I got high Friday night. After having gone through week one of the quarantine sans smoke to safeguard my mildly-asthmatic lungs, I knew my tolerance would be rather low, and only one or two hits would do the trick. So I smoked a tiny bowl.
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5 minutes later:
The anxiety of the previous week lifted; no longer was I in terrible fear or lingering “this headache is the plague!!” pain. It was a temporary escape, but a fun one.
I then decided to go for some escapist, non-virus TV viewing and watched the first episode of The Plot Against America. It’s a light story about a fascist takeover of America by isolationist Republicans. It is also a documentary.
Outside there was a light rain coming down, so a little after midnight, I went for a walk in the neighborhood, down to my daughters’ kindergarten and the playground next door. Both were wrapped in tape and off-limits to prevent public gatherings. It was spooky and cold, and there wasn’t a soul anywhere to be seen.
It was Thursday — day 5 of the lockdown — that made me break my dry streak. My older daughter had just recovered from a two-day fever and cough, only for her younger sister to join her with a higher fever and a louder cough.
They were both fine in the end, but the timing was bad, and my regimen of checking coronavirus news on Twitter every 5 minutes and abstaining from weed wasn’t helping. And at only a week in, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. At stressful times like these, it can be wise to fall back on the things that bring you joy.
I found the solution
On Saturday morning, I felt guilty for betraying my lungs the night before and decided to try a different method. I made a firecracker, using a recipe from International Highlife that could not possibly have been easier to follow.
It took hardly any weed — more or less about what I’d put in a joint — sandwiched between two crackers covered in Nutella.
I ate the cracker and went to wash the dishes, feeling it kick in and work surprisingly well not long after I’d finished in the kitchen. This is a revelation. A cheat code that I wish I’d know about 20 years ago — a vaccine for my paranoia about smoking in the Age of Plague.
I walked downstairs and this time, wandered through an adjacent strawberry field in the dark. On most nights, you can hear jackals howling in the fields, and when they chimed in last night, the (very stoned) thought occurred to me — how many jackals could I fight if I had to? They’re basically just cracked out dogs. I think two, possibly three, depending on my footwear.
I stood there and waited, but the jackals, adhering to social distancing, did not try their luck. (I think I just forgot why I was standing there and started to wander home after a couple of minutes — I don’t remember.)
Money is worthless now, we’re bartering
The first weekend in quarantine presented some additional revelations. There is a neighbor on the 5th floor of our building, who is now making and selling pizzas to families on other floors. I was excited when I found out he’s probably Italian. Then I panicked when I found out he’s probably Italian.
The pandemic economy of our apartment complex also includes an out of work seamstress who is selling custom-made washable face masks and a bakery owner taking orders for cupcakes. On the 3rd floor, there is a cop. (I don’t know what he’s doing now, but if anyone is visiting, don’t stop on the 3rd floor.)
On Saturday, we read chapter 4 of Charlotte’s Web with our daughters. One of our lockdown goals is to read our first real book, one chapter a day, with the girls. With each passing day, it becomes more and more apparent that the pig (Wilbur, we renamed him Pickles) is probably not going to survive the book. I’m not going to google it, but the book opens with a farmer and an ax, and I’m pretty sure that’s how things end for Pickles.
At the end of last week, the government put out new guidelines for the lockdown. Basically, I can now only go out to the grocery store or to buy “essential goods,” to work and back home, downstairs with my daughters and no one else, or to shoot hoops by myself (non-organized sports of 2 or less people). This is pretty much just like my life one month ago, only now I work from home.
And with this newfound skill for single-serving edibles, it’s more like my old life than ever before.
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