Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Trip (at) Home

The weekend of May 22, I experienced two highs: first, seeing a former school chum kick Elphabass in the San Francisco production of Wicked; second, inadvertently eating a pot cookie from my mother’s fridge. I will now discuss the latter.

Traditionally, in anticipation of my visits, my mother stocks her refrigerator with health food. This is one of her many ways of spiting me. My sole refuge from organic yogurt and bales of kale has always dwelt at the bottom of her freezer where she maintains a supply of Trader Joe’s Cookie Dough. This time, however, the dough wasn’t there, but cookies were. So I assumed that she had finally baked the dough into cookies rather than, say, cleared it out to make room for her boyfriend’s supply of pot-based pastries. My mistake.

Upon waking at 6 am to go for a run, my first stop was my mother’s freezer so that, via cookie, I could cancel out whatever benefit exercise might afford me. As my pot-experienced friends (read: theatre friends) might imagine, the cookie tasted terrible—it was spicy, it was herbaceous. And it was under-baked which is ironic, as it left me overly so. The taste, coupled with the presence of plant life inside the cookie, might have suggested to me that something was cannabis-filled in the state of Denmark. But no, blissfully ignorant, I proceeded on my run.

In seventh grade Human Skills, the extent of my drug education was, “Don’t do them.” Neither Mr. Harding nor Ms. Arledge (who replaced Mr. Harding after he advised us twelve-year-olds, “I’m fucking this cow; you just kiss it when I tell you to”) covered the do’s and don’t’s of the responsible drug taker. I would, however, like to propose a “don’t”: when you’ve never done any form of drug and accordingly have zero tolerance, don’t ingest marijuana and then run six miles, thus pumping it through your entire bloodstream.

For the first five miles, I didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary, aside from the crippling pain of running up Twin Peaks. But around mile five—bam—the cookie hit me in full force. I seemingly and spontaneously contracted ADD, and my mind began leaping in a million different directions at once:
  • At first, I began speaking in a Yoda voice both to myself and all passersby. (“Hello young pedestrian, a good morning I wish you, hmm?”) Honestly, Frank Oz had nothing on me.
  • Then, I had the perfect idea for a musical: a song cycle based on alien abductions. In this show, believers would flock from all over the world to the site of an abduction whereupon they would sing. (Sadly, this is better than anything on Broadway last season.)
  • Next, I devised a new website: Mr. Got It is a mysterious, omniscient figure who accurately predicts the musical theatre stars of tomorrow. Whenever his predictions come true, his tag line is “Mr. Got It called it.” Mr. Got It would become a star maker, and all aspiring musical theatre actors would fight to be in his good graces.
  • From here, I wondered why Mr. Got It should be a mere website when it could also be a thriller novel and a subsequent movie adaptation.
At this point, I arrived back at my mother’s condominium (she lives in the former high school where Sister Act was filmed), still not having deduced that her illicit foodstuffs had caused my current state. After greeting her (in Yoda voice), I sat down to breakfast where I scarfed down double my normal amount of food—the munchies, despite their diminutive name, are superlative in effect. Still hungry, I decided a shower might be just the thing to clear my racing head.

The hot water on my scalp was indeed therapeutic. My thoughts seemed to slow down, and I decided my current state was psychosomatic, after which revelation I improvised and belted a song, “It’s Psychosomatic,” at the top of my lungs. This clued me in that the song’s claim might not be entirely accurate.

I thought back through the morning, wondering what could account for my sudden ability to find rhymes for “psychosomatic,” and I remembered the spicy cookie of ninety minutes prior. Finally, it clicked. After throwing on clothes and glancing in the mirror (my pupils, in their dilation, resembled Sailor Moon’s), I staggered motherwards:

Greg: “Mom, about those cookies in your fridge—?”
(Pregnant pause. Possibly a gest.)
Mother: “Oh, Greg! No! No, you didn’t!”

I found her reply unwarranted, as the Yoda voice, scarfing of food, belting of mendacious tunes, and dilated pupils suggested that yes, yes I did.

My mother always likes to seek an expert’s opinion. For questions about antiques, she calls her friend Cathy. For goods and services in San Francisco, she calls Kristen. For drug-based matters, however, she calls Marta, her boyfriend’s sister. As I skipped in circles around the room, inspired by the novelty of the situation as well as the meta-novelty of my skipping, my mother sought Marta’s advice. Marta informed her that, yes, her beloved and only son would live to toke another day.

With my survival assured, my mother’s defensive mechanisms started to kick in. Lest she acknowledge that drugging one’s child might reflect poorly on one’s mothering skills, she decided to blame me for the situation. For example: “How dare you eat something from my refrigerator without asking me? I don’t eat things from your refrigerator.” Or, “Those cookies were covered in Saran Wrap! Why did you eat them?” I explained that I had first removed the Saran Wrap, but this did not help matters.

After her anger abated, phase two of denial began: she decided that I must be an idiot. Sweetly and sincerely, she started to over-explain everything to me so that, while in search of one substance, I not again accidentally consume another. For example: “The cup next to the bathroom sink that has my mouth guards in it is filled with denture cleaner. If you’re looking for water, honey, don’t drink that. Okay?”

I interrupted this display of motherly concern:

“Mom, what do I have in common with Iranian rape victims?”

She didn’t know the answer.

“We’re both stoned by our parents.”

My mother was not amused.

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