An awakening in the strange and sometimes dark world that seemed like a carry-over from the free love drug culture of the sixties, only it was 1978.
I guess I should start at the beginning, but I’m not going to. All anyone needs to know is that I was an average white kid growing up in the suburbs of Orange County. This story starts just as I turned eighteen years young. My drug life began, strangely enough, with Jesus. After finishing high school, I had no idea what I was going to do. I enrolled in a community college and mostly took art classes, but still had a lot of lounging-around time. One day while lying on the couch watching TV, my mother entered the room with the nastiest thing ever invented, the vacuum cleaner. The area around the couch in which I lay must have been exceptionally dirty, for my mom lingered long around my sanctuary. Finally she set the noisy machine upright and put her hands on her hips.
“You need to get a job,” she said. Actually she more or less proclaimed it. “There’s a coffee shop on the corner and they have a help-wanted sign out front, I’ll even drive you.”
The idea of having my mother drive me to a place of business to apply for a job did not appeal to me, but to mollify her desire to have me employed, I told her I’d ride my bicycle and fill out an application. I grinned to myself as I rode the ten blocks to the shop, it would only be twenty or so minutes out of my day, and it would surely be worth the disappointed look on my mom’s face when I was turned down for the job. After all, I had no experience, no skills, no skin clear of pimples and no nice short hair, not to mention the rather appalling wardrobe I possessed, and proudly wore.
I went, filled out the forms and rode my bike back home. I had resettled into my couch nest, found an amazing re-run of a Gilligan’s Island episode that I’d seen a hundred times before, and breathed a huge satisfying sigh. Then the roof caved in.
“The pie-place called,” my mom said, “you got the job. Be there at five tomorrow afternoon.”
My gaping mouth proclaimed the start of the 40-40 plan. Baring some kind of accident, forty hours-a-week for forty-years lay ahead of me as I entered the American workforce. My first social event with the pie-place people was a Bible study. I never went back, it just wasn’t my thing. My second was smoking a joint in the parking lot of the restaurant. I liked it, and the partying crowd seemed to like me.
I later learned that there were two distinct crowds at the pie place, and they didn’t at all appreciate each other’s interests, and that they were very polarized. One met in a basement to love Jesus, the other partied. I was soon to learn that the other group’s partying was as much a religion to the stoners as the Calvary was to the bible-studiers. And, I realized, they both recruited members. I remember saying what-the-heck, and taking the joint, and with that cavalier attitude I began a journey down a very long and strange, windy, and often, dark, road.