Baseball is America’s Pastime.
Drugs are America’s Toys.
And Easter, in 2014, is 4/20.
Does my family care about me? That’s the question that pops into my head as I first peel my eyes back on a sundrenched Sunday morning. The answer is “of course,” but the reality is they’ve fled the city for greener pastures, and I have no brunch planned, no egg hunt, not a single family event on the docket. And I am really, insanely hungover. A few negative thoughts are inevitable.
There’s a reason I’m so hungover, and it’s because of the guy rolling a spliff on my couch. He’s been staying with me for a few days, and we’ve been going out aggressively late, but also just aggressively. The truth of hosting friends in your mid-20s is that you’re as good as your liver, and I’m quite good. But that doesn’t make the mornings any better.
Weed, on the other hand, does make the mornings better. Much better. And while I have no motherly or fatherly love on the day’s horizon, I have a lot of weed. Plus I’ve scored two free tickets to see my Mets play the hated Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Every drag I take off the spliff makes the sunlight a little less harsh, and a little more inviting. We are now listening to Madonna’s Immaculate Collection, and as she accuses my friend and I of repeatedly pushing her love over the borderline, I’m starting to feel optimistic and borderline exceptional.
I also have a lot of Xanax.
See, the day before, I made an eye-opening discovery: my roommate has a freshly filled prescription for the anti-anxiety wonder drug, and is attempting to wean himself off of it. I, on the other hand, have resolved to never board a plane without a milligram of the stuff. And today, Easter 2014, is the day I will transition from pragmatic traveller to recreational abuser. Spliff complete, it’s time to go.
We hit the streets with ambitious minds, droopy eyes, and a pocketful of drugs. (I also have a pair of edibles for Jason and I, this being 4/20, and me being a good host). But before we hit the train, a key and seemingly inconsequential step: we must stop at the FedEx store to print our tickets.
But fuck! It’s Easter! The FedEx store is closed. FedEx stores closed? FedEx stores closed.
My hangover rushes back as I dial the number of every friend I have within a ten-block radius. No one picks up, no one is home, fear begins to creep in on our idyllic morning.
Or dare I say… anxiety?
An answer! A friend, not home, without printer, but with a brilliant suggestion: go to a hotel. This never would have occurred to me, but I’m high and rarely print. To the Holiday Inn we go.
We’re greeted like kings, the printer is right over there, it’s free, sir, and my hands are deft. The tickets are in our hands within seconds. This feels like an appropriately significant resurrection, even for Easter Sunday. We’re off to the train.
But all of that resurrecting did leave us a bit stressed out, a bit tightly wound, in need of some sort of evening out. And we are now confronted with a train ride that will last nearly an hour. The solution, if you’re still reading, is obvious. Travel dose.
Half a bar each, and off we go.
What a pleasant subway ride! The F train takes awhile, as it always does, but that’s alright. We’re still stoned and solving the seemingly unsolvable printing situation has our endorphins flowing. We transfer to the 7 at Bryant Park and immediately find seats. This is how train rides should be. As we cross into Queens and emerge on the elevated track sunlight washes over us. On cue, the Xanax begins to take effect. We feel, in a nutshell: warm.
Anyone who has ever had a Xanax experience kick in whilst sitting knows that the initial heavy-limbed sensation of standing and walking is unique, difficult and totally enjoyable. Sacrificing a bit of maneuverability and a few motor skills for a mental state of blissful ambivalence to literally everything feels good. Smart. Nobel, even. Life is a total shrug, and it’s in this state of hakuna matata that we scarf down the edibles as we approach the lovely façade of the Citi Field. I love it here.
As we amble up to our section in on the first base line, I slur out a list of the stadium’s food options. He’s never had Shake Shack! I’m such a good host that it hurts, except I’m incapable of feeling pain, so I’m such a good host that I grin like an idiot at everyone who walks past. We are probably walking one mile-per-hour. We end up in our seats, somehow acquiring Italian sausages and Budweisers along the way. I’ve forgotten the plan Shake Shack idea seconds after making it, and spilled all of the toppings off my sausage onto the concession counter immediately after being handed it, but that’s fine.
Sausages consumed, my friend has a brilliant idea! At this point “brilliant idea” is a broad category filled with anything outside of a footrace, but this one feels so obvious and right. We take the second half of our Xanax bars, and I’ve now moved into uncharted consumption territory (I should mention, probably, that my friend has never taken any kind of benzodiazepine in his life).
Before we can even begin to contemplate the forthcoming effects of the hard drug, the soft drug kicks in big time. We’re hungry again. This is the grand opportunity for Shake Shack I’ve been sort of waiting for, I guess. It’s time to get back on our feet, and back into the concession area.
Holy shit, Shake Shack is far. Fuck Shake Shack. We’re not going to Shake Shack. Shake Shack sucks. The cool thing about Xanax is that in this moment, Shake Shack actually sucks. I’ve decided it sucks, so it sucks. No one wants Shake Shack. The adjacent food court is filled with options that are markedly superior and more accessible. We are at a baseball game, free of charge and worry.
We eat a lot. I vaguely recall French fries with curious little dipping sauces, and a large order of wings. We eat exactly how much we want to, with no arguments from our minds, bodies or souls. We are fulfilled.
The walk back to our seats drags on, snail-paced, evolution-slow. But that’s fine; we make it, as we always knew we would. Sun still shining, a competitive game on the field, a transcendent calm. And then, the second milligram of Xanax truly kicks in.
Two innings later, I open my eyes. I glance over to my right and see my friend with eyes shut, mouth agape, beer still nearly full.
This glance lasts for roughly four seconds.
An inning later, I open my eyes again. My friend has not moved. The game is still tied, and we’re now nearing the end of regulation baseball. I’m lucid enough to not fall entirely back asleep, but only enough begin nodding in and out like an overzealous junkie extra in The Wire. This continues for one more inning before my friend starts stirring. We’re entering extras on the field, but our brains have already gone back to the clubhouse. Mets-Braves rivalry be damned, we look too much like the drug addicts we are and it’s time to get the fuck out of here.
The train ride back to the city doesn’t exist.
I vaguely recall stumbling into an ice cream shop on Avenue A and running into two friends. They live in Greenpoint and I’ve never seen them in the city but I don’t ask what they’re doing here. We all head back to my place to sit on the couch, watch some playoff basketball and spend a few hours finding some sort of public-facing homeostasis before my guest has to grab an Amtrak out of town and I have to go to my neglected girlfriend’s apartment for a romantic dinner, luckily a mere two blocks away. My new friends want to smoke a bit more, so we do. We are in no position to disagree with anything.
Four hours later I open my eyes to see my houseguest standing over me with what I can only describe as a wild-eyed blank stare. He’s gesticulating clumsily and explaining that he has missed his train. It’s 10 P.M. I check my phone to confirm that I have also missed my dinner. She has obviously called and texted several times with increasing angst, and I have committed a serious offense. I am also incapable of urgency, and physically unable to even call her back and explain myself let alone make the almost nonexistent walk to her apartment. I type out a semi-coherent apology text and drag myself arduously from couch to bed. I blink, and it’s 6 A.M. Monday morning, and I am human again.
Easter is over, it is thankfully 4/21, and I literally feel like I’ve skipped a day of my life. I emerge from bed Monday morning feeling like I had come straight from Saturday night. Which sounds depressing, but I am without a crippling hangover. And, actually, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this well rested in my life. My friend has gotten his train; my girlfriend has responded with a forgiving text. All the usual anxieties that come after a fitful night of Sunday sleep are gone.