I decided before I even got on the plane to Los Angeles two months ago that I was going to get the job I was flying out to interview for, move to LA, get a gym membership, start liking raw sushi, and stop hating beaches.
What really happened was I worked 12-hour days at a job that ended up being a not-so-great fit, and during the 12 hours I had left to eat/sleep, I worked on writing excerpts. Also, I accidentally smoked a lot of weed.
Wait — what? Yes. I did. And it was truly an accident because I never smoke weed. The last time I tried to be hip and earthy, I attended a free yoga class and then went to a “baking party.” At this “baking party,” a bunch of trendy young artists made a bunch of cookie dough, then while the cookies baked, so did they.
I like cookies and I love puns, so I went to this “baking” party and, you know, followed suit. I am always desperate for friends, but I learned that smoking weed doesn’t make me friends. It makes me think everyone is my enemy. While everyone else was sprawled on beanbags in the living room, touching their stomachs in wonderment, I stayed in the kitchen, hunched over the stove, afraid that everyone was going to get a cookie except for me. I had to be ready for when those cookies were done, because the second that timer went off, those hippie motherfuckers were going to eat all of them.
So, I don’t react well to weed, and as a result, I stay away from it. I wish I was one of those artsy people who just adore smoking a blunt and listening to sitar music, but I’m not. I’m one of those people who smokes a blunt and then sees everything as a blunt object with which I can and will be beaten to death. But I’m lucky enough to have a friend who listens to a lot of sitar music, and as a result, is extraordinarily laid-back and generous — so generous that he let me sleep on his couch for the entire time I was in LA. His name is Moses.
When people tell you weed is legal in California, it’s a huge understatement. Weed is encouraged in California. In New York, when people talk about smoking pot, it’s in their apartment, with the door closed and latched, in a frightened whisper. In LA, people suck on weed lollipops while they read to their children at night. Everyone has a weed card, it’s the New York equivalent of a MetroCard — everyone needs one just to get to and from work. Because in Los Angeles, unlike in New York, there are never any taxis anywhere. You have to call and have one come pick you up. As much weed as there is in LA, that’s how many taxis there aren’t.
Moses and his roommate have doctor-prescribed weed cards, and they use them. We lived in a constant haze of medicinal herb smoke. Moses could see how stressed I was, and he was constantly trying to get to me to smoke just a little, just to relax, but I wouldn’t. I wasn’t ethical
ly opposed to it, I just didn’t want to get beaten to death with a frozen pizza. However, being around so much potsmoke made me constantly wonder if I was getting high anyway — “contact high.” I didn’t feel high — I didn’t feel like everyone was trying to kill me — and my eyes were probably red because I wasn’t sleeping ever, and I was probably always hungry because I am just always hungry. One morning at work I did get a bad case of cotton mouth, but I think that was because I was dehydrated. Either way, this “contact high” gave me an excuse to pretend to have the munchies and constantly eat Pop-Tarts. But then I realized I was definitely high. The whole time.
When I was in high school, I had this bad habit of forgetting to turn my car lights off. When I was in Los Angeles, I had this habit of forgetting to turn my car lights off. So one morning I came out to my rental car, turned the key, and heard the familiar “HUUUUUUUUUHUHUHUHUHUH” of a dead car battery. I was already running late — I stayed up late tweeting Lena Dunham for career advice — so I sprinted back into the apartment, jumped on Moses’s bed, and screamed, “DO YOU HAVE JUMPER CABLES?!” Moses awoke calmly, smiled serenely, and said, “No.”
While I googled “DEAD CAR JUMP LOS ANGELES FREE” and then “TAXI SERVICE LA PLEASE ASAP,” Moses put on his robe, floated out into the living room, dusted the buds of pot off his feet, and said, “Come on, sweetie. I’ll give you a ride,” in the same tone that he used when he parted The Red Sea. Like it wasn’t a big deal that he had to get out of bed and give me a ride because I’m an idiot. Like he was just ok with it, like, “This may seem like a big deal to you, but I’m so at peace with it all, because of my relationship with God/weed.”
Moses was so sweet as we slowly walked out to his car, and I tugged on his sleeve in an effort to get him to hurry the fuck up. He told me he had just had the most wonderful dream, and not to fret or feel silly about leaving my lights on, because even though he’d never personally left his headlights on and had to deal with a dead battery, he’d almost done that the night before, but luckily a neighbor spotted it and told him — we all make mistakes, we’re all human. And then Moses smiled and put his car keys in the ignition, and — HUUUUUUUUUHUHUHUHUHUH. His car battery was dead. Distrust thy neighbor.
Moses and I looked at each other — Moses with a look of shock and pity, and maybe even failure. And that was it for me. The no sleep, the lack of Lena Dunham advice, the goddamn hippies and their cookies. That was it. I burst into claughter — it’s when you laugh, cry, and clap at the same time. It’s all your emotions, from sadness to cheerleading, they all come out when you claugh. And then Moses started claughing, because he’s a sensitive soul and maybe he felt a little left out. And we couldn’t stop. He turned the key in the ignition again. “HUUUUUUUUUHUHUHUHUHUH!!!” we both screamed, imitating the dead car while we clapped and wept and laughed.
And then a miracle happened. Moses and I looked up to see something that you never see in LA: a taxi. A vacant taxi, the Burning Bush of Los Angeles vehicles, drifting down the street, going about 2 miles per hour, as if it were looking for someone. And then I knew it. I was high. I had to be. I had to be hallucinating, I had to be tripping balls. There are no taxis in Los Angeles. But here was a taxi. My taxi.
Moses and I got out of his dead car and cautiously walked up to the taxi. I touched it. It stopped. “Taxi?” the driver asked. “Taxi.” I replied. Moses and I hugged wordlessly, solemnly. I climbed into the taxi, told the driver my work address, and slowly started humming “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”
Then, halfway through the ride, the taxi-driver got a call from his dispatcher. Apparently one of Moses’s neighbors had ordered a taxi, and I had accidentally stolen it. The neighbor had called and was furious, so the taxi driver kicked me out half way there and I had to walk the rest of the way.