Keeping warm and thankful has been hard this season. 2016 seems to have reminded everyone of their own mortality. Now we can't avoid it: Everything dies. Even Bowie and idealism. I accidentally left a bunch of (non-cannabis) plants out overnight on the porch last week. Half of them turned yellow and shriveled up when I brought them inside. Maybe having an apartment that faces the west wasn't the best idea. All sunsets and no sunrises.
So that's it. I'm cold. I'm unhappy. If you're looking for me (don't look for me), I'll be locking myself in the house for the next three months with my hands on the pipe, my toes in a warm foot bath and the full Rankin/Bass Christmas collection on the television. Bah-blasted-humbug.
Well. I guess I'll still be in the dispensaries, too. I can't imagine this terrible winter without the golden glow of my most trusted ally to guide me through the frozen darkness. But you sure won't see me coming. Yes: I've retired the suit and tie and replaced them with layers of ill-fitting sweatshirts and coats—mismatched socks and scarves. Like some biblical beggar, I'll drag in off the streets, smelling of moth balls and hostility. Will I wash my hair? Who knows? Who knows?
I don't remember if it was washed when I went to the uptown R. Greenleaf, trailing honey and locusts. No one threw me out anyway. Instead, they were kind and helpful. Their heater was amazing. They packed me up with a solid assortment of strains and sent me back to my cave without even chuckling or raising their eyebrows. It's the small kindnesses that keep us going.
Back with “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and a space heater, I began digging through my meds. I'd leaned heavily toward the sativa side with Chocolope (THC: 15.35%, CBD: 0.13%, $12/gram) and Northern Light Haze (THC: 24.75%, CBD: 0.05%, $12/gram). The only indica I picked up was the Skywalker Kush (THC: 25.73%, CBD: 0.17%, $12/gram) which is a hot item and sells quickly thanks to its high THC count (and, I suspect, its memorable name).
(And though I always proselytize, I really can't stress enough what a wonder sativas can be for those suffering from lack of motivation or depressive symptoms. At the right dose, they will make the world open up like a beautiful flower before your eyes—a boon to anyone who's slumped through the gray fog of depression.)
So, I ran a bath, put on a kettle and started with the Chocolope. It smelled like a grassy brownie. I slid into the tub and lit up. The rich and sweet smoke went down easy and left a pleasant aroma floating in the steam. By the second hit, I had relaxed a bit and was starting to feel my spiky mood smoothing out. I started to wonder how much the name “Chocolope” had influenced me to interpret its taste as being somewhere in the same range of a mocha truffle. Was it a chicken and egg kind of situation? How hard would it be to find the person who named it?
This line of questioning went on through the whole bath and well into putting on my jammies. Then it was: How long does it take to animate nine reindeer using clay and stop motion? I dipped a tea bag and considered.
By this time I was feeling nearly like my old self. I still couldn't face the outside, but at least I could feel my toes again. The sun had gone down while I was soaking. I plugged in the Christmas tree lights and broke out the Northern Light Haze, a cross between two strains that I've been hearing about since before I became a serious smoker: Northern Lights and Mexican Haze. This sativa-heavy beast had me up and moving before the bowl was finished. Peppery and with a strange hint of pistachio, the flower tasted great and smelled bright and thin on the exhale. Not only did I knock out all my chores before the end of “The Little Drummer Boy,” but I even started in on dinner, singing off-key carols and dancing poorly in the kitchen all the while. I thought no one would see me, but my wife had quietly come home from work and caught me in the middle of a heartfelt rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock.” She hasn't looked me in the eye since.
After dinner, I dipped into the Skywalker Kush. I was still feeling manically silly and I could tell it was starting to wear on her nerves. I'd looked into the strain before (I'd been seeing it listed on menus with “Sold Out” written next to it), and it's known for its heady, dopey effects. It was just the thing to make Josh shut the hell up and chill out.
The hits had a floral taste to them and a fruity smell. This strain is a tough expectorant, though, and had me coughing like a maniac with each blast. I had to space my tokes out over time just to keep the smoke in my lungs. But those tortuous hits were well worth the intensity. Halfway through it, I had sunk into a corner of the couch. By the end, I was quietly napping with the lighter in one hand and the empty pipe teetering from the other.
I jerked awake to the sound of Frosty saying, “Happy birthday!” My wife was on the floor, making a glittery garland. “Jesus,” I mumbled while rubbing my face. “What time is it?”
“Not spring yet,” she answered without looking up. “Go back to sleep.”