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Dream On

Reading the signals in the smoke

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Here's a cannabis-related observation that I feel compelled to share. I know I'm not alone in this phenomenon, but maybe I am—"I don't know, you tell me," as Trump would say. But anytime I go a few days without consuming marijuana, I start to remember my dreams. Not the dreams I have for my life, but the actual sleepy-time purges of the unconscious.

That's kind of an ironic statement given that cannabis does have the power to ramp up one's visions for a life well-lived, to follow one's true path, to provide a kind of smoke-eye clarity to what must be done. Except I don't want to do that now. It's 3pm on a Saturday, and where has the day gone? Where have the dreams gone? Right here—fire up the Youtube for a mid-afternoon sing-along to Afroman's "Because I Got High." These are the waking dreams of a pothead, ones that die a hard death, subsumed into the hapless monomania of ambition paralysis.

The rule for telling stories about your actual dreams is the same as the one for telling stories about your genealogical history: It better be a goddamned interesting dream, or your genealogy better include a story of how one of your forefathers was a marauding Teuton on the high steppes of Mongolia, otherwise these things—your dreams, your family history—tend to be boring.

Let me tell you about a recent dream I had. I only remember it because I ran out of pot, payday was a ways off, and I was already into my guy for an ounce, which had gone up in smoke over a weekend of Netflix bingeing. So I had this crazy dream the other night, one of those "I'm on a journey" deals that took place in what felt like San Francisco but that involved a long-shuttered restaurant in New York City called Florent, where I used to spend a lot of time as a young McPuffups, staring off into space in a dreamlike state of worry.

In the dream, I wore a knapsack and walked a while in the urban swirl, on a mission to find Florent, which was no longer a tight, tiny bistro but had morphed into this giant expanse of noise and slobbering customers. I grabbed a four-top, but the table was wobbly so a staffer came and fixed it, then crushed his thumb under one of the legs in the process. I felt his pain, in the dream.

I scanned the menu and did the ritualistic maneuver of ordering the thing I'd ordered dozens of times at Florent, the burger served on an English muffin and dripping with melted cheddar.

The last thing I remember before waking up, and I remember it vividly, was taking a bite of that burger, seared on the outside and with a pillowy pink interior of medium-rare juiciness within. I could literally taste the charbroil of that burger in the dream, which is more than I can say for the steak I just burned in the broiler after I rolled another joint and obsessed for an hour over Nate Silver's latest poll findings, if only to keep the nightmares at bay.

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