Trying to Start a Novel, Again
This is not me—this is another person talking. A character.
I really hate the smell of weed. I don’t hate it the way I hate the smell of patchouli or Ciara, a perfume from the 1970s that my great aunt wore. The smell doesn’t make me sick, and it doesn’t disgust me — the smell of pot terrifies me. When I smell marijuana I feel like everything is out of control. I don’t mean this in a reefer madness kind of way; I think pot is kind of harmless. I smoke it sometimes and feel everything from apathetic to mildly regretful to “have more interest in life than usual” in an “oh shit” kind of way. But if I get a really strong smell of pot, I feel scared.
I am trying to figure this out. I might have gotten it from somewhere. So — pot makes people paranoid. Googling for five minutes, I have discovered that pot overstimulates the amygdala, a part of the brain that — allegedly? — regulates anxiety. (And maybe this is wrong, it was five minutes.) So the people who don’t get paranoid when they smoke pot, they probably never get paranoid, even when they should, because they think they’re amazing. TLDR: People who like pot love themselves.
When you smell pot and it’s really strong, what you’re essentially smelling is someone who doesn’t know they have the capacity to be a shitty person. That is why the smell scares me. This makes sense to me. Does it make sense to you? I am afraid it doesn’t. I am afraid you think I’m an idiot. Or maybe I am just really high right now. Just kidding, I’m not high at all. But imagine if I wrote this down and actually thought, wow, this is brilliant, what a good idea, and it didn’t occur to me to think it was stupid. That’s what people who smoke a lot of pot think about the things they make and the things they do.
Or maybe I just associate pot with Northern California and that is what actually scares me. I am afraid of a whole region, of its cedar trees dripping with rain, its dirt roads in shadow, of white people in wool hats sitting around picnic tables, eating, drinking, gathered together but not smiling. I am afraid of a place where it seems like the best thing you can do in any situation is care less than everyone else.