by Adrian Ryan @drogado_del_gato Recommended Listening: Strangers by Portishead
I take my camera out from time to time, and shoot some pictures of landscapes, sunsets, and nature. I usually pack my camera bag with all the essentials so I can hike or be out for an extended period of time looking for my shots. This will include film, filters, notes, lenses, snacks, and medication to travel or work on. About a month or so ago, I recently hiked some trails of South Mountain, and having gone to high school in the area, as well as lived near 7th avenue and Baseline for most of high school, I knew what I was going to do. Hike from the large gazebo to a small gazebo, smoke a Dutchie, and hike back up to the large gazebo taking pictures the entire time. I went at a time I knew there would be nobody around, and so I was able to safely partake in a smoke break. As luck would have it, I ran into a senior gentleman who looked my opposite but had some great insights, and we struck up a good conversation.
As I was hiking back up to the large gazebo, he joined me on the trail from the desert base, as I had a OG Kush Dutchie burning. He shot a simple, “that smells nice,” from a few meters behind and we kept hiking. I made it to the large gazebo, finished my smoke, and started to sip some water. He approached and introduced himself as Eddie, so I told him about myself, so we began to have a conversation. The subjects of our conversation jumped around but he asked me if I was scared of being caught. I told him I was taking a chance and doing what I’m not supposed to, but when I explained my situation, he understood immediately that I was out hiking thanks to the cannabis. The risk was low, and without it, I wouldn’t be out hiking at all without using some heavy pain medication to which he replied “what’s killing so many young people?” He asked about my pack of Dutchies, which he clearly thought was entertaining, “It looks like a pack I’d buy.”
Eddie tells me he was a smoker for 36 years, but he had quit and been without a cigarette for 11 years. I congratulate him and tell him I smoked for about 6 years, and have been without cigarettes for 4 years. He again asked, “Do I get the urge to smoke a cigarette from joints?” to which I said no. The occasional JUUL hit or blunt is the only nicotine I get these days, and I’m trying to cycle those out to CBD-hemp alternatives. In another serious line of questioning, Eddie asked about CBD, including CBD sold at the local Circle K, I informed him there are far better places to get CBD along with explaining some of the benefits. I open the Dutchies and he smells the heavy petrol smell of the OG Kush and stated that this was “far superior to the kind bud of his youth!” I began explaining vape pens, concentrates, and edibles, to which he could only muster a “Whoa!” as a reply.
It was good to talk with Eddie; he was a kind and inquisitive person, in his senior years; just trying to understand someone with a different lifestyle. Initially I was unsure, because of his appearance, cowboy boots, military backpack, and MAGA hat. Only in speaking to each other, did we understand each other, him wearing a hat in jest, believing the current administration is a joke, but a former serviceman, married with grown kids out hiking while just hoping to interact with others. He meets me and we strike up a conversation about cannabis, medical cards, and my rights as a patient. Starting our talk with Dutchies, admiring the novel look and convenience of their packs. He expressed excitement in looking into a medical card, and maybe cutting back his prescriptions and drinking for the remainder of his sunset years. He tells me before they had kids, he and his wife would smoke from time to time, so fond memories exist. The perspective was grounding, what a time I live in, doing what I am, and meeting people who have completely different experiences from all different walks of life. I look forward to more conversations with my new friend, and meeting his family while advising others to stay positive as well as keeping an open mind.
by Adrian Ryan @drogado_del_gato