Monday, January 06, 2014

The Colorado Wedge

When I was in Junior High, our neighbor went to visit cousins in Colorado for a month in the summer and came back with stories about how fun that Rocky Mountain State is and how lucky she was to go to an Eagles concert and how everyone just drives around at all hours with no supervision and is free and easy and, it seemed, sensual.

Unlike the burgh where we were living, where everything was seasonal and planned and a bit oppressive, Colorado sounded amazing. But more importantly, our neighbor seemed so fucking happy.

And I wanted a part of that. That looked good. It looked free. It looked easy. It looked like a big relief.

It was, perhaps, my first experience with what someone feels like getting to the Rockies and beyond and it certainly had an affect on my desire to live out West.

Later on, in my early twenties, I met people from California and they were calmer, more open, loosely exotic and what seemed to me, way less neurotic (at least on the surface).

In general, these people were sensualists as opposed to stuck-in-their-brainiacs. Surely, many of them were less interested in the spiral geography of the arrondissements of Paris or the definition of a gerund. But who the hell cares about gerunds when you could be riding around in your car with the top down, with this satisfied feeling that heaven really is on earth and there is no one who can put a stop to it.

Plus, people got high and no one thought it was wrong.

I hate to be some old duffer who can’t believe what’s going on. But I kind of can’t believe it. I am very interested in how this is going to play out in Colorado and soon, Washington and to see what “hits 50” first. 50 states offering gay marriage or 50 states offering Blue Dream and Sour Diesel.

Gay marriage is ahead.  Now. We’ll see.

I don’t know if marijuana really is less harmful than alcohol. I don’t even know if we know how harmful string cheese is. I do know that business wins and this weed thing is going to make a lot of people a frigging Mount Shasta of money. It concerns me. I do know that when you are high, you can barely read, but when you are drinking, you can at least shoot off very coherent needy and/or nasty emails.

But what makes me happy is—there is a choice toward sensuality in this country which is greatly needed. Besides the folks who require marijuana for certain diseases, people also seem to need something to stop their list-making worried minds from marathoning on that hamster wheel of fear and obsession. And pot does stop that—and it does increase sensation. I do think, though, that it would be great if we could increase sensation by simply opening up to it, without the drug. But it’s legal now. And it’s going to get more legal everywhere, so we all just better get as much empirical evidence as we can, find out the down side to this drug, really, and do what makes sense: live moderately.

Colorado, you big square state: Even though you don’t look like it, you are the thin edge of the wedge and you’re so groovy, you don’t even care what it means to the rest of us. And all I can do is smile for the sensual libertarian joy the West brings to the nervous, ambitious, linear college grads pumping it hard up and down the upper I-95 corridor. Balance. We’ll find balance. Well, everyone except the Deep South. But that would be asking for a miracle.

Sun, pot, cars, happiness. Sure. The American way. Enjoy yourself. When do we invest?

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