July 30th – City of Angels

Gianna’s oldest friend Gaibel was coincidentally also in Los Angeles, staying with her mother in the nearby Studio City area. Los Angeles, like most large cities is roughly divided into lots of little neighborhoods or villages. Looking at a map, it appears Amy’s apartment was located in Little Armenia, very close to both Hollywood and the trendy Silver Lake neighborhood. Silver Lake reminds me a bit of neighborhoods like Hyde Park. Anyways, Gaibel normally lives in Houston, a city we generally avoid, so Gianna hadn’t seen her in quite a while. A brief phone call later, and we had an address to go to.

When I say Studio City is nearby, I mean it is about 15 minutes away from where we staying by motorcycle. In Austin, that can be practically across town. In Los Angeles, it is a miracle of old testament proportions to get anywhere in less than an hour. The city is ridiculously huge. The metro area alone is nearly the size of Connecticut, while the larger combined statistical area is the size of Maine. So it takes a long fucking time to get around.

Once we arrived at apartment, we smoked a couple bowls with Gaibel before walking a few blocks to a nearby coffee shop belonging to a major national brand. We passed a joint around while we walked down the sidewalk, not even drawing stares from passers by. We ordered our drinks and sat down. We talked for a bit, then Gaibel excused herself to run across the street to a dispensary. There were a few on this block, but she’d found one that didn’t care that she wasn’t a California resident. It probably helped that she had a clearly severely injured arm, having broken it badly in an equestrian incident.

A dispensary, for those who don’t keep up with cannabis culture, is a legal business for dispensing marijuana to patients who have been prescribed it by a licensed physician. California law requires you to be a California resident in order to take advantage of this program, but it is evidently not enforced all that well. Aside from selling a wide variety of so-called medical grade marijuana(cultivated through selective breeding to contain higher amounts of the medicinal cannabinoid chemicals per amount of plant you have to smoke), dispensaries also usually offer products produced from extracts, such as baked goods, candies, and even lip balm and topical treatments. Gaibel emerged perhaps 5 minutes later with a bag of King Kush and a bag of medicated chocolate covered pretzels. As a bonus, they had thrown in a fat-ass joint.

From the coffee shop we ducked into a small gift and nick-knack shop to look around, before heading over to Hollywood to walk around. Gaibel loaded a bowl of the kush for us to smoke on the way to the subway station. The subway stations in Los Angeles are arranged somewhat oddly. It involves a row of turnstile gates which require the use of a subway pass to operate, which can be purchased from a machine nearby. However, at the end of this row, is the wide open handicapped pathway which does not require any pass to get through. Nobody guards these gates, so we just walked through, forgoing the toll. A short train ride later we arrived on Hollywood Boulevard.

I had been here as a child while traveling with a friend’s family, but not since. It’s very touristy, but I have to admit it was kind of fun seeing all the stars in the sidewalk. The place has definitely changed since I was a kid. There’s on average probably more than one dispensary per block, and as many head shops. We stopped in a couple to check out the pipes. Glass is an art medium that has great appeal to me. At one of the shops, Gaibel traded a couple pretzels for a discount on a small pipe. We stepped off the main boulevard onto a somewhat smaller side street to load and smoke a bowl. I should note that this frequency of bowl smoking is beyond what even I will usually do when left to my own devices.

We spent the next hour or so walking around Hollywood really stoned, people watching, and being generally distracted by glitz of it all. No, we didn’t see any celebrities, or at least none that I recognized. We did eventually stop into a pizza place for some food, and then headed back to the subway station, again just blowing through the handicapped stall instead of paying the fee. By the time we got back, it was getting on towards the evening, and we were to go with Amy to a friend’s birthday party relatively soon. We hopped on the bike for a short ride back to Amy’s apartment where, as you might have guessed, more weed was smoked. God bless California.

There was going to be more food at the party, so we headed out pretty promptly, along with Derick, a close friend of Amy’s. After about an hour in the car, we arrived at a pretty nice house filled with very nice people. There was a huge spread of very good vegetarian food, and a homemade mustache pinata filled with “good candy” like snickers, Reeses, 3 musketeers, etc. It was pretty great. Also in the theme of mustaches, there was a basket of adhesive mustaches for everyone to wear as well. I wore one over my natural mustache. They had a very nice back patio that featured several semi-distinct areas, including one for a fire pit, and another for a hot tub. The view of the city was pretty nice from there, too. Before too long, the party had split into two main groups. A large group of stoned people gathered around the fire pit, to quietly trip out on the fire for a while. Meanwhile, a large group of drunk people splashed about in the hot tub, making loud homoerotic conversation. I find great fascination in observing how different intoxicants cause fairly consistent behavioral effects across populations.

As we stoners sat quietly around the fire, eventually a bong was brought out, and it had been passed around the circle a couple times, the conversation turned to awesome words, a favorite subject of mine. For your amusement: Darkle – the opposite of sparkle. Oh yeah, savor that. Want another? Logorrhea – Verbal Diarrhea. These are real words, I shit you not. I love the flexibility of English. So many words to choose from, and yet ‘fuck’ remains one of my favorites.

As the night got later, we decided it was time to begin the long drive back home. We left feeling pretty good, but not before Amy and Gianna were invited to a hoop jam barbeque the following day. On the ride home, we talked about how funny it was to watch the stoners vs the drunks. Amy is currently in grad school for psychology, and I grew up in a house of psychologists, so we had some good conversations on the subject of human behavior.

Once back at the apartment, Amy’s neighbor came over to bring us some more bud, and we smoked a few more bowls before drifting off to sleep on the love sack. I love watching the smoke flood up through the intricate glass-work of this particularly pretty piece. I was starting to feel like I was on vacation finally.



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