One More Time to Kill the Pain

I have social anxiety. It manifests itself in different ways, mostly with me avoiding social situations, but also things as simple as trying a new restaurant or going to a party with people I don’t know can stress me out. It’s also getting worse the older I get. As I get more annoyed with myself, I am looking at ways to alleviate this stress. Couple that with my interest in drinking less, something that makes me more social in most situations, and there are signs suggesting I might benefit from an occasional hit of the old hemp.

I’m not opposed to weed, I just have an active interest in not becoming a burnout, so I’ve always only used it moderately, at most four or five times a year. A friend of mine told me I should get my weed card, it’s approved for medical use in California, but even that was giving me anxiety, so I have avoided doing so for the past year or two.

I’ve only ever bought weed one other time. Maybe seven years ago, when I was dealing with plenty of stress I reached out to some friends for some options and I was given the name and number of a friend of a friend. It took me weeks to actually reach out and only after my friend made an introduction. I texted him and just said I was so-and-so’s friend.

“Oh yeah, you’re the one looking for concert tickets. I have them if you wanted to swing by.”

Okay, I cracked his code. I told him how much cash I wanted to spend. He gave me his address. It was happening.

I got in my car and drove to his apartment complex, which was thankfully both close and in a nice neighborhood. A tall surfer-looking dude waved me down and hopped in my car. We shook hands and he told me to drive around the parking lot of his complex. My hands were sweating and I gripped my steering wheel. He put an envelope in the glove compartment (there has to be a better name for this, at this point, right?) and asked me for the cash. I handed it to him. We made small talk as he told me where to drive, and I circled back to where I picked him up. He jumped out.

And that was it. My first drug deal. I felt excited and guilty and scared and nervous all at once. I raced home, not wanting illegal contraband stinking up my car. My stash lasted me over a year, probably well beyond its usefulness, who knows about such things. After that, I stuck to my usual MO of just mooching off of friends. Honestly, it was such a seldom occurrence it worked out just fine. But, see above, re: anxiety. It was time to restock.

I had given up my quest to get my own card until a friend of mine told me he wanted to get his and asked me to tag along. It was a plan. I have a much easier time going through situations when I’m not alone. He had it all worked out. He knew the medical place to get the “recommendation” and we drove across town to the small building in a strip mall that I passed nearly every day (it’s right next to my gym).

There was a full waiting room, a cross section of hipsters, nerds, and old dudes in bike shorts. It could’ve easily been the waiting room at a car wash. There was nothing indicating any specific cross section of humanity. We filled out our paperwork. I basically listed anxiety as my main reason, which was true, but also felt more believable. I wasn’t sure why believability was a factor, but that’s just how my brain works. I was surprised when they called my name before my friend’s, because I was hoping he could tell me what to expect. Nope.

When I heard my name, I walked over to an unassuming older gentleman who shook my hand and introduced himself as Doctor Somethingorother. He had just small patches of hair and wired glasses. He ambled gently as he led me down a dark, but short, hallway. I entered the exam room and he had me sit on a bench as he took my blood pressure and asked me questions. When he read my results, he said I had the results of a thirteen-year-old girl. I didn’t know how to take that. Was I getting my period? Hormonal? He said it was a compliment. He spoke softly and had an almost soothing lilt to his voice. I wondered if he was high right then.

That was it. We paid, got a nice letter and were now in a legal position to purchase cannabis products. Another drive, to another neighborhood, this was in a little more sketch street. It was a small corner shop with black windows, covered in bars. We had to get buzzed in.

“There was no chance I could do this on my own,” I said. And I was being honest, every part of this, as easy as it was, made me grossly uncomfortable.

We got buzzed into the building. The lobby area had a small bench, and what looked like a teller window. We handed over our IDs and our still wet inked Doctor letter, as we were instructed to wait and fill out more paperwork, this being our first time. A looming security guard both scared me and was the nicest security guard I’d ever spoken with. He walked us through the paperwork and explained the entire system we’d be walking through. Once we got approved, not entirely sure what they did with our IDs back there, but we were lead in behind the big door that stood in our way.

The shop was tiny, only a couple glass cases, with assorted jars with names involving animals or fruits. We were invited to smell and look at any number of offerings. I took my liberty with a few different jars, inhaling and scrutinizing the buds as if I would have gotten any indication from my limited experience that one was better than another. I had only taken out sixty dollars in cash (this purchase was also cash only, probably the only similarity between my first and latest attempts at buying pot) so I was cognizant of how much I could spend. I wanted edibles because actually smoking wasn’t highly recommended for my asthma. The whole encounter took about ten minutes but I left with a paper bag full of enough options to last me for a year or two.

This entire anxiety-inducing adventure to find a way to quell my anxiety took maybe an hour. I’m still not entirely sure it was worth it, but as a headed home with that paper bag full of joy I had one thought: I think I may have overpaid that first time.

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