Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Strippers and Acid 9: The Suite

The most wonderful thing about the human brain is how well it performs complex tasks without the constant oversight of the higher brain. This is never more evident than when you're all fucked up on acid. In my case, I don't think I ever would have gotten out of the car and into the hotel had I not been distracted by something shiny and just allowed my body to go through the motions of getting where we needed to be.

There's a delicate line to be drawn there, boys and girls, most especially when you're out in public. Too passive and you revert to "movie mode," a way of thinking where you become disconnected from the events around you, which can be a very dangerous thing, for obvious reasons. Too intense in your investigation of your current environment will result, at the very least, in some unwanted attention from people (and believe me, your fragile sense of reality WILL NOT stand up to close scrutiny by security guards, parents, or police). Ironically, one of the best parts about LSD will be your undoing there--any object or feature in your field of vision will become an infinite array interesting OTHER, component interesting things, not unlike a fractal image (although fractals are generally copies of one another, whereas there's no telling what you'll think of the component parts of, say, your friend's face). And shortly after you become bored with deconstructing the mirror in the hallway (not your image, just the shape and texture of the object), you'll realize that the mirror in its entirety is only a tiny component of your house, and your mind will reel out into space, stopping just long enough at various points for you to visualize just how everything fits together to make a perfect whole.

Or maybe you'll realize it isn't a mirror at all, but an elevator door, and Keith has been making increasingly urgent noises for you to just get inside already.

After what seemed an eternity wandering around the hotel looking for the specific suite, we located room 420, and Keith slipped the keycard through the lock. Against all odds, we had found me a place to be quiet and not worry.

Or at least, not worry about what was going on around me.

See, kids, there's a downside to drug abuse, and especially massive quantities of drugs like hallucinogens and ecstasy (and even, it's true, cocaine): after chronic use, like, over a period of months, your brain starts to get soft and reality doesn't snap back to quite the form it used to. You'll get paranoid (the darkened staircase in my old apartment is a worthy story for that one, remind me), and neurotic. Cocaine's the quickest about this (especially the neuroses), but goes away the fastest. Ecstasy, especially monster ecstasy binges that go for multiple days, will have longer-term effects. LSD's most insidious, and the effects last for a lot longer. Like, uh, a couple of years.

But you're able to function. It just...well, it just coarsens the "reality filter," I guess. And that's all well and good when you're working on a painting or writing a poem or even working on a particularly knotty differential equation...but it can be disastrous if you've been filtering out something like chronic depression or anxiety.

All this is the result of a biochemistry change in your body--basically you're depleting your serotonin level, which is pretty easy to rebuild by eating certain foods, or, you know, laying off the shit for a while. But when you keep these enzymes/hormones depleted (check out Erowid for a more accurate explanation of what goes on--I just eat the stuff, man), over time you get some pretty weird thoughts runnin' around the old' cabeza.

This is all deep background info that's going to keep you from thinking I really AM crazy when I tell you that when I was originally told the suite was on the top floor and had a balcony (in fact, had access to a POOL on the roof), my first thought was how impulsive "jumpers" are. People who survive suicide attempts often say they felt completely normal fifteen minutes before the incident, but felt a strange (and very strong) compulsion to do themselves in, in a relatively short span of time. And while I didn't WANT to die, there was something slightly hypnotic about the pool-level railing I was visualizing in my mind. And this was all before I took the acid.

So I had plans to stay way the hell away from every situation like that. And by the time we actually arrived at the door, I'd forgotten all about it (to the point of walking on the interior-courtyard side on the way to the room).

Furthermore, upon opening the door, it appeared my biggest problem was going to be claustrophobia. The suite was tiny.

The front room looked like a waiting room. No wall was big enough for anything bigger than a chair, because there was a lamp standing on a tiny writing desk in one corner. Two Reebok hitop feet were kicked up on the desk, attached, I eventually found, to the rather sullen looking wrestler kid who'd poured the laced champagne earlier. He seemed even bigger than last time, possibly because the room was so small. Another one of the "older" kids was there, digging in that same beat up blue cooler for Original Coors and Bud Light escapees. Big Boy stared at me.

"Where you been," he asked.

"Dunno," I replied (quite honestly, I might add). "Where's our bachelor?"

"Inna next room. You see those strippers out there anywhere? You were all cuddly with 'em earlier."

"They'll be along, I guess. The blonde one was all fucked up."

I walked, suddenly lighthearted at the thought of Nadine, down the hallway, which was barely long enough to warrant the name. Even my attenuated visual perspective couldn't hide the fact that this whole "suite" concept was a shell game played by the hotel on unsuspecting, out of town guests. Or kids with bachelor parties.

The bachelor, as you might expect, was snoring on the bed, with one foot on the floor and his shirt untucked. The room lights were dim, but I was pleased to see no evidence of a pool. I checked to make sure ol' boy's head was to the side, and slid myself into the bathroom, which was the size of something you'd expect on a sailboat, or maybe in an RV. Avoiding looking in the mirror, or at my penis, I took a leak, then headed back out into the "living room." Ignoring the look of hatred on the face of Big Boy, I grabbed what felt like the coldest beer out of the cooler, and tried not to fall into the emergency chain on the front door.

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