On my subway ride one morning in January, two young Hispanic dudes are talking, both sporting joggers and man-buns. The one wearing a blue jogger starts rummaging deep inside his bag and takes out a dime bag of weed and a gold weed preserving jar. I’m thinking he took them out because he was worried that the items may have drifted too far down his bag. No worries though, his stash was right there in hand, out in the open, on the subway.
As they continue to talk, the dude in the blue jogger whips out a pack of rolling papers. That’s fine, maybe he just wants to make sure he has paper, for later you know. He has paper, alright. Paper to roll up a fat blunt right then and there! Caring not a wit about the people around him or who they might be, he holds the rolling paper between his thumb and index finger, folding it into the traditional V-shape. He reaches into the dime bag, pulls out a large pinch of pot. With the precision of a gourmet chef, he sprinkles the sprigs along the fold. A thought plays over and over in my mind like a broken record: Is he going to light up right here and now?
Their conversation never misses a beat, as Blue Jogger takes out his lighter. This puts me on edge because I hate the smell of weed smoke in a confined space. The absolute worst! There’s a reason why they call it skunk! Now my thinking is, “If this fool sparks up should I say something and risk getting into an argument or worse? Or do I just move to another car?” The choice is voided when I see him use the flame from his lighter to keep the rolling paper glued tight around the weed, swiftly waving it underneath the joint back and forth until there is something, what I don’t know, that only expert smokers know to look for and then he’s satisfied. This technique is new to me. Must be Advanced Weed-Smoking 101.
To tighten up the ends, because apparently twisting the ends is simply not enough, he accomplishes this by sticking them between the button and the flint wheel of his lighter to crimp them down. Necessity is the mother of invention, you know. Nothing can be said about a perfectly crimped joint end. Still I don’t know what to do if he lights up. Satisfied with the result of his crimping, he proudly stuffs the joint in his pocket for later when he gets off of work, because what kind of barbarian would light up on the subway right after rolling up in front of everyone? Thank you for your consideration, good sir!
A few days later, consideration wasn’t in order. Another dude, youngish and black, gets on the train. Bundled up against the unseasonably mild winter, he already looks like he’s high as a cloud. While on the platform, I see he’s carrying a scooter. Scooters for adults, riding to and from work, is popular these days; but this bleary-eyed fool gives off an air that he has never ridden a scooter in his life. If you ask me, and you haven’t, I think he stole it. I hate myself for thinking this, but it’s all in the way he holds the scooter. It’s one of those utilitarian fold-up numbers. But it’s open and he holds it lackadaisical with one hand. In the other, he holds a smoldering spliff. Never having seen him spark up, the smell of marijuana hits me like a slap to the nose from the opposite end of the train car. My first thought is, “Are we back in the NYC subway of the 1980’s?
I mutter loudly, “Aw hell naw, man!” Only the folks next to me hear my protests. Scooter is too far to hear me. He’s so high, his chill is lowered to ‘back-of-the-fridge’ levels. Bobbing his head to the rumble of the train, it’s as if he’s listening to music, letting the spliff simmer rather than take a hit. Eventually, my stop comes and I get off. Thankfully, he doesn’t, keeping his mini-cloud on the train. I felt bad for the folks who remain.
Smoking weed isn’t an issue for me. I don’t partake, but I think marijuana should be legal everywhere. It’s no worse than alcohol or tobacco. And the idea that it’s a gateway drug has never been definitively proven. I fear legalization though, because it will be a gateway, not a gateway for harder drugs, but a gateway for people to act like idiots. It’s people, like the aforementioned dudes being complete inconsiderate assholes, who will deep six the federal legalization this country needs. Go ahead. Smoke weed until you have THC coming out of your pores like a dripping sponge; I don’t give a shit! But act like you’ve got some damn sense and do it either in the privacy of your home or in places that are designated for smoking. Do not smoke weed in or around places you know goddamn well you’re not supposed to, thus ruining it for everyone.
A lot of this public flaunting of weed smoking is simple attention-seeking. “Ooohhhhh! Look at me! Mommy and Daddy never paid much attention to me! So I’m sparking up right in front of you wusses because you’ll notice me! Notice me, Senpai! Please!” Listen, I don’t care if you smoke, just do it where you’re supposed to. Keep being a dick about smoking weed and guess what happens? Enough people will complain and back into the illegal controlled substance category it will go. So when marijuana becomes legal on a federal level, remember to act like it’s not a big deal and has been legal for decades. Can you do that?