I’ve had two panic attacks in my life. The first one occurred years ago as the result of weed cookie induced paranoia The second one was a result of a self-induced neurotic breakdown that occurred a month ago, however, I’ll cover that in a later posting. This posting is about my weed induced panic attack.
Now, I’ve been asked by many people if I was a stoner due to my dreamy and aloof demeanor, but that is just my personality. When I’m high, I barely function. Two years ago I picked up the habit in order to better deal with Nash, my alcoholic ex. Smoking pot was the only way that I could tolerate Nash’s negative Nancy attitude. When I smoke, I get all philosophical and view the world from a metaphysical deconstructivist perspective. I would think to myself: What does it matter if my life sucks? I am just a cluster of oscillating strings permeating different dimensions and the fact that I get to bitch about my relationship is pretty darn miraculous. YES! My life and my relationship is a miracle and it isn’t so bad! See how smoking weed can help?
On THIS particular night, I was home alone and took my typical two bong rips before going to bed. In authentic stoner fashion, I got a hankering for sweets yet was too lazy to make my way to the grocery store. So, I raided the cabinets for a sweet morsel and lo and behold! I found HALF a chocolate chip weed cookie home-baked by my gregarious drug peddling neighbor. I eyed the dubious cookie for a second trying to determine the repercussions of consuming it on a work night, and decided that it could do no harm since my boyfriend had consumed three and at no point showed obvious signs of toxic weed poisoning.
So, I ate said chocolate chip weed cookie, surely making nom nom noises the entire time, and silently congratulated myself for showing such self-restrain in the face of my usual ravenous munchie escapades of Cheetos, chocolates, and chips. Good job there Sandra! You kept it under 2000 calories this time! Not long after, I lazily lumbered off to bed and fell asleep swiftly enough – face down in starfish pose.
About one hour later, I woke up abruptly confused and disoriented by the sudden thunderous and manic beating of my heart. Panicked, I pushed myself up and wailed “WOAH! What is happening!!!” as my eyes darted around the dark frantically looking for the culprit of my acute distress. Was there an earthquake? Did a rapist break into my house? Or worse…A fucking poltergeist? I’m going to die alone with a poltergeist!
My heart kept beating as if I has just completed a 100 dash spring. Confused, I called out for my boyfriend. To no avail. But, my wailing did wake up my puppy Lupita who, in sensing my distress, tried to soothe me with little licks and nibbles on my face. Still, weed tends to desensitizes me and even the negligible amount I had consumed had turned me numb. I felt like a gelatinous amorphic blob unable to feel the boundaries of my body. Oh my God, I thought to myself, How am I going to keep breathing if I can’t feel my diaphragm? Isn’t breathing supposed to be automatic and shit!? GASP! Could the THC have broken my medulla oblongata!?! To me, that unfortunate self-diagnosis meant that every breath had to be taken consciously, so that’s what I decided I needed to do to stay alive.
I gasped for air for what seemed like hours, but could just as well have been minutes, fearful of dying of prolonged apnea if I fell sleep. In a last ditch attempt to fight for my life, I managed to mastermind a speedy exit from the bedroom to the living room by dragging my body and face along the wall to the couch – somehow managing to avoid eviscerating myself on sharp corners and tripping on dog toys. I’m sure I looked like realistic depiction of a brain eater and trust me when I say that pitiful display hardly qualifies as “Sandra’s Most Smarty Pants Moments” award.
So I sit down on the couch to watch T.V. However, intimidated by the sheer technological feat required to turn on the television and select a T.V. show on Netflix to stay awake so I could…you know… fight for my life with every breath! I just sat in the dark instead, on the couch, gulping for air and preparing to die. Oh Death, be not proud!* I realized then the power of California medicinal grade weed cookie and respected the capacity of 5 dollars worth of the herb to eradicate 60,000 dollars worth of a college education just to turn me into a dry-mouthed, wailing, mouth breather. I momentarily lamented that I was going to be its’ first recorded fatality. I could imagine the indictments at my funeral from the most vociferous pot heads: “Way to ruin weed for the rest of us, SANDRA! Justice Kennedy was going to give us the Supreme Court vote until you fucked up and DIED! Booo to you!” Then the headlines: “Children with Cataracts STONEWALLED from having Access to Weed by THIS WOMAN” and my sulking stoner face would be forever plastered on the cover of Time magazine. Just my luck.
Eventually, I managed to fall asleep without dying, obviously because my medulla oblongata kicked into gear at some point. My first thought when my alarm went off was: I’m still fucking high! Knowing that I couldn’t even exit my parking spot without hitting a cat, a homeless man, and a garbage can before reaching the end of the alleyway, I decided to wave my little white flag of surrender and call in sick. Having to do this upset me because I like to save my sick days for days when I am not actually sick and want to have fun at the beach**. I slept until three p.m. Once I was sure I could exit the house without being overwhelmed by the flapping of a butterfly’s wings, I walked over to my neighbors and chided him for peddling his toxic weed cookie on me. He simply laughed, took a chug of gin from his flask and blubbered, his eyes blinking slowly and not quite in unison, “You’re weak!” no shit! “I had seven today and I still have work to do.”
And that my friends, was one of the times that I was reminded of my mortality and learned a powerful lesson about how eating weed could lead to a lost sick day.
*This is from a John Donne Holy Sonnet called “Death, be not proud.”
**IF my boss is reading this, I haven’t had a chance to call in sick to play hooky at this job yet because the few times I called in sick have been because I was legitimately sick. Hopefully next year that won’t be the case.