Rosemary is a 75-year-old woman I met when I emerged from her birth canal in 1968, on what happened to be her own birthday—a coincidence made weighty by the personal, moral, and aesthetic similarities that grew over the years between my mom and me. Among our shared viewpoints: Women matter, bullies suck, cheese rules, God is overrated, and a whole lot of Trump-based anxiety might be displaced if we committed to getting ourselves to the Women's March on Washington, together.
We also both love lightly altered states and conversation, and so, after returning safely from our electrifying day in DC with a half-million others who love women, hate Trump, and appreciate witty signage, my mom and I got lightly high on THC tincture and did our best to relax.
This wasn't our first time getting high together. In the '90s, we smoked together a half-dozen times, always when she was visiting Seattle from her elderly-mom-mandated home in central Florida, a cultural wasteland that propelled her to schedule visits that overlapped with big Seattle to-dos—SIFF and Bumbershoot and the weeklong run of Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle at the Varsity. At some point on every trip, weed would be produced, she'd take a little puff, and we'd have a giggly couple hours talking, watching movies, and eating everything within our lazy reach.
But in the aughts, she grew out of it. She didn't like where weed took her anymore, citing new feelings of joy-killing paranoia, which led her to believe her chemistry had changed enough that her time with weed was done. She'd stick to red wine.
But after Washington State legalized recreational marijuana, my mom gave it another try—in the form of commercially produced edibles. With their precise doses and strains, these products managed to sidestep her paranoia and remind her why she liked the occasional high in the first place. And so it came to pass that I dosed myself and my mom with 20 milligrams of hybrid weed tincture in tumblers of cranberry juice, after which we changed into early-evening loungewear, settled into her sofa, and enjoyed the ride.
As always with High Society subjects, I instruct my mom to alert me when she feels any signs of highness. This request is in vain, as my mom is that rare, but not unprecedented, type of weed-imbiber who will never, ever admit to being high. I think it's a pride thing, and also some adherence to etiquette. So long as you can say, "I'm not high," you're not really high.
So instead I observe her behavior and body language, as she sinks into her seat, lets her head fall back on the sofa, and haltingly holds forth on how the room she is in feels very far away from the room I am in. (We are in the same room.) Soon come snacks, all based around the theme "salt": white cheddar Smartfood popcorn, sea-salt Kettle Chips, fresh blue cheese on pita crackers, and, the overkill pièce de résistance, oyster crackers dusted with powdered ranch dressing mix. "I always thought Pringles were disgusting," my mom says. "Am I talking too loud?"
At some point, I come forth with a question: "When did you learn to like cheese?" The question sounds like a robot translating another language, but inspires my mom to tell me a story I've never heard before. "When I was growing up," she explains, "my mom worked as a nurse at the hospital, and when I was 12, I started working as a tray girl in the dining room, and guests were given little wedges of foil-wrapped cheese, and sometimes they gave them to me."
From this topic, we veer into a discussion of my mom's young-adult belief that she was fated to die in a car crash. "There were so many songs about car crashes, it just seemed like a likely way to go," she says, inspiring us to list our favorite songs involving fatal collisions. (Her picks: "Leader of the Pack," "Dead Man's Curve"; mine: "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.") "Also I drove kind of crazy," she says, noting the time she took a famously sharp turn at 80 miles an hour. "I had some funny misses."
When words run out, we point our eyes at a movie—Little Potato, the new 17-minute mini-documentary from Seattle filmmaker Wes Hurley, recounting the amazing story of Hurley and his mother's journey from Russia to America and the woman who made it possible. (Best known for the campy web series Capitol Hill, Hurley has made something new and different in Little Potato, and you should watch it if given the chance.) Best of all, our time-bending highness makes this short feel like a feature film, filling us with a sense of accomplishment for having paid attention to something for 17 minutes. Eventually we wander off to our beds and into still-high slumbers that will inspire us both to sleep through our morning alarms. Like mother, like son.
Wanna get lightly high and talk? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.