California Street: A Psychoactive Gift On The Fire Escape.

There’s this musician I’ve been listening to recently. A rapper.

His name is Tumi. I think his music is cool.

He’s from South Africa.

I’ve had his “I’m killing” song on replay for a while now. The song has some seriously dope vibes.

The whole Spotify thing is still somewhat surreal to me. Streaming songs on repeat.

That is something I probably would’ve never done about a year ago.

In Nigeria I always had to conserve my internet subscription. Internet subscriptions cost money, and so if I planned to listen to a song more than once, it made more sense to just download it.

But that’s not the case here in San Francisco.

There’s wifi everywhere. Our college dorms have super fast wifi and that’s just wonderful, but even out in the city free wifi is not hard to find.

That sort of access to the internet makes you see things differently.

Now if feels like my computer is really just a screen, a keyboard, and maybe some RAM.

And the entire internet is my hard drive.

Because you can access files on the internet so quickly- it’s almost like they were already on your computer.

I find all that really interesting to think about.


My roommate isn’t around. I’ve got the room to myself this evening.

I think I have some weed in one of my drawers.

A while back this Israeli guy was hanging out at the dorms. I think he was couchsurfing with an Israeli classmate or something.

I went to the patio downstairs to do something, and we crossed paths there. We got talking.

His first name was Roy.

His last name was literally something from the Bible. Like, the name of some fire-bending prophet or something.

People in Nigeria are generally very religious and so names from the Christian bible are very common. But physically meeting an Israeli guy with a Bible name made me see Bible characters as being much less otherworldly.

Like, these people in the bible were human beings. That clairvoyant prophet I’ve been hearing about in church since I was a baby, was just like this guy that’s smoking weed across the table from me.

They were all human beings, not surreal mystical characters existing on some esoteric metaphysical plane.

It felt like a very profound realisation and awareness.


Roy said he spent like the past few months working at a weed farm.

Sorry, a what?

A weed what?

I thought that was super interesting. I had never heard anything like that before.

He offered me some weed.

I took some time to weigh the situation.

I had class the next morning, and I didn’t want to be disoriented from the weed or anything.

I probably thought: I don’t know, I’m probably enough of an unserious student already. I don’t think I should aggravate my situation even more with some impromptu weed.

But he seemed like a really cool guy, and I felt like I would enjoy spending time with him.

I obliged.


We spent the next few hours smoking different strains of weed and talking about a bunch of different random stuff.

We talked about surfing, and about his time in the Israeli army.

He said the stress levels in the Israeli army could get very high. And that people relieved the stress in primarily two ways. Jerking off and fucking.

We talked about Fela Kuti.

Everybody knows Fela Kuti.

With a lot of people I meet randomly, whenever they hear I’m from Nigeria, usually Fela Kuti comes up in the conversation somehow.

Like, everybody knows this Fela Kuti guy.

At some point Roy would open up another small weed container and be like “This one. This one makes you laugh a lot. This one makes you laugh for no reason at all”, and he’d proceed to roll it into a joint.

It was a super interesting evening.


Surprisingly I did pretty well in class the next morning. It was a Formal Analysis class, and during my pre-class preparation I sort of independently came upon the concept known as “regression to the mean”.

I think it was “regression to the mean”. Some concept in Statistics.

I mentioned it in the course of the class, and was surprised to learn that it was an actual thing. Like, an actual statistical phenomenon.

That was really interesting.

Hm. Maybe I should smoke more weed.

Hm. Or maybe not.

Hm.


Tumi’s “I’m Killing” is still playing on Spotify.

Earlier in the day, I was playing the song on loudspeaker while I walked to the bathroom for a shower.

A classmate was walking by and she started nodding to the music and smiling at me.

I felt very good about that. Very very good.

I’ve had a crush on her for a while. But she doesn’t pay much attention to me. Or at least I don’t think she does.

She has a boyfriend. Some guy like that. Also a classmate. I’ve got mixed feelings about him, but generally I think he’s cool.

He can be kind of an asshole though. Everyone in the class generally agrees on that. He just has this persistent tendency to disturb and rile people up.

Hm, maybe I myself should begin to disturb everyone a lot more.

Maybe I should begin to play my music on loudspeaker, and make sure to bother everyone with it.

Maybe then my crush’ll begin to pay me more attention.

Hm, maybe that’s what makes her like that guy in the first place.

Hm.


Roy- the cool Israeli guy, he left me with some weed.

By “some weed”, I mean like three different strains. Or four even.

I’ve had them in one of my drawers for a while. I haven’t touched any of it since he gave me. That was like over a month ago. I’m not really a weed guy- I just don’t really have the space for it in my life.

But this evening I’m especially free. And I’m kind of in the mood.

I go get some.

I think smoking in the dorms could set off the fire alarm.

I heard something people do, is to head out onto the fire escape to smoke.

I’ve always thought that was kind of exciting, but I’ve never really given it too much thought.

But this evening I seem to have a lot of free time, so I find myself actively contemplating it.


I’m on the fire escape.

The night is dark, and California street is glittering with electric lights.

The air is chilly.

Tumi’s “I’m killing” is still playing in the room.

I light up a joint.

At some point I hear giggles.

I turn my head to the right, to understand what is going on.

There are two smiling faces in the window.

It’s Jakob and Fiona. They’re on the bed in the next room. They both look very excited.

Fiona opens the window and calls out my name. We all spend some time exchanging thrilled pleasantries- They from the warmth of the room next door, and me from my chilly spot on the fire escape.

We laugh and talk for a while. We’re all very excited to interact in this exhilarating situation.

At some point they close the window and return to indulging in their enviable romance.

I proceed to take a few more puffs at my joint, feeling accomplished to have scored some “cool guy” points in the books of two people I admire.


Image: View down California street on a random night.

Tea, Heartbreak and Marijuana.

I am curled up at the edge of the room.


The door is to my left. Every once in a while someone comes in. Every once in a while someone goes out.

A number of huddling silhouettes encircle the bed, their shadows sliding silently across the pink walls dimly lit by the flickering orange candlelight. The air is warm and abuzz with male voices speaking in Wolof.

Grande´ is the oldest one here. He should be in his late forties or early fifties- I’m not entirely sure. He has long dreadlocks, and is missing some bottom incisors. His room is markedly neat, and his bed is always smoothly laid.

His room smells like strange incense and old clothes. Like clothes that have been in the same room for decades. The smell reminds me of my maternal grandmother’s room. I wonder if there is a way old people generally smell. I don’t know. Maybe. I am not really sure.

We just had dinner. It was steaming Senegalese rice, with boiled carrots and tasty fish. It was served in a big bowl, and about eight of us sat around it while we handled the rice.

Bamba made the food. Bamba is such a great cook though. His food is always so delectable. Whenever I eat his food I find myself experiencing some very interesting sensations.

I used to eat the communal food with a spoon before. But then I realised that between one spoonful and another, like one thirds of the food would have already evaporated.

And so I had to adopt their strategy of eating with the bare hand.


I am curled up at the edge of the room.


Grande is making tea. 

Grande is always making tea.

Come to think of it, I think he is like a Senegalese Sisyphus, but his own curse is to be perpetually stuck in the motions of making tea.

Haha. Hahahaha.

The tea is warm and light coloured and sweet.

There is THC in my system.

I am experiencing depersonalization.

Separated from worries. From anguish and anxeity. From the intermittent disruption of my train of thoughts by the searing pangs of heartbreak.

Right now I do not feel heartbroken, no.

Mayowa is heartbroken, and in a way I can see him going through this experience. But right now I do not feel his pain. I feel separate from him- I feel like a separate person.

I am not quite sure what strain of Marijuana we had this night, but its most prominent effect seems to be depersonalization. Right now I feel separate from myself. And that feels relaxing. My thinking faculty is right now, unburdened of the responsibility of both making sense of my  disconcerting past experiences, and navigating current uncertainty with the aim of figuring out my next step in life.

Right now my mind feels like it has been ejected from the cockpit of what would have been my usual cognitive vehicle- and now it’s roaming about, untethered, and paying attention to things that usually would have been suppressed and submerged beneath my subconscious.

It feels very calming, sitting here and being supplied with warm Senegalese tea.

Voices resonate around the room.

Everyone in this room is older than me. Right now this makes me feel safe. The weight of my responsibilities feels lifted by the sound of their voices. I feel like a child who has absolutely no problems because he is surrounded by adults. I take my time to enjoy it.

Recently I’ve been experiencing some confusion regarding how to perceive older people. Some people are older, and there’s the usual tendency to afford them some deference with regard to the validity of their thinking. But recently I’ve gradually been coming to the position that a lot of these people are just older than me- their thinking could use some recalibration.

The marijuana is numbing that right now. Right now I just see them as adults, talking about whatever it is that adults talk about.


I am curled up in the corner of the room.


I think the pangs of heartbreak are coming back.

I Should Not Have Smoked: A Viscous Midnight on THC.

I am not at ease.

It is about 12:30 AM.

I am perambulating the darkness-enshrouded streets of Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria.

I am not at ease.

There is THC in my system. I feel particularly vulnerable.

:: It felt like the ingestion had for that space in time, dispossessed me of my cognitive shell- the protective exterior forged by training and thinking and identity-moulding experience, and that in that period in time I was a naked inchoate mind- exposed and soft and malleable- being bullied about by the intimidating darkness and the midnight island air.

I am not at ease.

I should not have smoked.

I am not at ease.

I should not have smoked.

I am moving about, not precisely sure in what direction I am headed, trusting that intuition and its sibling unconscious sense of navigation have things under control- although my conscious mind is far from feeling convinced.

I hear the voices of my parents in my head. I find myself walking through feeling-beams made of words- their words. Like discontinuous ropes of constituent raindrops in my path, each beam making sure to smite me in its own unique way.

There was the person who something horrific happened to, while they were out at night in Lagos.

Ahh.

That smites me somewhere in my face.

There was the old man who got lost in Lagos, in search of his child who preceded him in being misplaced.

Ahh.

That smites me somewhere else along my physical frame.

There is a scalding verbal downpour today.

No public transport tricycle has passed by for a considerable amount of time. 

Jesus, great. One proactive thought. One proactive thought. One thought that in contrast to an indulgent revelling in haplessness, actually endeavours to commence searching for a path towards a means of direly necessitated extrication from this foundationally perturbing situation.

I’ll need more of those. I’ll need more of those proactive thoughts, I’ll need more of those.

I have training. I have experience. The task before me should not at all be a problem. It just feels like the direction-designating, directive-effectuating resource that is my mind, is running on Vaseline. Everything is just so, slooowww.

And I feel detached from it.

I feel like I am a separate entity- disparate from this facility that is my mind, and experiencing my personal consciousness from the perspective of a passenger.

I’m attempting to prod the driver: Hey! Hey! I need to get somewhere! It’s late! And I’m here on the road!

But the intravening pathway feels blocked. The conduit through which the urgency borne of my disconcertion should be communicated, feels clogged. 

My agency-driver is on THC.

Ah, I shouldn’t have smoked.

I find myself going in and out of a number of restaurants. I am not sure what is happening. I am saying something to the attendants. They are responding. Apparently I am making sense. I find myself browsing through menus, glimpsing different options and their accompanying price tags.

Mayowa, what are you doing here? It is 12:30 AM! Is this what you are supposed to be doing right now?

I keep perambulating.

Next I’m engaging in disagreements with a number of security guards.

These people are so hostile, all of these people are so hostile. Nobody even appears interested in taking time to calmly exchange words. Not even the security guards, not even them who should be the guardians of the night.

My parents had chilled me appropriately with richly-gruesome stories before I left their house for Lagos earlier that evening.

In the midst of my unsettlement I find myself walking towards a building. For refuge apparently.

::There was a glowing emblem illuminating the muzzle of a formidably composed guard dog.

I find myself drifting towards this building. The gates appear so strong and confidence-inspiring.

Ah. Let me relax here for a while. I should be safe here. I don’t think anyone will come to enact any adversarial intent on my own existence, at least not while I’m here.

I stop to take a look at the building.

In my marijuana-induced- haze, I gape in awe at the intimidating imposingness of this building.

Jesus Christ! This building is so big! And tall! Yeh!!

At the top of the building, I make out a name. In bold glowing red.

“THE MIKE ADENUGA BUILDING”

AHHHHHHH. Jesus Christ!! MIke Adenuga!!! Yeehhhh!! You were the one who built this thing??!! Yeeehhhhhh!!!! 

Look at how huge this building is!!! Yeehhhhh!!!

I have definitely seen bigger buildings before, but the THC in my system appeared to have temporarily undone a learnt imperviousness to the sheer magnitude of such buildings.

Yeeeehhhhh!!! Mike Adenugaaa!!!! Yeeeehhhhhh!!!!

Now I see why people speak of you with regard in this country. Yeehhhh!!!! Look at this big building!!!!

Jessuuss Chrisstt!!!!!!!!!! Mike Adenuga oooooo!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

I should not have smoked.

 

 

A Viscous Midnight on THC.