What's the harm in a little hash?
I’ve wanted to smoke pot for the longest time, but the universe (in the shape of my over-protective husband) has kept me from it. Not to mention the act was forever on my conservative, iron-clad list of don’t even think about its ever since Nancy Reagan taught me as a child to "Just Say No".
As a teen I stayed away from pot because it was a matter of abiding by the law like a God-fearing citizen should (yep, I talked like that as a teenager). Also, my private Christian schools required students to sign moral contracts that promised the exclusion of underage substance abuse, sex, swearing and eating junk food. OK, junk food was allowed.
Then came grad school in Southern California where dispensaries are as prolific as frozen yogurt bars. Apparently, academia without substances is like movies without popcorn. I can’t tell you how many self-proclaimed alcoholics, former alcoholics and alcoholics-in-training I met while studying at an over-priced, top-tier private university. All the really tortured geniuses smoked, it seemed. And not the hard stuff; just the all-natural, organic, soon-to-be-legal hippie lettuce. But even my dearest friends wouldn’t share with me, as by now the average person was flabbergasted by my lack of substance experience and took it upon themselves to protect my maiden chastity from Puff the Magic Dragon.
Now I'm a consenting adult (and mom of two), I have to ask myself: What’s the harm in a doubey here and there?
And forget harm; aren’t there actual benefits of the occasional Happy Leaf? In the years since I’ve abandoned my ban on all things mind-altering, marijuana's been brought up as a solution to many of my common complaints: my anxiety, a bad bout of insomnia, even to bring a little marital bliss back. But to every person that casually suggests I partake, I say the same thing: I would if I could. Then, I launch into the explanation of how pot's never been in my cards and no one will let me try it and, hey, do you know someone we could call?
As a Christian, of course I have to ask if it aligns with the sentiments of my faith and common Christian culture says no. Why? Because it’s illegal? (Not everywhere!) So is prayer in public schools. And so is driving with an expired license, which earned me a misdemeanor last year, the same consequence for possession in California, and I didn’t have a guilty conscience about that, just a lot of anger and court dates. Do I avoid pot because it’s bad for my body i.e. the temple of the Holy Spirit? Diet Mountain Dew's bad for my body, too, and I’ve had my fair share of that fluorescent green goodness without a reprimand from church authorities.
And then, when I was least expecting it, while staying on a remote diving island in the Philippines, my free pass for grass came on a silver platter.
Actually, on a private yacht. We were there partly because it was beautiful and remote and we like snorkeling and wild monkeys, but mostly because we were trying to get to Thailand without a travel agency and a layover in the Philippines was the cheapest way to cross the globe by our estimation. So one hot night in our tiki hut by the water, amidst the swarms of mosquitos and monkeys that enjoyed self-satisfying outside our window, the owner of the island took pity on my pale skin and invited us for a sunset sail on his boat. We eagerly accepted and waded through the crystal waters, sidestepping little Nemos and exotic coral, toward his glistening catamaran a few yards offshore.
It was one of those rare, lusted-after travel experiences that you couldn’t plan even if you had every travel agent in the Philippines making calls for you. The boat swayed to some Bob Marley-ish tunes,and the island owner, a bald british man a la Captain Kirk (but sexier and more tan), wearing only a sarong, was waiting to help us aboard. As we set sail, he pointed toward the sunset at a school of flying fish coming toward us. Then, as he poured me a glass of wine and ushered me to the helm of his boat, he explained that we were lucky to be here during the annual butterfly migration. We glided through the silky water while a welcomed breeze hit our sunburned chests and the stunning scene of winged fish and hand-sized butterflies enveloped us. It was so National Geographic. Captain Kirk topped off my wine glass and started chatting about the true meaning of life when he interrupted with:
"Do you guys party?"
What? He’s got the goods? You mean this is my glorious chance for Wacky Tobacky? YES. YES, WE PARTY. And before I could utter an ounce of excitement or affirmation of the magical offer, my husband answered for me.
"Nah, we don’t smoke. We’re good with the wine, bro. This is amazing. But you enjoy."
I forgot. I had logic and reason incarnate sitting next to me; my Armenian dream squasher husband who wouldn’t smoke pot even if he was in the middle of a butterfly migration on the open sea. The man who had already learned all his lessons at less-appropriate times and hoped I would somehow inherit them through marriage. My hero or my perpetual buzz kill? You decide.
So no, we don’t party and we didn’t that night, either.
And as the flying fish splashed through the wake of our beautiful catamaran and I sipped my conciliatory glass of wine, our hosts started their party and drifted off into the warmth of the sun as it met the water. This was the golden hour of our Asian adventures, the farthest we’d ever be from our responsibilities and probably the most appropriate place on earth to get happy, and it had passed. Sigh.
Since then, husband and I have come to sort of a household policy on booze — we buy alcohol on a need-basis, for dinner parties, a date night or to enjoy when a friend stops by. So why can’t we come to a household agreement on a little “need basis” cheeba cheeba? I think like alcohol, we’d need to be careful with the time and place, and mindful of it’s potential traps. Husband thinks its a slippery slope on which we don’t need to find our footing. And so we remain a hash-less household, clearly running on a fun deficit.
Now that I’m a mother of two, I fear for responsibility’s sake that my pot ship has sailed (quite literally, as I was on it when it did). I’m forever doomed to be a good girl without the carnal knowledge of cannabis. But if you know I’m coming to dinner and you fancy yourself a recreational smoker, hide your stash because I never inhaled either and unlike all those denying politicians, I’m still looking for my chance…
This article was originally published at http://brittashjian.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.