7.6 – The Common Perception

I made sure I talked to Wolf before we went down the Hole.

“What if I can’t take this Marijuana Perception,” I said.  “I think it’s my Perceptionist Edge.”

“Of course Always be your own Reality,” he said, “however, sacrificing for The Common Perception would go a long way right now.”

His face was already getting pale, and his eyes seemed more hunted than hunting, and I could see the first signs of Vertigo.

“It’s alright,” I said.  “I’ll do it for The Common Perception.”

“Thanks,” he said. “I think I’m going to need you tonight.”

“Don’t worry, Wolf, I’ve Got Your Traveler Back.”

When we went down The Scorpion Hole it felt like we suddenly left an Adult Condo and entered some kind of secret Perceptionist Lair. It was very dark except for a dim bare lightbulb, and everything was made of concrete except for a couple ratty looking mattresses.  Against the wall was a shelf of containers and tools and contraptions and lights and plants used for Marijuana Perception.  Everyone sat down in a circle on the floor, and I tried to sit right next to Wolf, but I was quickly butted outta the way by Scorpion’s tail. Everyone seemed to want to sit next to the bride&groom, and in the commotion I ended up on the other side of the Hole from them next to So and So.  There was barely enough room for everyone, and your leg hadta touch the leg of the Reality next to you even if you didn’t want it to.

Then Scorpion took out a baggy of green plant residue and a large black glass sculpture that looked like an octopus.

“Octobong!” someone said.  “Nice!”

He put some of the marijuana in one of its tentacles and passed it and a lighter over to Wolf, who knew just which of it’s other tentacles to start burning and which of it’s other tentacles to put his mouth around.

“It’s good,” he coughed and everyone cheered.

Wolf then passed it to Lamb.  Since she’d been living with a Perceptionist for so long, she’d gotten usta Marijuana and took a hit without any problems, and then she passed it to the Reality next to her.  After that The Octobong moved quickly around the circle.  Soon it got to So (Female) right next to me, she took a good long hit and then passed it and the lighter to me.

The sculpture was heavy and hard, and it’s red eyes looked demonic, and I could almost feel NOT ALRIGHT, MAN just from touching it.  I couldn’t figure out which of its eight tentacles did what, and I hadta study it carefully, and it was way longer than anyone else had taken.  I looked over at So (Male), and he was waiting.

“You gonna smoke it or stare at it?” he said.

I almost wanted to leave the room right then, or even just pass it over and accept whatever MeNotzie reactions followed, but I told myself again I hadta do it for Wolf.

“Smoke it,” I said, “but I don’t know where.”

So (Male) looked at me like was the strange looking deep sea creature.  Then he sighed and pointed to which tentacle was which. I also hadta flick the lighter to make a flame come out of it, but I’d never done that before either.  Then So (Female), who was watching the whole thing, sighed and lit the lighter for me while I smoked.  I felt like the biggest amateur, but I knew the alternative would’ve been worse. I finally passed it over to So (Male), and he nodded.  Soon I could feel the Marijuana getting inside my body just like everyone else there, and then sat back and waited for it to kick in.

I actually felt alright at first.  My skin was a little tingly and my eyes felt fuzzy, but The Marijuana Perception kinda did make the Hole seem a little greater.  It at least felt like maybe the greatest cobwebs, mildew, and torn mattresses I’d been around for awhile. But soon Scorpion was packing the Octobong again and sending it around the circle another time.  When it came back to me I didn’t know what else to do but smoke out of it again.  I tried to take the littlest hit so not too much more could get inside me.  After that I was still feeling alright enough, and wondering if maybe my Perceptionist Edge was just three hits, and I could handle anything below that.  But it didn’t take long before Scorpion had taken more Marijuana, rolled it up into a huge piece of paper, lit it on fire, and passed that around,too.

“Whoa,” someone said, “that’s like a Bob Marley joint right there.”

6.1 – Track #18 of The Great Trip Mix – Coldplay “Sparks”

One day I came over to The Den, and Wolf&Lamb were very excited.

“We’ve just picked the song for The First Dance,” Wolf said.

“What’s The First Dance?” I asked.

“The most important song of The Wedding,” Lamb said. “It’s the first time Wolf and I will dance as married Realities. They’ll play a song, and we’ll be the only ones on the dancefloor. Everyone will watch us, and they can’t start dancing themselves until the next song.”

“It’s supposed to be something slow and romantic,” Wolf said. “And also something that perfectly represents our Love.”

“We picked Coldplay’s ‘Sparks,’” Lamb said.

“Sparks” is a song about the bright little flying embers that occur during an intense physical reaction like someone welding metal, a car bottoming out on pavement, a tree branch falling on a power line, or two Realities falling in Love.

I liked Coldplay. Their lead singer Chris Martin did not have a powerful voice, but it was high and still capable of giving you The Chills.

“To fully explain,” Wolf said, “We have to tell you The Story of How We Met.”

“Alright!” I said.

Then we got comfortable, and Wolf made some Jack Daniels and Dr. Pepper cocktails. Lamb even came up with the idea of adding maraschino cherries, so it would be like a sweet prize at the end of the drink. It was very good. Then Wolf began The Story…

“You may be thinking that in order to fall in Love you have to MeToo about every single thing, but, as you may notice, the two of us may as well be different species. You’d expect, since I’m so Wolf-like and Lamb is so baby-sheep like, that I would’ve only hunted her down in the night, pulled her from the flock with my canine teeth, and MeNotted her with my digestive tract. And actually at first I was searching for no animal but another daring and ferocious Canis Lupis, a SoulTwin who shared a 100% MeToo Overlap.”

“I thought the same thing,” Lamb said. “I just assumed I’d end up with a hardy, horn-bashing ram-boy.”

“I was at The Perceptionist Training School in TheWoods of Pennsylvania,” Wolf said, “going on intense Adventures assigned by the esteemed Perceptionism Professor. He would take us, as he would say, “Down The Rabbithole” to the frontiers of Perception and The Other World. I assumed I would fall in Love in there, but only a rare breed of Traveler was Called to do it. There were not many of us, and the pool of available mating options was quite small. I soon had to turn to the nearby Pennsylvania Future Adult Training School, where there were considerably better odds of meeting someone. I’d always enjoyed reading, especially the Great Perceptionist authors, such as Aldous Huxley, William S Burroughs, and Hunter S Thompson, so I enrolled in a literature course at the college.”

“I was going to PFATS because I thought I wanted to be an Adult at first,” Lamb said. “I mean that’s what everyone tells you you’re supposed to be, right? I ended up in the same literature class as Wolf because I always liked reading, too. I’d never heard of any of his favorite authors tho. My favorites were Mother Goose and the Bible.”

“I found her innocence and adorable looks very attractive right away.”

“I found his experience and intense hunting eyes attractive right away.”

“But I doubted there was even a 10% Overlap between us, so I continued looking elsewhere.”

“And I thought there was no way someone like Wolf would be interested in me.”

“I turned my attention to the PFATS party scene, and made it known to the right Realities that I had access to wild new Perceptions which could obliterate their inhibitions. It became easy to meet women after that, but they were all into Perceptionism for superficial reasons, and I would hide my Reality Travel Calling so it would appear as if we had more of a MeToo Overlap. Sometimes I’d outright lie and tell them I was a full time PFATS Student. I ended up dating several of them, but it was never satisfying, and none of them ever felt close to being my SoulMate.”

“And I would date boys who were too much like me. They were religious, polite, and well on their way to becoming Adults. But all the MeTooing was actually boring me, and I wanted to meet someone different for once.”

“Meanwhile in literature class, despite our differences, I couldn’t draw my attention away from Lamb. I felt strong urges to be near her soft wool and nuzzle it like a blanket. Eventually those urges overcame my fears.”

“Then one day Wolf asked me out, and I couldn’t believe it. I thought, why would someone like that like me?”

“Remarkably, she agreed. And at once I began worrying Lamb would MeNot everything about me. Yet, I was also fed up with not Being My Own Reality. I realized it was absurd to try and trick someone into being my SoulMate and decided not to lie or hold anything back this time. So I invited her to my favorite off-campus dive bar.”

“Not only had I never been in a bar before, but I’d never even been in Alcohol Perception.”

“When I found that out, I was even more terrified of a MeNotzie reaction, but I knew I had to continue with the Being My Own Reality experiment.”

“He ordered a martini and I ordered a Coke.”

“And I flat out told her, ‘I’m a ShaMan Reality Traveler who MeToos via Perceptionism.’”

“I had no idea what that meant.”

“So then I just explained everything to her. The Perceptions, MeTooing, and The Gods. And to my surprise, she did not run away or argue with me or stare at me in confusion.”

“I was thrilled by all these concepts and terminology I’d never heard before.”

“And then she said, ‘Thank you for being so honest.’”

“And then I reached out and grabbed his hand.”

“And then something happened. A surge of energy built up in the center of my chest and in an instant shot out to all parts of my body. It went thru my shoulders and down my arms, and when it reached my hands and fingers it leapt out in a spark. I truly mean that a small ember of light was created when we touched. It was overwhelming and forced us both to retract. Then when we summoned the courage to reach out and touch again, the same thing happened.”

“Sparks.”

“You may doubt me on this and think it was just a lingering effect from some recent Adventure in Perception.”

“But I was in Sober Perception the whole time, and I felt the exact same surge from my chest to my fingertips and witnessed the exact same electricity.”

“It’s left us both with a mysterious but non-negotiable trust in each other. As if from that point on, whatever force caused that spark would guide us no matter how much we MeToo’d or not.”

“We’ve been together ever since, and there have been a lot of MeToos.”

“I am certain we are SoulMates and have full confidence in my decision to marry her. And that, my friend, is why the song must be Coldplay’s ‘Sparks.’”

4.10 – Adventures in Perceptionism: Marijuana

Wolf and I were in The Den sitting across from each other in his beanbag chairs. On the table in front of us was a baggy full of green residue, a tall glass contraption, a music mix, and a huge bowl of pretzels.

“Marijuana Perception,” Wolf said, “is considered by some, including myself, to be The Greatest of All Perceptions. It can make whatever experience you’re having greater. It can make food tastier, thoughts more philosophical, artwork more beautiful, movies funnier, and most importantly for you, Bluebird, it can make music sound better.”

“I can’t wait,” I said. “What will we do greater?”

“Ah. I‘ve set up the perfect Marijuana Perception setting. We will sit in the beanbag chairs, snack on these pretzels, and listen to this Perceptionist Mix I’ve made. It contains music from Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Grateful Dead, and Pink Floyd, who are, as you know, all from the 1960’s Golden Age, when every lyric seemed like it was about Love but was actually about Perceptionism.”

Then Wolf picked out some of the green material from the plastic baggy and put it in a pipe, which attached to a tall glass tube.

“This is a bong,” he said. “To hit it, I’m going to light a lighter and hold it over the pipe until the marijuana starts burning. Then you’re going to put the opening of the glass tube around your lips, inhale deeply, and hold the air in your lungs as long as you can before exhaling.”

“Alright,” I said.

I did it just like he said, and the smoke was hot, and it tickled and burned going down, and I couldn’t hold it in for long before it made me cough.

“That’s good,” Wolf said. “Coughing means the Perception successfully got inside you.”

Then I passed the bong back to him, and he hit it. He held it in his lungs way longer than I did, and when he breathed back out a perfect ring of smoke floated thru the air.

“Ah,” he said, “my favorite Perception.”

Then he handed it back to me.

“I suggest you only hit it a couple more times,” he said. “Then I’ll keep smoking some more to account for our differences in tolerance.”

I took my final hits and sat back in the beanbag and waited for things to get greater. Immediately my lungs got warm and tingly, and the feeling soon spread throughout my body to my skin and fingertips and the inside of my eyes. And when it got to my brain I suddenly felt…

NOT ALRIGHT, MAN.

I couldn’t figure out why. There was no obvious danger nearby. It was just me and Wolf safe in The Den. Lamb wasn’t even there, so we could have total focus on our adventure. But every moment the fear grew stronger, and I couldn’t escape it.

“How are you feeling?” Wolf asked.

I didn’t answer him cuz the Not Alright, Man had turned him into The Big Bad Wolf. I was certain he was a MeNotzie who was going to devour me if I said the wrong thing.

“Bluebird… Bluebird…” he kept saying.

Then I wondered if he would be more of a MeNotzie if I didn’t say anything.

“Wait… What… Man…?” I tried to say.

But the words came out only one at a time, possibly minutes apart.

“How… Are… You… Fee… Ling…?” he said.

His words were only coming out one at a time, too. I couldn’t put them together to create any meaning. I didn’t know what a “Ling” was. It seemed like it could’ve been a delicious authentic Chinese Bluebird stir-fry dish.

“I think… I… hafta… go…” I tried to say.

I got up from the beanbag and my legs felt like they were completely separate from my body, and I didn’t know if I could even command them anymore. But that just made me wanna leave more.

“Wait… Don’t… Go… Yet…” Wolf probably said.

But it felt to me like, “fang, claw, get you!”

Then I just started running. My Nest was only right down the street from The Den, and I tried to point myself in that direction and push. It felt like it took years, and when I finally got there I locked the door tight, made a big pile of all the sheets and blankets and towels and clothes I had, and got underneath so I couldn’t be found by anything trying to huff and puff and blow my house down. It was very dark under the pile tho, and the Not Alright, Man was right there with me, making me feel like the smallest pinpoint in the middle of the giant black MeNotzie universe. It felt like it would last for eternity. It felt like this is what it must feel like to be dead.

The next day when the Perception wore off I came back and told Wolf about it.

“You didn’t tell me about its DarkSide!” I said.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “You left before I could explain. Marijuana Perception affects every Reality differently. For me it’s always great but maybe not for you.”

“It wasn’t great at all. It was the worst.”

“Still you shouldn’t have left. Perhaps the Perceptionist Mix would’ve helped soothed you. Or I could’ve taught you the Bad Adventure Mantra. It’s just a Perception, and it can’t last forever.

“I didn’t have a choice tho.  The Perception was making all the decisions for me.”

“Hmm, well, it’s possible Marijuana just might not be Right for your Reality.”

“How am I supposed to MeToo all the Marijuana Realities then?”

“I could help you get more used to it. Perhaps do a really light amount or a different strain. But you have to remember you never have to do anything that makes your mind or body feel bad. If you’re not well enough to MeToo on the Perception, then Common Perception doesn’t matter. Always Be Your Own Reality, that is the most important thing.”