get in the way.
I just looked at finch’s kids, who are camping with us. I was thinking that this bitter cocktail of emotions flooding through my blood and brain must be freakishly removed from their reality. From their perspective, I’m worrying over abstruse, self-created hallucinations, bizarre, paranoid interpretations of reality. When I say “self-created”, I don’t mean I have control or intention. I mean my “self”, my memories, what has stuck to the scratchy analog recording of my cortex, the junk that makes up the character I play here, this stuff “selected” the aforementioned bitter cocktail. I could have maybe tweaked a variable here and there, or with a Herculean effort, turned the tide of my emotion-driven worldview, but I didn’t. The process – perversely tied to “self”, did its work and I live with the result. And write about it.
I have tequila and DXM, except this year the booze is finch’s. And I always forget what a precious resource alcohol becomes after eight hours at Shambhala. I have an urge to get buzzed into some predictable intoxication, before getting into hardcore alterants.
You wonder what time it is, huh? I’m blissfully ignorant of that fact. Someone answers. It’s 10 to 3. See, I say? Time’s really dilated here.
A lot of deja-vus. Poetics from narcotized clear eyes. Insular or not? Why am I on this theme? Maybe I should do acid and get another theme. Or maybe that would just amplify this theme to nightmarish size. My trip – the ache inducing beautiful faces. Out of my element, but I have my drugs, my stash. I have my pharmacy. Thinking about 5htp for now. Carpet party on Sunday?
After DXM. Wow. Dissociated. Wandering the crowded paths. The first hour was the grimy plumbing it always is. Feels wrong. Nausea. Why did I do this? I thought I’d lie down on the beach, smoke some pot, stare up at the stars, so clear on the ranch. I told Jenna I was so fucked up it wasn’t even funny. But I’m laughing. It was profound, but I can’t remember why. Profound moments of puke. Yikes. I hurled. Me. Which was a good thing in retrospect. How did that happen? It just happened. It wasn’t a nightmare. I was thinking about whether I should find a toilet when I stumbled to the ground and tossed my cookies on the dirt, somewhere by the outlying food vendors. And then again, half a minute later. Yes, I can understand how people can like puking, once all the nervous business about whether or not you’re gonna do it has been settled. It was epic for me. I’ve held in the sick for 16 years. I’d done my staggering robo-dancing at the main stage, shuffling backwards each beat. Of course that’s why I puked. You don’t dance with a belly full of robitussin. Duh.
“Are these glow sticks any good?” I ask the asian girl in front of me on a path I think leads to Ewok Village. I hadn’t bent them right and I’d accidentally thrown away the connectors, so what were supposed to be rings were half-illuminated sticks placed in my jacket pocket. “Be happy,” she instructs me. I am, but I’m too dissociated to look happy. I’m a googley eyed freak.
After walking between the camp, the town, and the stages twenty-something times, I stagger into my tent and decide to end the night with a few good pulls on my hash pipe. I drift into delirium, unable to sleep just yet. The visuals are disturbingly precise and utterly surreal – a flotsam of mental junk, fragments of television commercials and techno, mind-bogglingly specific, all narrated with a half-nonsensical but hyper-syntactical pastiche of voices. I keep waiting for some kink, some break, in the stream of words, but it never comes. It just bubbles onward. I remember that this flavour of hallucination is unattainable without DXM and cannabis. I remember why I used to chase hallucinations, and how freaky a pursuit it is.
I’m amazed all my stuff is accounted for in the morning, including the glowing apparel, mints, and various things I bought at the general store
But everything is in slurred fragments. Sleep dep and old age. Dividing up a triscuit. Okay, enough arabesque. Yes I can ornament. So what? I’m not burned out yet though. DXM doesn’t really do that. Not like E does. I still have a certain vitality left. Reasons for hedonism and forced happiness remain. Justifications for self-abuse. For treating my brain like a toy. Helicopter rides. Profound moments of puke. Trade your DMT for PMP.
I’m on E. Conversation flows like water. I’m open all the way. I can talk about anything. I remember that I told myself NOT to talk about ANYTHING or the crash would be worse, laden with regrets. But I don’t care. Because I see that there is nothing to regret. It feels great to talk about my sex life. Half the ecstasy of ecstasy is saying the things you don’t say, can’t say, when sober. I can dance now. Not in my crazy way, but in a more natural, fluid way. I feel the beat in every nerve. I am the music. The music is great, especially at the fractal forest. Beautiful people dancing. I dance down the paths with my arm around finch. I talk to everyone. They talk back. We’re all family here. We’re open.
Back in the fields, I run into a couple. I’m playing the invincibility theme on my portable yamaha. The guy and his girlfriend, dancing to nothing in glowing rings, stop and approach me. He says he does it differently, and proceeds to play the main Mario theme, with full counterpoint. I’m blown away. I invite them to our camp, we have tequila. We all chatter under the pavilion, ecstatic conversation, getting to know each other, full of opinions, all seeming to jive, not in agreement, but in mutual respect. I chat with Jeff, the musician. We talk about music, and piano technique, and Keith Jarrett, and peak oil. Holly is here, one of the Vernon girls. I’m getting to know her. I smoke too many cigarettes, smoke them like weed, won’t notice that I’m hurting my throat till the next day. I don’t notice that I’m biting my tongue either. I’m chewing gum to keep my hyperactive jaw busy.
The couple head off to town. Finch goes to sleep. I’m left with Holly. Holly Lemon. That’s her real name, apparently. Happy to hang with her, she seems to need someone too. But now I’m questioning everything I just said. The hit is wearing off. I’m running out of words. She keeps talking. I struggle to keep my good vibe outwardly unbroken, respond to her verbalized thoughts with fake affirmations: “um hmm, nice, yeah, right on”.
Three druggies wander in to join us. They’ve been up for a long time. The girl, Jenn, says she’d smoked crack. “Was it totally disgusting?” asks the big kid. “Did you like it?” asks the blond one. “No.” She shakes her head with a sigh. “Yeah, I liked it for, like, the five seconds I was high.” The blond one has just discovered E. He likes it. Says it changed his mind about chemical drugs. He also says, just one time and you’re hooked. He doesn’t seem to mind being hooked. He can say all sorts of things that appall my noveaux-cynic sensibilities, from a position of insulation. He’s high. I tell him I’m crashed. I crash hard. But I’m not trying to fuck with your trip. I don’t want to bring you down. He says, “I want to bring you back up.” He’s not a bad guy. They’ve got powder E. They’re putting it in everything, a juice bottle, joints. The big guy pours some powder on paper and says I’m gonna have to parachute it. I figure out what he means, and do it. They want to see Bass Nectar at the Portal. I’m still unenthused. But Holly tells me I just did E, and I’ll be up again soon enough. I say alright, and reluctantly get up. The guy says he thinks I’d be fun to hang with. So I go. The sun’s coming up. I’m telling the guy what I know about E, how much is neurotoxic, that even the pure stuff is an amphetamine, so you’re gonna feel speedy. And notice I’m talking again. I guess I’m up again.
So I follow these people to the beach. They’ve been rolling all day, I think, they’re full-on bingers. They seem like they’ve known each other for years, but in fact, they’d all met that day. This is what happens at Shambhala, among the young. Strangers wander into each other to form little cells, tight-knit groups in some perverse party bond – I join theirs for the day. It doesn’t fray. Until I run into marco at the beach. I sit down with him, because I can’t take the naiveté of the E cell. The big kid is veiled in shades. The pierced girl looks zombie deadpan. The blond guy’s jaw is going crazy, his teeth are jittering. He’s reached a breaking point, he breaks away. I like hanging with marco because he knows both sides of it. So we smoke hash. It helps. Despite the paranoia, which is inevitable, it gets my mind working again, which is preferable to zombie-town. By Sunday, most of the hedonistic people here, which is most people here, are zombies. I’m in good company – if quality is quantity. If brain-dead is good. Marco says that pot is the only thing getting him through his crash. Yeah dude, me too. Thanks for the hash. He gives me two more hits of E. I tell him I don’t want to deplete his stash, but he says I’m doing him a favour. Passing the torch of hedonism, I say.
Me and marco watch the crowds walk by and play “spot the sketched out people”. Until we realize that everyone is sketched out. Then we discuss the difference between “sketched out”, and “spaced out”. Spaced out is when you can’t focus. Sketched out is when your tired mind is trying to hyperfocus. That would be me right now. On my second wind things feel faker – it’s not so much love as energy, dirty energy, a wasteful fuel. But it’s something. Better than being crashed. Marco tells me he’s on his sixth wind. I’ll never be the partier he is. And thank the void for that. Blond guy wanders back. He had to hurl. Puked up his last hit. His brain said no. He looks better though. Marco tells a friend where to get pure MDMA caps. He’s got shit in his pocket. Go get the good stuff. It’s all bad stuff though. And everybody says it’s pure. Pure as folk. Pure as the dendritic ablations.
I have to piss. The line to the porta-potties seems endless. Other than that, I’m fine. That powder E I took is delaying the downer. I feel like dancing. But I know I’m going to need some more, soon. Well, I tell myself, I’m experimenting. I want to see if I can take another hit and get back to that blissful plateau where everything I see and do and say is perfect. Yeah, it’s a “science experiment”. But really, I just want to get high again. It’s the desperation of wanting to maintain the buzz. Nevermind dancing or people or music or philosophy or activity. I just want the body feeling, the warmth that makes me forget physical and worldly concerns, and lets me float above all nastiness with a positive outlook on everything. But I’ve discovered that you can’t get back to the bliss of the first pass. The roll degrades in quality each time you try to get it back.
Shit, I’m feeling faint. I nearly fainted. Had to lie down. But I avoided a full-blown panic attack. Okay, I think I can write again.
Yes, the roll degrades in quality on each pass. More E becomes simply an anti-depressant. A method of staving off the crash. It can pick you up again, but it can’t bring back the magic. So you just do more, at a more rapid pace now, because tolerance is building, and the best you can get out of a hit is maybe two hours, tops. And in the meantime, you’re getting worn out, and not knowing the extent of it. The delirium of self-abuse.
Walking back to camp, I decide, that second hit isn’t doing it for me anymore, because I’m second guessing every thought. Too many doubts. I need more chem to fill the hole that is ripping, ripping into me. But first. I take a soma pill. Flexeril, prescription muscle relaxants. Also excellent sleep aids.
Then I drop another hit of E. But my body’s done. I have to sleep. The soma’s kicking in. I thought that 3rd hit of E would overwhelm it and perk me up so I could go on my bender. But the soma is king. Which is just as well I guess. Maybe the third E is kicking in too. I feel a mild euphoria. And my body grows heavy under soma. The combination is like heroin. I’m sitting on the folding chair under finch’s pavilion, with a drooping head. I’m going on the nod. I’m nodding off. I’m going to the land of soma. I have a pretty good sleep. Dreams in which I am wrecking cities and stomping on things. But it feels innocent and good.
So I did a lot of E. Now I’m crashed. Very crashed. So crashed. Can’t think of anything to do that doesn’t remind me of how burnt out and depressed I am. Except, listening to melancholic techno like Miss Jane sooths a bit. Reminds me I’m hollow, but there’s a sort of beauty in that. I can’t figure out how to bounce back – but I can wallow therapeutically. Live in the miserable moment. Living in the moment is the best thing here and now. I don’t want to think about Holly’s ambition to be a heavy machine operator. That’s too worldly and connected to associations that bring me down. I don’t want to think about my job, my art projects, what I’m going to do with my life. But I do like thinking about the physical sensation of wrapping Holly up in a blanket repeatedly last night when we walked into town for some hot drinks. “Thanks for the chai tea”, she said in a cutesy voice, so sweet. I didn’t want to make a move because even though I was high, I knew it would create tension later, because of the fakeness of the state bounded ecstasy activity. And I was just happy to be talking to her. Even though she was attractive and I would have been even happier kissing her. Now I’m not high, and it would be real, being sensual with her. But I’m too down to try anything.
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you. Alcohol is the only drug I’d consider doing right now. Shit, my MP3 player ran out of juice.
Half-hearted is the best
because full-hearted is retarded.
You don’t get a hearty laugh out of that.
Half-heartedly chasing after others. I’m sorry Raz, I shouldn’t have said that in that email, but I was just being honest, and it really is nothing. I want you, but you’re not here. Nothing else is here either.
Chipped a filling in an MDMA grind-a-thon. I could see his teeth vibrating at regular intervals. Weird things happen when synthetic chems intersect organic beings of complicated cognition. I’m sorry all I can write about is drugs. But that’s all that seems to have any meaning, when everything seems to come down to chemicals. I’m so dry and sore everywhere. I want to transcend the situation with writing, remove myself from this pitiful mindwreck by becoming a character. But I don’t want to contrive some half-baked ideal of “healthiness”. The desperation of trying to find something, ANYTHING, that hasn’t been tainted by the cruel dynamics of E – that’s worse than just being down.
I haven’t come close to bouncing back yet because all I can think of is how down I am, and how everything is fake and meaningless. I try to remind myself that the downer is as fake as the upper. But whatever I think, I feel the downer, longer and stronger. It’s what I’m left with.
So I came to Shambhala, got an extra day off work to be here. Shirked my work for supposed recreation, drug-fueled, naturally. I work hard, I play hard. But the playing got too hard, started to feel like work. So I’m thinking of shirking play. But I’m too worn to want to work. So if I can’t work or play, what do I do? Write, I guess. Tell people I’m doing a realtime journalistic thing. Addled: The Untold Story. Or the Oft-Told Story.
Yes, the downer is as fake as the upper.
Wow, I couldn’t figure out which letter the word “yes” started with for a minute. Yes, I am addled. Somebody is setting off firecrackers behind us. Somebody is inhaling nitrous balloons.
Looked in the mirror.
I look dead.
I feel dead.
Who am I?
I have this awful image of myself in my head. A caricature consisting of all my insecurities. Yes, the downer is as fake as the upper.
I tried to be a hedonist this weekend, but I didn’t quite pull it off. When I got back from Shambhala two years ago, after all the E and acid, I tried to write and play music, but all it seemed to “express” was the feeling of being in a dull and miserable situation, wanting to be back home, but being stuck in the arrow lakes trailer under a drizzly sky for what might as well be a life sentence, since every second was an hour. Well, I was stuck in a dull and miserable mind. No wonder I couldn’t shake the aesthetic.
I keep forgetting I’m still on soma. Any energy I might have left over from my little bender is being sapped by the soma pill. But it is relaxing my muscles. Small mercies. Just take it with a grain of salt and a gram of soma.
Just watched a wasp.
My throat is starting to burn. Why the hell does my lower right eyelid keep twitching? I think I’m coming down with a cold. Maybe goldenseal will knock it down a bit.
Lessons learned, re-learned, pain earned, brain burned – point taken, sold for more drugs. Life is a puzzle.