Dream of: 18 November 1997 "Alzheimer's"

While at Walls' house in Portsmouth, I reflected that about all Walls had done with his life was deal drugs. Over the years, Walls had sometimes worked odd jobs, but since high school, his main occupation had been as a drug dealer. Usually when I was in Portsmouth, such as now, I would stop in and see him. I didn't buy drugs from him anymore, but since we had been close friends in my teenage years, I still liked to see how he was doing.

I was sitting in Walls' spacious living room where probably 20 other people were sitting in chairs and couches around the perimeter, all waiting for Walls to return. This was the way it usually was at Walls' home – crowds of people, most of whom were wanting to buy drugs. Sometimes the people would just come to Walls' home to party. Someone in the room mentioned that Walls had a new rule on parties: apparently he invited different groups of people to different parties. If a person was with a group at a party one night, then the person wouldn't be invited to the party the next night.

I noticed a boy sitting on a couch, a boy whom I didn't recognize at first. But looking more closely at his facial features, and his dark black hair, I realized he must be Walls' son (16-17 years old). I hadn't seen the boy since he had been two or three years old. I knew that Walls had long ago divorced his wife Connie, and that Walls' son had gone to live with Connie. I tried to open a friendly conversation with the lad, and asked him how his mother Connie was doing. The boy stared straight ahead, without looking at me, and rattled off a list of afflictions, including depression, which plagued his mother. Someone nearby then mentioned that Connie had Alzheimer's.

I was stunned. I remembered Connie as a young woman. Even now she couldn't be more than 35. I had been under the impression that Alzheimer's struck only older people. It was hard to imagine that a younger person could also have Alzheimer's, but in the back of my mind, it seemed that I did remember that on rare occasions, young people could also be struck down with Alzheimer's. It was so sad to think that Connie, as young as she was, could be incapacitated by such a crippling disease. I wondered if the cause might have anything to do with the fact that Connie used to smoke a lot of marijuana.

I was becoming more impatient for Walls to return. When I asked, someone told me that he was supposed to be back at 3:40. Since the clock already said it was ten till four, I thought Walls would probably show up at any minute. I was becoming more anxious, because I was thinking I might smoke some pot this time. Although I normally didn't smoke any more when I went to Walls' house, this time I just might. I might even buy some pot from Walls to take with me. And if Walls didn't have any pot to sell, maybe someone else there would have some. After all, I was sure that everyone in the room must smoke pot.

Fidgety, I stood up and walked around the room. I walked over to a mirror and looked at myself. I only looked about 20 years old. I was wearing a cap over my long dark hair, hair which completely covered my ears. My cheeks were rosy, and I thought I looked quite good. When I sat back down on the couch, my eyes alighted on a girl sitting across from me on the other side of the room. I just starred at her, until I realized she was also looking back at me, as if to ask why I were looking at her. She was only about 15 years old and looked exactly like a young version of the actress Julia Roberts. Another girl just as pretty was sitting next to her. I could tell that the girls were curious about who I was, that they thought I might be interesting. But I knew that I was so much older than they, it seemed highly unlikely that we would have anything in common, other than my attraction to their good looks.

Suddenly I looked up and realized that Connie had walked into the room and that she was standing in front of me. She smiled, happy to see me. I rose and embraced her. When we separated and I looked at her more closely, I couldn't see any signs that she was suffering from Alzheimer's. She looked perfectly fine and fit to me. I thought of asking her how she was doing, but then stooped, thinking that might not be the best question to ask. We exchanged a few more words, and then I sat back down on the couch.

Stevens (a former junior high schoolmate) was sitting on my right. I remembered Stevens from junior high school. I had liked him at that time, but over the years, I knew he had become a surly, if not dangerous, character. I had heard that he had also become involved in dealing drugs, and as I sat down, I noticed a baggie of marijuana lying next to him.

I was feeling more and more like smoking. When I had come, I hadn't intended to smoke; but now that I was around all these other drugies, the temptation was increasing. I was unsure what I would do if someone were to offer me a joint. I suspected I would accept. I was further swayed by a commercial which I saw playing on the television in the room. The commercial was talking about the dangers of smoking pot, expatiating that one joint wasn't that bad, that two joints was dangerous, and that three joints would cause serious damage. Although the commercial was intended to dissuade people from smoking pot, I seized upon the first statement — that one joint wasn't that bad. I figured that since I hadn't smoked anything for so long, smoking one joint wouldn't be a problem.

As if in answer to my thoughts, I noticed that Stevens had been busily rolling a joint from his baggie of pot, and he was lighting it up. When he took a hit and handed the joint to me, I noticed a streak of dark brown resin curl up through the white smoke from the joint. The white cigarette paper was also turning brown, coated with the resin. Obviously the pot was extremely potent — Stevens mentioned that it was the best he had ever had. Thinking to myself, "I'll just smoke this one time," I took the joint in my hand, raised it to my lips and filled my lungs with a deep hit. I noticed the joint didn't taste like marijuana - it had a duller taste - and I wondered if it might be heroin. I had never smoked heroin, but I knew that heroin was coming back in vogue and that many people now smoked it.

I returned the joint to Stevens. He took another hit and handed the joint back to me again. I likewise took another hit. As I waited for the drug to take effect, I wondered how I was going to feel. If the joint was actually heroin, I would probably become lethargic. If however the joint was actually pot, I would probably become active and nervous. As the drug began to hit me, I didn't feel much of anything. Mostly my mind just seemed to become dull, and my thoughts a little more scrambled.

I hesitated as to whether I should hand the joint back to Stevens or give it to someone else. I noticed that a fellow had squeezed in on my left, obviously wanting some of the pot, but Stevens took the joint from my hand, indicating I shouldn't pass it to the fellow. Apparently Stevens had someone else in mind to whom he wanted to give the joint. The fellow stood up in a huff and walked away.

Once I had finished smoking, I immediately regretted what I had done. I turned to someone and said, "That's the first time I smoked in five years. Once in every five years is not so bad."

But that wasn't how I felt at all. I felt terrible. Yes it had been more than five years since I had smoked any pot. How could I have broken that long streak? It was the longest I had ever gone without smoking pot. It was heart-breaking to think that I had so nonchalantly fallen again into the quagmire. A sinking nervous feeling was upsetting my stomach.

Again I mumbled something, about how smoking pot every day would get to a person, "Like I used to do." And I remembered that indeed there had been times in my life when I had smoked pot every day. It was almost incomprehensible that I could have mistreated my mind so badly. I could only conclude that my mind must have completely shut down and quit functioning during those times. It was a sickening feeling, especially now that I had been so ignorant as to actually try the stuff again.

Now what was I going to do? There I was, stuck in a room with a bunch of druggies. They were all just sitting there, somnambulistic, doing nothing. I would at least like to talk to them or do something. Maybe I could stand in the middle of the room and start playing charades. But that would be foolish.

Or maybe I could at least do one thing: I might talk to some of the young people in the room about the dangers of smoking a lot of pot. After all, it looked as if a good percentage of the people in the room were rather young. Some of these young people were probably already smoking almost every day. I didn't know how their brains could take it. The idea was almost revolting. Maybe I could talk to them. Of course I was hardly setting an example to follow: I had just intoxicated myself. Yet what else could I do at this point — except feel bad?

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