My friend Tyler was scribbling on a desk next to me in Calculus when I turned to him and asked what he was writing. [insert Tyler’s desktop story]. I didn’t know anything about psychedelics at the time, and I was curious.
Next time I was at his place, we stayed up late watching A Scanner Darkly, a rotoscoped film about a narc played by Keanu Reeves and his hallucinatory descent into a conspiratorial sci-fi dystopian world. The perfect primer for my first psychedelic experience.
We woke up the next morning to a sunny day in late spring and sat in lawn chairs on the back deck, facing its white-painted railing and shaded by maple trees.
Tyler handed me a bong stuffed with salvia concentrated to 60 times its natural strength and told me to take the biggest hits and hold the longest breaths as fast as I could.
The first hit hadn’t quite caught up to me by the time I took the second one. I exhaled again and went to adjust my ass in my seat, but before I could resolve the minor discomfort of an ass-adjustment, salvia instantly came online, and I was stuck in a repeating loop, like a broken record, between the threshold of ‘being slightly uncomfortable wanting to adjust my ass in the seat’ and never ‘finally resolving my ass-adjustment’.
After glitching out in agonizingly mild discomfort for a while, I looked up to see a canopy of salvia plants laughing maniacally as I felt myself gradually falling down a pit of white vertical stripes, like some satanic wallpaper lining a sinkhole into the abyss. The lines pinwheeled around me like an accelerating ceiling fan, and its stripes spun into a spiral staircase. As my mind was chopped up by the pinwheel-staircase, each shattered fragment of myself clung desperately in vain to each step of the staircase, tumbling around and around down a staircase of parallel universes I could never return to.
Salvia normally lasts 15-20 minutes, but by the time I was down, I was told it had been over a half-hour. I came to, kissing the ground because it was ‘real’, and walked home thanking the world for being stable and reliable, whichever universe it now was.