If there’s one thing that has a bad reputation for no clear reason, one substance that is illegal because some people in the world dislike happiness, it is cannabis. I’m not advocating that people be high all of the time, but surely some jobs (like copy writing or being a member of parliament) require the mind expansion that occurs when you bake your brain in THC flavored smoke. I claim the right to be high!
Every Wednesday, I contribute an article to Muwado.com. I have many reasons, many of them terribly shady but the most important is that it is a promising space that gives me the freedom to write about whatever I want.
At the beginning of this week, I thought up the (brilliant) idea of collecting weed tales, anecdotes from people who have smoked the holy vegetable. We tried to source them from Ugandans in Uganda but were open to all. Click to read part one.
The stories have kept on coming and so I’m publishing more here. Get a drink (and maybe a spliff?), sit back and enjoy.
The Young and Curious:
Smoking weed is only half of the stoner experience, the other half, which can sometimes be the most momentous, is the process and manner in which you find/buy the weed!
My brother and I were seated on a secluded beach, south coast Mombasa, when we heard a whistled tune in the distance. When the whistling had stopped, without quite thinking about it, I whistled back the same tune, and to my surprise we heard yet another whistled tune in response. This back and forth continued until we made out a figure at the end of the beach. As he approached us he started speaking to us in Swahili, and we just let him talk on until he realized that we didn’t understand what he was saying. He smiled and asked us in English after a while if we wanted to smoke some weed. I told him we didn’t have any money, and he said he asked if we wanted to smoke weed, not buy it.
Now I had not woken up that day with the intention to get high, but when the chance came up in the magically random way it had, how could I say no? It was like a scene from the intro of an indie movie, a sign that the height was bound to be all sorts of epic!
We agreed and followed him into a small cave on the beach, under a huge coral rock. There was hardly enough space to sit up straight and we had to crawl on all fours under the rock. He then took out a little parcel from his bag and unwrapped a heap of fried leaves. This was my first time to ever see a real marijuana leaf, and the beginning of my obsession with the ritual like cleaning, preparation and rolling of my very first handmade joint. The weed was unlike anything I had ever smoked before, as light as the ocean breeze and as potent as the sting of salt water.
The memory of sitting there in a low lying sandy cave, smoking weed with a dreadlocked beach boy who called himself Bob Marley, with sand crabs dashing about us sideways and the glimmer of the ocean a few meters away, is so surreal if I was alone I would have thought it to be a dream, but my brother is my witness, and confirms that really did happen.
After the smoke, we said our goodbyes and he told us if we wanted anymore we should just ask around for Bob Marley, but we never saw him again on the rest of our holiday, and he became a bit of a legend between my brother, the likes of the tooth fairy or sandman. We spent the day floating on a cloud, swimming in the ocean and rolling about in the sand, needless to say it was the best weed I have ever smoked and the most spiritual high I have ever experienced. Moral of the story, if you hear a whistled tune on a secluded beach, whistle back!
I had to promise George beers before he spilled, but his stories were worth it.
There is this story, legend really, about guys drinking and smoking weed at dreamworld hostel in Kikoni. It was deep in the night and stuff. Somebody happened to ask what the time was and according to legend, one of the guys who was hell bent on knowing the time hatched a smart idea.
They all walked up to Wandegeya and stared at the street clock there. It was 3:15 am.
You really get Paranoid after taking weed. Once, I actually washed my face and hands with fruit juice because I had done some weed in a nearby bush and I had to go back to school (I was in S5). My face became sticky and then bees (they may have been mere flies) started hovering around me. At one point, I thought it was a whole swarm of bees coming for me…I actually thought I felt the buzz in the air, and heard it too. We were like four guys seated under a small guava tree. I suddenly shot up and started running while wailing. My friends who were suffering their own paranoia also woke up and raced in different directions. They had no idea why they were running.
The High Priestess:
Weed is a beautiful drug, it makes food taste better, colours brighter, feelings more intense and that ant crawling across your floor is now the funniest thing you have ever had the pleasure of seeing with your own eyes. Despite what the police would have you believe, weed alone never caused anyone to jump off a roof, or rape someone, or jump off a roof while raping someone. Hell, if you managed to leave the couch to go and scour your fridge for moldy leftovers to satiate your munchies you are among the top percentile of high functioning stoners.
That being said, it is possible to do much and find yourself in the worst THC-induced torpor; wondering if you are alive or comatose, or even worse, your mind trapped in a permanently paralyzed body, the only part of which you have control over being your eyelids like that guy in The Diving Bell and The Butterfly.
I enjoy making baked goods, and my friends enjoy the fruits of my labour. Consuming marijuana via your digestive tract is a little different, and this is what I tried to impress upon my American visitor. “It takes about an hour to kick in, and what everyone does the first time is eat the first brownie, then 30 minutes later decide nothing is happening and eat a second one. Then 2 hours later you’re higher than Felix Baumgartner without a parachute. DO NOT DO THIS” I told him, handing him his brownies and leaving him in my flat for the night as I went off to enjoy Kampala’s nightlife.
Fast forward to 1 am. My phone rings. It is my American friend, let’s call him Lance: “High Priestess…. Something is wrong…. I think something is wrong with me” Lance is speaking very laboriously, every other word punctuated by long silences like he is drowning. “What’s wrong Lance? … You ate both brownies didn’t you?” I ask.
“Yes, well I didn’t feel anything after the first one…” He trails off again. I sigh. “OK, so are you sure something is wrong or are you just too fucking high for life right now?”
“Something is wrong…. I don’t know [unintelligible mumbles] maybe malaria… Can’t just be the weed”
“Lance you’re just high, i’ll be home in a few hours and you’ll have come down by then and will be feeling very foolish…”
“I think I need to go to the hospital or something. I think I’m going to wake up your dad—“
“WAIT LANCE, DO NOT DO THAT. Stay where you are, I will be home in 10 minutes. I’m jumping on a boda now”
I got home and found Lance lying in his bed, rocking back and forth like a patient in a sanatorium. “Lance.” He moans in response, continuing his rocking. “Lance. Stop moving.” He stops, and seems surprised to find that he was able to do so.
“Lance you’re not dying. You just ate too many brownies and are now too high for your own good. You’ll be fine in the morning. I’m going to bed”.
Lance wasn’t even embarrassed by his behavior the next day.
My girlfriend and I once wandered around Amsterdam for what felt like, and might have been, many hours- looking for any falafel stand. We had the munchies and were convinced falafel was the only cure. We wandered past the same street corners over and over, maybe we expected one to suddenly appear. (happy ending- we eventually took a wrong turn and found one.)
My roommates and I once made plans to go out. I said “cool, give me 10 minutes to shower and then we go.” I came out of the shower to find the room thick with bong smoke, and my friends were all quietly crashed on the sofas watching the ceiling fan go around. I thought, “Damn, now I have to go out alone.”
Brad Nowell (RIP) from Sublime sang it best…”I’m too drunk to light the bong…I’m too stoned to write this song.” Thousands of times we were so baked, just laughing our asses off, but now…damn what was the question?
And this is where I’ll end for now. If the stories keep on coming in, expect some very fun Thursdays on this blog.
To the holy herb! If you have any tales of your own, don’t hesitate to put them in the comments. You can also send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, if you want them to appear in the next compilation.
I feel I should say Jah Bless.