Shit! That's a tricky question. I gotta behave…Aaaargh fuck it. It's legal here!
Now that Shitty Sugar was over, I needed to find a new source of income. I knew what I had to do and the prospect of poverty brought the motivation I lacked. I spent two weeks working on my side business at my aunt Sana's house. It felt good to have a daily routine again.
On Friday, Sana and her husband invited me to a party at their friends'. I had never partied with people in their 50s. Plus this was California, and California knows how to party. Tupac said it. I entered the address on Google maps and drove on twisted roads across valleys and orange farms. The destination was a lonely hill. At the top was a gorgeous mansion.
Kevin and his wife Layla, two Iranian Americans in their fifties, greeted me. Kevin had a child's joy. He showed me around the house and got ecstatic when we walked in the garden. He had found a new hobby in gardening, planting, and caring for trees.
Kevin was a great host, he made everyone feel at home. And Layla, like any respectable Middle-Eastern woman, prepared enough food for a whole village. What struck me the most, besides their extravagant house, was Kevin's enthusiasm. He talked about trees like a child talks about his action figures. He was also interested in my adventure and we bonded over the hardship that comes with a new project. I wouldn't have thought someone that successful could be so humble.
Avocados and lemons blossomed all around the house. I took a break outside to soak in the view. The smell of citrus perfumed the garden. I sat there alone, watching the sky fade from orange to blue.
I wanted to contribute to the party and asked Kevin if I could light up the fireplace. I often hustled to sustain a camp fire with damp wood and shitty tinder, this would be a piece of cake. I started with the classic A-shape to get the flames going, then switched to the upside down fire. It looks like the stakes they used to burn witches in medieval times. The wood burnt well and quickly heated the room. The flames danced to the jazz on the background, light and graceful. Mission accomplished.
Kevin complimented me on the fire, and then asked me to help him bring more wood from the garage. As soon as we walked out of the house, he turned around and in a serious tone, he said “Raz, let me ask you a personal question. Do you enjoy marijuana?” His words resonated like the champions league anthem in my head! I hadn’t smoked for a month…
We went to the garage where he showed me his collection. He had three pipes and a handful of different weeds. We lit up a Sativa. Kevin, as most Americans, smoked his weed without tobacco. And, to avoid inhaling propane, he lit up a small branch then used it for the pipe. I was impressed. Since you’re intoxicating your lungs already, you might as well damage control.
I took a long hit in an attempt to impress him…epic fail! I coughed so hard that my face turned red and tears run down my cheeks. Kevin urged me to take another hit in order to forget the first one. I didn’t think twice. And upon realizing the absurdity of his logic, I started laughing. We laughed hysterically, and forgot about time for a while.
I came back to the house high as a kite. Meanwhile, more people had joined the party. I had no idea what to do and everywhere I looked, people were engaged in converstation. I had to behave so I went to the bathroom to check myself. When I saw my reflection in the mirror, I started laughing again. My eyes were red and screaming, high as fuck.
I walked straight to the fireplace and stared at the flames dancing with the background jazz. High and inspired, I pondered over all the things I saw in California. Everyone I met here had a cool story to share. There was something special about that place. Something that enhanced the best out of everyone.
I munchied on Layla’s delicious buffet, said goodbye to the last standing souls, and cleared my head for the drive. La Chichona had a 90s’ hip hop CD and I blasted Tupac out in the night. California…knows how to paaaaaaaaaaaarty.