Cody and Jack are a married couple I came to know through a loose network of over-30 gay men with beards on Facebook. This sounds shallow, but even casual social media reveals a lot. Before we'd officially met, I knew Cody was an insurance professional who'd gotten a big promotion, Jack was a bureaucrat who occasionally performs burlesque, and their Central District house was almost a casualty of a flaming power line knocked onto their roof by a maintenance truck.
I also knew Cody and Jack are major culture-imbibers, with voluminous Facebook check-ins at art and performance venues. But despite their love of stoner-friendly gawkfests—they're regular attendees at Re-bar's video collage showcase Collide-O-Scope and hosted a viewing party for the Eurovision Song Contest—they're not regular imbibers of cannabis. Cody has never tried it, while Jack is reeling from a college-era oversmoke experience. "You know that scene in Contact where Jodie Foster undoes her seat belt and is trapped 300 million light years from Earth? That was me," Jack tells me. "I would much rather have something more like that scene in 9 to 5, with a munchie potluck where everything is funny."
I had my marching orders. For entry-level weed, I visited Sodo's Vela, where I announced I was seeking a beginner-friendly 9 to 5 experience and was presented with a pre-rolled joint of the strain Kriss Kross, an indica/sativa hybrid with a midrange THC level. For the munchie potluck, my husband and cohost for the night, Jake, and I walked the line between classic must-haves and personal faves, including Nacho Cheese Doritos (with their miraculous chemical molestation of human pleasure centers), Take 5 candy bars (Jake's mass-market ideal of salty sweetness), and Ellenos lemon-curd yogurt, a delight that calls up my favorite stoner-munchie story, in which a high friend devoured an entire container of the most delicious yogurt she'd ever had, only to discover that it was sour cream. If sour cream and yogurt had a baby, its name would be Ellenos.
We arrive at Cody and Jack's home in time for 4:30 p.m. nightfall. After puffing on the back porch, we hit the second-level rec room, plop ourselves on a sectional sofa, and, over a musical backdrop of Brandt Brauer Frick's DJ-Kicks mix, start gabbing. On the conversational roster: Cody and Jack's romantic history (together nine years, married in 2013), their 2016 Halloween costumes (the duo dressed as Jet Kiss, the Mike Ross sculpture in the Capitol Hill light rail station), and their dog Tomato, a German shepherd mix whose favorite toy is a stuffed alligator.
As always, I ask to be alerted to first feelings of highness. "I feel nice... relaxed," says first-timer Cody, and returning-user Jack agrees. Thanks to the indica/sativa mix, our buzzes are tempered with light stupefaction. "I can't recall the words for the things," as Jack puts it.
Eventually I notice Tomato's sporadic barking at the front door. This, Cody and Jack explain, is the result of their regular house parties. In Tomato's experience, the arrival of two guests typically heralds dozens more, and her barks are for what she's sure are impending others. I suggest Jake and I sneak out the back and re-arrive at the front, to fulfill Tomato's fantasy. The idea gets some play before Jake notes that we are four adults considering putting on a show for a dog, and the plan dissolves into laughter.
Before long, Cody and Jack experience two classic high-person feelings: hunger and the desire to get a little higher. We return to the patio and then walk to Skillet, where Jack, Cody, and Jake order fried-chicken sandwiches, I order mac and cheese, and we all devour everything while discussing Christmas cooking plans (Cody's making doughnuts!) and the dog-friendly hotels of Portland (Mark Spencer!).
Then we haul ourselves back up the hill, into the house, and onto the sofa, where we point our high eyes at Big Business, the 1988 comedy starring Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler in dual roles as mismatched identical twins. While the script allegedly draws inspiration from Mark Twain, Aesop, and Shakespeare, the result seems more like a straight-to-video Olsen twins project, but it's not without its pleasures, most notably the face of Bette Midler, which never makes a single expression when seven will do and essentially turns the film into a 97-minute marathon of neck-up Jazzercise.
After the credits roll, Jake and I waft back home, where I find an e-mail from Jack. "That was fun. I think a lot of the paranoia and fear I'd been carrying around since my bad experience 20 years ago has been replaced with curiosity and, honestly, relief."
Are you a human willing to get high and hang out and answer my politely-asked invasive questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also also, would you like your nonprofit organization, film festival, amateur show choir, new fusion restaurant, cam-show website, band, book club, butoh troupe, or commercial masturbation space to get some press? Send me someone on the inside willing to get high and talk and we'll take it from there..