Saturday, 4 January 2014

I remember before Prohibition

Back in the 'good old days' you could start the day with coffee and a cigarette. The sugar in the coffee helped get you up to speed, and the caffeine kept you going. Who knows what the cigarette contributed.

Ever since the prohibition of "really dangerous drugs" had been enforced that kind of choice is no longer available.  I mean, who wants to break the law, and risk getting a police record, over something like that?

So today I have to start with a little hit on the kif pipe, fresh chopped, tamp it into the tiny bowl, one quick draw, then turn the pipe and blow the plug of burned kif into the fireplace.

After a snack of bread and nut spread, and a sip of water, I usually get out the coca leaves, and chew them into a cud, to which I add a little blim of quinoa ash to activate them. That usually gets me through the morning in the office, or at least to mid-morning break when I might refresh my coca leaves, maybe sharing them with the boss, after a nice hot cup of guarana.

When 'the sun is over the yardarm' I often unwind with a spliff or two, although if I have the evening off I'll probably go for some hash fudge or perhaps mahjoun, while watching the footie with some mates.

I still know a couple of people who could probably score me some lager, but it's often too much hassle staying in the supply chain for illegal drugs like alcohol and tobacco (apart from the risk of arrest, and possible effects on your career prospects). I've seen what happens to people like politicians who try to look street-wise by admitting to occasionally drinking alcohol at university, and then finding the stigma gets attached to them, as though they must have damaged their long-term judgement along with their credibility.  Everyone knows students consume hash and grass - it's part of being a young adult, but it is best not to confess to the really hard drugs, like drinking booze.

I have got a bohemian aunt who has her friends around for tea and cakes, but I didn't find the caffeine and sugar rush interesting enough to take the risk, and I felt uncomfortable around druggies when not joining in.  They'd be giggling and laughing, talking nonsense and apparently having a high old time, but I felt like an outsider.

Perhaps I was a bit cowardly to just go down to the nearest cafe for a hit on the vaporiser.

Of course, on a Friday night I might have my friends around to share a pot of mushroom tea, and have a laugh, but I couldn't take the paranoia of doing illegal stuff.

Ever since sugar was shown to be addictive, with no nutritional value and unwanted side-effects, (from rotten teeth to hyperactive kids) I have tended to stick to Natural Coca-Cola, since they left out the sugar and caffeine and went back to simply using Coca leaves.

Of course, there's still quite a large sub-culture of illegal drinkers, and even tobacco smokers (many of whom insist they somehow 'go together') but the punishment for possession (and particularly for supplying) has driven that scene underground.

It's amazing to think that not that long ago people openly consumed alcohol at weddings or handed tobacco out to celebrate the birth of a child.  Men who drive at 200 miles an hour would be handed a bottle of champagne to shake up and ejaculate all over the crowd (at least they didn't drink it).

In cop shows the police would retreat to a pub to discuss a case over a few drinks; politicians would be shown sharing a quick sherry in their office, and morose policemen would sit at home alone, listening to classical music while sipping beer. It's a little bit before my time, but apparently the whole country used to toast in the New Year with alcohol!  Hard to imagine, now.

Some people want to go so far as to air-brush these images out of films and television, so as not to influence young people into thinking that drinking coffee and tea, eating sugar, smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol are somehow 'cool'.

I think that's going a bit far, myself, so long as they stick to legal substances like cannabis, mushrooms, coca leaves, etc - and don't abuse them.