Journal of Pirate Lingo*


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* not an actual journal
of pirate lingo

04.07.03 - 4:25 p.m.

The soundtrack in my head has lately involved this instrument... I don't know what it's called. You can hear it on Paolo Conte's "Max", Mum's We Have A Map of the Piano (comes in around 3:11), and also I think in stuff by Astor Piazzola. Can anyone tell me what instrument this is? Is it bandoneon? Who else makes this kind of music?

My brother came and went. It's always fun when he visits because we eat at nice restaurants, and I get to hear his latest plans. He's quitting Mc$@kin!?sey in two months, and then he's going to Ireland and Spain for the summer. Then two months in South America with Chuck, and then he's off to India. If you are jealous, well I am too.

On Saturday, we had a party at Az's to celebrate Matt Shaw's bday, as well as the presence of Lina's friend Jeff from NYC and my brother. Although only five people answered the evite, the party was a success. 40ish people stopped by, and many of them were cool strangers (to me). In particular I liked this kid Rob, who had a huge afro & will be rhyming at Sublounge next week. I met a bunch of Az's friends from Kinetic and talked some more about joining Pinhole with Jason (who was weird; sorry you got the 3rd degree Shawn). A raucous game of pin-the-tale-on-the-elephant and an abortive pillow fight contributed to the festive atmosphere, and there were nametags everywhere. (Not all nametags were strictly accurate; for example my brother's said "daylight savings time".) Props included lina's bizarre green "comfort mask", the cowboy hat that made everyone look sexy, and the leftover pink shower cap from pink party. The night would have ended on a drunken but happy note, were it not for cleavage girl.

I call her cleavage girl because nobody knows what her name was; she was some friend of Matt's who stopped by randomly, and the most salient aspect of her appearance was her cleavage. She brought with her an absurd quantity of mushrooms. I bought them, thinking the night was young and it might be fun. By this point in the night it was late and only a few of us remained. One or two people took a little. I took a lot, because a few weeks earlier Lina's friend Len had been talking about Terrence McKenna's concept of a heroic dose, and I was stuck on the idea. This is where you ingest way beyond the normal quantity and then meditate in order to achieve some kind of special insight / awareness / understanding / blah blah blah. McKenna didn't specifically recommend doing it in a small party-wrecked apartment, after drinking large quantities of alcohol, but he didn't say not to.

It took a while to set in, which gave me a false sense of security. We were all milling around, talking, and I went downstairs to the mysterious neighbors apartment to check on Lina and Jeff, who'd gone down to see what was up with them. That was when I really began to feel odd. I muttered something to excuse myself, then went back upstairs. By the time I got to Az's living room, my vision was supersaturated with light. Everything was the wrong color; their walls were yellow, the couch was purple, the floors were green. I slumped down into the couch and started talking.

This is where I really lost the plot. I was trying to communicate, but I vaguely realized that the words coming out of my mouth weren't real words. Pretty soon thereafter, I lost consciousness. I didn't pass out, but I lost all awareness of what was going on. Az. told me later that I basically went crazy; I was gnawing on things, talking nonsense, etc. etc. I don't really like to imagine it as I'm sure it was horrible. I stayed that way for enough time (5+ hours?) that they got scared and Az. called 911. I regained awareness by the time the EMTs came, but it was the sort of awareness you have in a dream. I truly, 100% fully thought I was dreaming. I kept trying to tell myself it was a lucid dream, and make everything change. Bits and pieces of the movie "City of God" (which AJ and I had seen earlier that day) floated through my consciousness. I couldn't tell what was real and what was fictional. I wanted desperately to return to the nothingness that had enveloped me moments before.

They determined that I was ok physically, and said they could take me to ICU but it would be expensive (ambulance) and there was no real need, so they advised going in a cab. My bro and Az. (who both exhibited the patience & caring of saints) took me over there, but I was already coming dully out of it. We sat in the ICU waiting room for a while (I don't know if you've been there before, but the vibes are hideous; it really is a place you wouldn't wait around for unless you have a bullet wound or an axe sticking out of your head) but when it became clear that I was mostly myself again, we left.

The cab ride home was surreal; it was early in the morning and I was barely aware of the tears streaming down my cheeks. I felt embarrassed and still not fully present; glimmers of the feeling that it might be a dream persisted for a while. Back at Az's I hugged my brother goodbye (he was flying out that afternoon... what a great way to leave, huh) and then collapsed into bed. When I woke up I was ok, except for a raging headache. Given how fragile the brain is, it could have been a lot worse.

I don't think the lesson here is just say no to drugs, although this incident could definitely be seen as an argument against. The more important lesson is to know your limits, and if you don't know your limits, to err on the side of caution. There's a reason people take standard doses. You have to master your high.

Thanks to Az. and AJ for taking care of me.

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