I want to work on something I could make a portfolio out of. Even if it’s useless.
One Friday evening, at the eve of my 22nd birthday, I found myself traversing another torrential rain shower cum budding tropical depression. I was fumbling for a cigarette, searching for a pack of filterless Lucky Strikes, while a vortex twisted on the flooded landscape of Paseo Blvd. It was around 3 am and I knew I was supposed to be home packing for my first move in ages.
My bag was this rough leather sack by Betsey Johnson. It bore this distinct fuchsia kiss mark embroidered on the side. Time had dirtied the stitching and crusted along the hard, rubber handle. I knew it didn’t suit me. A woman 10 years my senior made it apparent that I tried too hard to be pretty or whatever the fuck Kat overheard.
Nowadays, I don’t really give a fuck about that bag or looking exceptionally neat. It’s been 8 years and I kept the bag. I think. Probably rotting away somewhere with the memory of me braving another storm feeling exceptionally ugly while looking for my pack of cigarettes.
They don’t sell Lucky Strikes in California anymore. The last time I had those filterless Lucky Strikes were in 2016 and they were priced $8. One store in SF and one in San Mateo sold those specific cigarettes. Elsewhere? Nowhere. I kind of wished I was still living in the murky underbelly of the Philippines. Although, why would I want anything else when I can smoke marijuana and fuck anyone I want.
I mean, my main problem with Manila was the lack of diversity in things I could ingest. Sure, there was weed. Most of it was dry. Most of it was expensive and possibly illegally shipped from Colorado.
Who likes Colorado or Canadian weed? Not me.
Back to the image of being 20 yrs. old and looking for those cigarettes. I found them, by the way. Dry and perfect with only two sticks left and a rusted Zippo from my dad’s knickknack cabinet. The guy was mainly absent from my life but he left cool shit like that Zippo, some old records, and a smoking habit. Actually, I probably got that from both of my parents.
I smoked those two sticks. Inhaling slowly. Getting in my money’s worth before tossing the butts in the lobby ashcan. Old and filled with other people’s butts, just like the building it stood on. It was pretty apt since the woman I was currently seeing was a decade older than me.
I could have walked. I loved getting wet, anyway. It was only 15 mins away. But my shoes were, let’s say, thrice as expensive as that moldy old Betsey Johnson bag that didn’t suit me. My watch, the lingerie I was wearing, and my mood. All of it. Didn’t suit me, that’s for sure. Were more expensive than that Betsey Johnson bag that didn’t suit me.
There was also a big bag of weed waiting for me. My body was ready. My body was always ready for getting blazed.
Some people like to think they’re cool by swimming in wanderlust-y things. Me? Weed. And that’s what I’ve always wanted to do — be with weed.
Other things occupy me, though. But I’d rather do it stoned.
And so, that one stormy witching hour, after rolling my first joint as a 20 yr. old, I found myself walking towards the window. Street lamp, making the mucky ground sparkle — giving it its own oblique charm. I told myself, “I’m going to America and I’m going to smoke all the flowers and write about it.”
Fuck being pretty, right? Pssh. That’s third world shit.
I have a dream. That dream includes me discovering different ways to enjoy weed and share it confidently.