Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Having never met Herb

The weekend with my brothers highlighted an issue that surfaces in my life from time to time: I don't smoke pot.

And it's not that I speak from a "tried it, didn't like it" perspective. It's more the knee-jerk, Nancy Reagan-got-in-my-brain-while-I-was-little "just say no" policy decision. Which for me, feels rather closed minded. But also feels right.

Beyond the emotive programming, I have rational reasons for avoiding it. I've got a rather addictive personality. Granted, I seem not to notice substances' effects on me, such that I feel compelled to seek out substance-based effects. I like beer as a beverage, not as an ethanol delivery vehicle. But I have reason to deprive myself of anything I might enjoy too much.

And then there's the artificiality of the experience. On one hand, what is "real experience"? If we're just a bunch of chemicals, what's to say the high I get from endorphins is any more or less real than the high from a joint. I suppose the dividing line is "chemicals made by my body" vs. "chemicals introduced from outside my body". I'd just rather believe that I'm having a good time because I am, not because I've tricked myself into thinking everything is hilarious.

It's not like I'm a fan of legal drugs, either. I need to be in sheer agony before I'll reach for Tylenol. I resisted taking my full dose of vicodin after my surgery. Voluntarily trying a substance is just not my style.

I live in San Francisco. And people already judge me square enough by my looks alone. So displaying any lack of cool with others' chemical recreation would really limit my social options. And I genuinely believe that pot is no more dangerous than tobacco, and their relative legal status should be proportionate to their relative danger. Of course, I'd illegalize tobacco.

Pot's not for me, and I don't know how I feel about others around me doing it.

My youngest brother had a pretty happy stoner lifestyle for the last year or so. And I was stunned to see him about 30 pounds oveweight at my cousin's wedding this summer. He had become an indoor cat. He has since trimmed down a bit, and I think his new life circumstances afford him better living: better food, more exercise. But on our mountain bike ride on Sunday, he had to bail out on the first incline. Maybe it was just due to the prior day and night's wine tasting and drinking and the short night, as he implied. But I don't think he's as fit as he should be, and I don't think the weed is helping.

Of course, K and my brothers get along great. They had met up while I was at work on Friday, and had been with one of K's friends. When they pulled up, I caught a whiff on K of what they'd been doing. She giggled at me. Saturday night, the same friend was around, and once again, when K, the younger two, and her friend were left alone, they all smoked up.

And I know that K and my brothers all think I'd be much cooler (and happier) if I'd just give in and get high. Many friends have suggested it, too, independently: I'm too uptight. Maybe. I sensed several moments in which I thought K and my youngest brothers were going to try to get me to do it with them. I sensed little inside secrets.

But I like my edge. I like the rigidity that lets me get up in the cold and dark and train hard. I don't want to become apathetic and squishy. I may have less fun, but I like who I am.