Phoenix, Arizona. A hot and dry place. The apartment complex I grew up in is decently large. It has everything from studios to two-bedroom apartments, different styles too. The complex houses two pools, of which one is heated, a Jacuzzi, a mini golf course, just enough to hit a few putts and a tennis court.
Because Phoenix is so hot, on average in the summer, the temperature is 48’C in the shade and over 55’C in direct sunlight, the dominant tree around here is the olive tree, in the apartment complex anyway. Outside the complex, most homes have citrus trees and most parks and public spaces have Eucalyptus and Acacia trees. Those olive trees, however, allow for some very fun olive wars with slingshots. At sling-shot speed, a green olive feels like getting hit with a rock.
Now don’t imagine a bunch of homes bunched together in one spot. No, Phoenix is a very flat place so construction tends to span horizontally. We have quite a few open spaces in the complex that were large enough to even play a bit of American Football and Football, Soccer as it is also know. Some folks in the states do know what soccer is and even play. The complex itself, is situated on a square plot of land. A road follows the outer edge of the square filled with car-ports, parking spaces and the occasional garbage dumpster. However, through the diagonal of the square, from one corner to the opposite, lay a road that split the apartment complex into to triangular halves. This road houses the leasing or renting office and my apartment as well.
Sergio and I live on the same half of the complex. I, somewhere in the middle of our triangle on the diagonal road that split the complex in two, and Sergio in the last apartment in the corner of our triangle. Behind his home is a pedestrian walk-way that links our complex to one of the rural streets in our neighborhood. It is about 250 yards of wall and bushes on one side and a fence to another apartment complex on the other. This walk-way used to lead us to our elementary school when we were younger.
The home I grew up in for 13 years has a simple layout. I live on the bottom floor of a 2-story building with neighbors upstairs, who were usually college and university students as we live in a university-town. As you walk into our home, you enter our living room. Straight ahead our dining room and to the right, hidden from sight by a wall the length of, our kitchen. To the left of my living room, my room and bathroom, and to the right of the living room, my parent’s room and bathroom. However, they have a door that closes off that whole section of the house. My side allows for the bathroom to be used by guests, so no door closes my bathroom off, just my room. The space between my room and my bathroom is a little two-meter hall-way with a dresser for jackets, shoes, pillows, sleeping-bags, towels and bed-sheets, the doors to which, are all mirror. The doors to the dresser simply slide on a pair of rails and, being full mirrored doors, also serve the purpose of checking your looks.
Sergio’s home, missing one of the bathrooms, is a bit different. He too lives on the ground floor, but the apartment he lives in is only one-story. No neighbors above him. Walking into his home, once again, you enter the living room. All the apartments in the complex allow entry into the apartment through the living room. To the left is a small balcony where we would sometimes grill foods or play with our toys. This space is separated by a sliding door made solely of glass. To the right of the living room, the rest of the home extended onward. Immediately after the living room you have the dining area to the left and the kitchen to the right. In front a hallway leads straight to Sergio’s room and to the right, leads to Sergio Senior’s room and a shared bathroom, the sink of which is in the hallway and is large enough to be shared during a tooth-brushing session.
One evening when I was about 16, my parents were out of town, and Sergio came to my place to hang out, watch a movie, drink a couple of beers, eat, etc. My parents had left me some money the survive their three-day trip and a little extra for the previously mentioned things. We ordered a pizza, downloaded a movie, drank a couple of beers and continued to do what any high school boys do. As the night went on, we decided to played some videos games. At one point we got bored and Sergio asks me if he could smoke in the house. Of course I answer no, thinking he is talking about cigarettes. He smiles and says;
– Naw man, I’m talkin about weed bro. Pot. The Marijuana!
He asks if he could smoke indoors because of the legal issues surrounding this drug. Since my parents were away for a few days, I say;
– Sure, but do it in the bathroom please. I don’t want the rest of the home to smell like pot.
I continue to play video games as Sergio heads to the bathroom to smoke. He is in there only for a couple of minutes. He then comes out of the bathroom, lays down on the bed and starts looking at the ceiling with a smile on his face. After a few minutes he asks;
– Hey do you want to try it?
– Naw man. I’m ok.
I answered as such as I had heard stories over the course of my life about drugs and the effects they have on our physiology. But curiosity is a motha-fucka. So, I start to inquire about what it feels like, what the effects are like, and why he smokes. But most importantly, if there is anything that can happen to me if I smoke. Of course I was frightened because of what I’ve heard about drugs. After a little bit of peer pressure mixed in with my own curiosity, I said what the heck, you only live once, why not. So I join him in the bathroom for another round for him, my first, and we smoke.
My first hit made me choke and cough until my head hurt. I then take another hit and try to hold it in as per my instructions, after which I say no more. Sergio finishes his dose and we leave the bathroom. After a few moments Sergio asks;
– How do you feel?
– I don’t feel anything out of the usual except my head hurts from coughing.
He giggles a bit and states;
– Give it a bit of time.
After a few minutes he asks again;
– How do you feel now?
– I don’t feel anything different.
– I’ve heard that some people do not get high the first time they try.
We continue our night playing games and talking. Nothing seems different about Sergio except that he is more jolly than usual. After a couple of hours, we go to bed. The next morning, he tells me that he still has a bit left over and asks;
– Hey do you want to smoke again? Maybe it’s different this time?
Seeing as how I wanted to see what it is like, and considering the first time I didn’t have the experience I was expecting, I decide to try again. I answer;
– Sure. I want to see what it’s about.
We go back to the bathroom to try another round. Sergio has a pipe made of metal and screw on parts. You could walk around with it disassembled, and when you wanted to smoke you could just put it back together. He grinds up some weed with his fingers on the bathroom counter-top, picks it up and puts it in the pipe. Lights the lighter and brings the flame to the top of the weed. When he starts to inhale, the flame dips into the weed. It instantly turns from dark green to fire-red. He continues to pull smoke into his lungs and starts to hold it in, takes the pipes from his mouth and starts making small inhales to push the smoke further into the lungs.
He then passes the pipe to me and I start to pull smoke into my lungs, the coal in the tip of the pipe still burning. I suddenly feel my throat choke up and start to cough all the smoke out. It burns the throat to cough with smoke coming out. I cough so much that I even began to drool. When Sergio sees this, he erupts into laughter, and knowing what he saw, I too start to laugh. But my laugh are interrupted by occasional hiccups and burps. On a few burps, smoke comes out. Sergio says;
– Oohh. That means you swallowed your hit.
– I what?
– When you took the smoke in, it made you cough. You usually swallow it unless you know how to control the cough.
– Ok… I hiccup… so what… hiccup. Now?
We both start to laugh and he says to go drink some water. I ask him to help me up from the floor. I try to stand up but it is so hard. My knees are weakened. We make it to the kitchen for water and then head to the couch to chill. This time there is a huge change in effects. At first, I feel as if there was a shift in gravity. My head feels lighter than usual, yet my limbs feel as if they weigh a few extra kilograms more.
– Yo, I got this weird ass feeling like my head is all super light but my limbs and the rest of my body is super heavy. Is this normal bro?
– Oh yeah.
I then start to laugh uncontrollably because something in the way he spoke seems so funny. I try to stand up but my limbs feel heavy and it is rather hard to do so. It was as if my butt was glued to the couch, so I decide to stay put for now. I have no urge to move or be moved so Sergio gets up to turn on the t.v. and Xbox. We start to play a game, I don’t recall what, but I can remember trying to move my fingers in the ways needed to play the game successfully and they just didn’t listen. I start to laugh at this loss of control I have. All I could really do was laugh and talk, and the few words we did exchange over the course of about 30 minutes seemed so funny.
I regain some of my motor functions over the course of that time, not much, but just enough for me to begin the process of quenching the exaggerated hunger and thirst I am now feeling. I’m looking for anything I can find. After trying some chips, nothing. After trying some cream filled brownies, no. Water. Nope. Pepsi. Nope. A sandwich. Nope. Cereal and milk. YESS! YESS! YESS! Nothing seemed to satisfy like a bowl of cereal, and once I realized that, I ate another bowl. Immediately after eating what my body was craving, the effects seem to subside and I begin to regain more of my mobility and motor functions. However, the giggles and the brain and body buzz remain.
We decide to take a walk outside in our neighborhood and enjoy the scenery. The moment I step outside I notice that all the colors of the world are much more vibrant than usual which I found very exciting and lovely. The reason being, it was very different than the norm which I had grown accustomed to. We walk around talking and laughing and enjoying our highs.
At some point we arrive at a park near our homes and lay on the lawn. This park has an exceptional grass quality for this type of climate. The reason being, a very good irrigation system which is fueled by a pond at the top of two terrace-like hills. However, to the south of this area, lay a very large building, the Central Bank of Arizona. This building is over 20 stories high from base to top, but from the road you can only see the top 12 floors or so. Behind the building, also to the south, is this park, and because it was to the south of the building, the building offers lots of shade onto the green area, keeping that area cool and damp in comparison to the surroundings.
We find a patch of grass that is exceptionally well maintained and proceed to lay on it. It’s hot out around 2 p.m, so it was a nice escape from the heat. The grass felt as if it is a soft blanket surrounding my body and we lay there staring at the sky above and the shapes of the clouds that roll by. We lay there until a security guard came and kicked us out of the park. It is, after-all, private property and so-called “pick-nicking” isn’t allowed here. You are only allowed to use the benches and tables set-up around the park. They too care for their wonderful grass, so we head home and continue our activities there with a movie and some more games.
After my buzz subsides, which took a couple of hours, I still feel that my motor skills are inhibited, but not so much as to prevent functionality. It is a kind of goofiness or a lack of stiffness.
So, my first time using a drug was memorable.
Some time went by before I smoked again, but every couple of weeks or so, or if there was a party, I would take in a couple of smokes, because after all, I did like it.