mnmlist: High Times all the Times

Walter from Big Lebowski looks like a fatter version of Shorty.

Shorty was a 6’5”, buzz-cut, Wisconsin native, who always wore army fatigues and shooting glasses.  He lived in a ranch-style house across the street from the soon-to-be-defunct Stapleton Airport in Denver.  He chose this gang-infested, jet-fuel-smelling neighborhood because it was a discreet locale for his weed-growing operation.

Shorty had a massive hydroponic setup with 5 x 1K watt high-pressure-sodium lights in his flowering room and an even bigger vegging room with rows of florescent lights.  He had 3 x 5’ clone mothers.  Because of the massive amounts of juice the lights used, the rest of the house’s electricity expenditures were limited to a couple bare lightbulbs and a discman with portable speakers.  No fridge, no TV.  Shorty spent his days tending his crop, listening to Little Feet on the discman and pulling hits from his resin-caked bong.

I was one of 2 people who knew where he lived.  I made weekly pilgrimages to pick up his fresh and uncured buds.  While impressive to look at fresh pot, curing it, particularly when I was living with my folks, was not a simple task.  If there was not enough air, it will mold.  If there’s too much air, it would become dry, harsh and brittle.  It also smelled like a dead skunk.

As Shorty’s main distributer, I was one of Boulder’s most reliable sources of hydroponic weed, and though our relationship could be fraught, I felt quite blessed.

I wasn’t a kingpin.  I sold weed to feed my habit.  I needed the shit.  My pre-weed life had been spent as a nervous turd, my waking hours spend wondering what people thought of me—was I dressed okay, do people like me, will I be successful, was I cool enough, smart enough, etc.?  It’s not clear whether weed allowed me to let those things go or merely mute them.  Either way, from the ages of 16-20, years largely spent high, I was able to cope.  I was able to sleep.  I was able to relax.

Dealing pot taught me some things too.  I learned that the way to make sure things went smoothly was not to worry about them; it was to relax and lay low.  One time I got pulled over by the police on my way to Shorty’s.  I had $3K in small bills in the glove compartment where my registration was kept.  I was able to calmly move the money, give the cop my registration and get a speeding ticket rather than a felony drug charge.

Another time Shorty unloaded 4 trash bags of freshly cut weed on me.  I didn’t panic here either (much).  We just unloaded the bags from his pickup into my apartment as if it were the most natural thing.

I haven’t smoked weed in almost 12 years.  After a while, it started to amplify my insecurities rather than mute them.  Yet my years of weed-smoking taught me many things.  I learned that it’s possible to be relaxed in any situation.  I stayed cool through some tense moments with Shorty, who’s chill, iry-vibe was replaced by an angry, violent one after he got into drinking, strippers and collecting guns.  I stayed cool moving pounds of stinky weed throughout Boulder County.  I stayed cool at high school, which had previously been a den of anxiety.  I learned I could be relaxed anywhere.

I was thinking about this today because I have been consumed with future-related anxiety.  How will I make money?  Will I achieve the goals I set out for myself?  What does the future hold?  Will I ever pay that stupid health insurance bill?

Then I thought, “I did so many things that were real threats while high and didn’t worry.  Today, I deal with perceived threats and am filled with anxiety.  What gives?”

I have no desire to smoke weed, but I might ask myself how I might act high?  Would I really give a shit?  Would I really be so hot and bothered about growing up, being a responsible boyfriend, friend, citizen.  Un-fucking-likely.  This is not to promote apathy, which is often the flip-side of relaxation.  I still want to unlock my potential.  I still want to be the good guy.  I just have to realize that tension and anxiety are not the ways to get there.

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