Dream of: 31 July 1996 "At The Library"

After my father and I had walked into a library in Austin, Texas, we had parted inside the library, each going his separate way. I found a sofa next to a long table and sat down. Soon, two scruffy-looking fellows, one of whom was black, walked up and sat down near me. Listening to them talk, I soon realized they were trying to sell drugs to people in the library. No one was paying much attention to them, and no one seemed particularly concerned by what they were doing. I figured the drug laws in Austin were probably much more lenient than in the rest of Texas.

After watching quite a while, I finally spoke to the black fellow, who was probably in his 20s. I thought I might like to buy some marijuana, if he had any, and I asked him if I could see what he had. He responded that it would take him an hour and a half to retrieve the pot and return. When he asked me how much I wanted, I told him half an ounce. He said a half ounce would cost $50; that seemed like a fair price to me, but I couldn't wait for an hour and a half, because my father would want to leave. When I told the fellow I couldn't wait, he told me to just wait a few minutes and that he would be back. He then walked away.

He returned in no time at all, quickly pulled out a little baggie and opened it. I looked inside and saw some dried leafy substance, but I could tell immediately that it wasn't marijuana, and that he was trying to sell me some bogus substance. I told him I wasn't interested.

Two or three other fellows sitting nearby began showing me their wares; they all had the same kind of bogus grass. I told them all that I wasn't interested and finally they all left. However, one had left a white plastic sack lying on the table; I had the feeling the sack might indeed contain some marijuana. I looked at the sack and was just about to pick it up, when another fellow walked up and sat down on top of the big sturdy table.

I looked closely at this fellow. He was probably in his late 30s, strong, healthy, and dressed in an immaculately pressed white shirt. I thought I recognized him and when I asked him where he worked, he replied that he worked for the Justice Department. Now I knew who he was: a lawyer for the feds. I had met him before, and I had the feeling he was someone with whom I could carry on a conversation, but I also realized something else: I was definitely not going to be able to go near the white plastic sack.

I began talking and I asked him what he thought about the laws against marijuana. For myself, I thought the laws were completely unjust and I didn't have any respect for a man, such as himself, who would be involved in enforcing such repressive laws.

When I asked my question, he visibly squirmed. From his actions, I could tell that he himself was uncomfortable with the laws, but I could also tell that he hadn't really thought much about it. He was simply involved in mindlessly enforcing the laws as they were written, without considering the consequences.

I could see however that there might be an opportunity to reason with the man about this. Since he at least seemed willing to listen, I began talking in a firm and reasoned manner.

I was willing to admit that if marijuana were legalized, more people would use marijuana than if it were illegal. But the arguments in favor of legalization of marijuana were overwhelming. As I spoke, my first argument dealt with the violence that was connected to marijuana. I argued that the violence associated with marijuana wasn't due to the drug itself, but to the laws against the drug. The police initiated the violence against the users of the drug when the police resorted to violence to apprehend and arrest people. Besides that, the violence associated with gangs or dealers was also due to the laws against marijuana; if marijuana were legal, the profit would disappear and the gangs would no longer be fighting.

My second argument dealt with the danger of the impurities in the drug. I pointed out that not only marijuana, but other drugs were often impure because they were illegal and there was no way of checking impurities. The impurities in many drugs caused so many overdoses, not the drugs themselves. And again, these impurities resulted from the drugs being illegal.

But it was my last argument which I thought was most important: freedom. I argued that each person should have the freedom to determine what he or she did with his or her own body. It wasn't the place of government to interfere, much less to actually arrest and incarcerate people for exercising this freedom.

As I had talked, another black-haired fellow who also worked as an attorney for the Justice Department walked up. I could tell that this fellow, unlike the one to whom I was talking, wasn't reasonable; he was only interested in trying to arrest people and incarcerate them. Apparently this fellow was also aware that there was some question about the plastic bag. It seemed as if he had had his eye on it. I now realized more than ever that I must not have anything to do with the plastic bag.

Sensing that it would now be best for me to depart, I rose and took my leave. I walked around the library, looking for my father, but I couldn't find him anywhere. Concluding that he must have already gone to the car, I headed for the exit.

Once outside, I saw that the library was situated on top of a hill, with a long set of concrete steps leading down the front of the hill and ending in the parking lot at the bottom. I headed down the steps, quickly realizing they were very steep, almost vertical. It was almost like climbing down a ladder; I had to lean back and hold onto the steps behind me with my hand. I thought I must look awkward; I finally heard some people sitting on the side of the hill laugh at me.

Suddenly I realized I didn't have to climb like that; I knew how to float. I could just jump out and float to the bottom of the hill. And that is exactly what I did. I jumped off the stairs, gently floating all the rest of the way to the bottom of the hill.

I lightly set down and immediately began looking for my father's car, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I began to worry that he might have left me. If that were the case, I was going to be extremely angry. From Austin we had been planning to drive to Dallas, and that was a long ways. Suddenly I saw my father walking toward me. I was happy to see him, and he didn't look at all angry that I had made him wait so long.

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