The future belongs to crowds again

The rich smell of cannabis has always reminded me of crowds, like being caught on a summer-stunned day in the herd of weirdos shuffling around the lawn at Blossom or packed tightly into a humid club on the outskirts of a town you’ve already forgotten existed. The band plays on. And why not? The plant and its sweet chemicals are perfectly suited for dissolving a mob of egos into the now. This is maybe why I get freaked out when I’m smoking herb by myself, probably late at night with an old Deftones album in my headphones. Totally melting into the sound, into the dark. And then the terrific odor of the bud starts to settle in the room and I begin doubting what’s really going on here. Is there someone in the kitchen? The music is floating in my ears, and then I yank out the headphones, staring straight into the middle distance of the room and waiting to hear if that voice is going to say something again. Look through the little porthole in the front door, all wobbly hallways and windows. Now, what was I doing? The tree-shadows pirouette along the ceiling. Everyone I’ve ever known is there with me, milling about the living room, running thumbs along the slanted bookshelves, but I can’t see anyone. I feel like Frodo Baggins with the fucking ring on my finger. And who’s banging around the kitchen, for god’s sake?

And I guess the reason I’m writing this is to say I really miss hanging out in crowds, the slipstream of shows and games and local arts festivals, the breezy drift of cannabis in the air. The gathering of a moment. It’s a certain kind of freedom, social circles blending into one another, the parts becoming the sum, the story of a community written anew and all that. Those moments stitch us together. Carefully balancing beers, poured to the very brim, back to the spot stage-left before the set begins. The unmistakable recognition of a joint threading the swarm, returning us again to where we are.

I know enough to know the music never stopped, but now it feels like a dream in the moments after waking. Bleary-eyed and half-remembered. The story is fragmented, breaking apart as the days go by. There’s someone in the kitchen again, telling us to chill out a little longer. Stick around for the next chapter. It’s going to be incredible.

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