Just like a fart under the bed sheets | AspenTimes.com

Just like a fart under the bed sheets

Alison Berkley

That’s what I told the hippie kid (translation: upper-middle-class, 20-something from Chicago suburbs) who burned my steak at our barbecue last weekend.

He toasted everybody’s steak, even though he stood over the grill the entire time, armed with spatula and tongs and the false confidence that endeared us to bestow upon him such a high level of responsibility in the first place.

We’re talking about 4 whole pounds of strip sirloin that came off the coals stiff as concrete, a quarter of which I fed to my dog. My friend Christine told me he cooks pizzas for a living and he’s bad at that, too.

“How did you, like, not notice the steaks were burning?” I asked.

He stared at me blankly – or at least I imagined that’s what he was doing beneath the sunglasses he wore for long after the sun went down. He explained that it was because my buddy, who also happened to be stoned off his ass, distracted him by talking about the hockey playoffs.


Smoking weed is as common in Aspen as three-figure bar tabs and one-night stands. That pungent smell of marijuana smoke continually wafts through Aspen’s clean mountain air like a fart under the bed sheets.

It’s one of those good-but-bad smells that propels you to take another whiff just to be sure how bad it really is. It sticks to the inside your nostrils like stale beer or melted Gruyere cheese (not altogether different than a fart under the bed sheets).

Smoking pot pervades everything people do in Aspen, from skiing and mountain biking to watching “South Park” and going to work in the morning. From John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High to our beloved Bagel Bites’ own “Baked at High Altitude” slogan, Aspen takes a certain level of pride in ganja love.

Oh, relax. I’ve got nothing against the stuff, aside from the fact that it either makes me panic-stricken and paranoid or ravenously hungry and stupid. The only thing I really hate about it (besides the way it makes me feel) is that I just can’t love it as much as everyone else does. I feel like I’m missing some hilarious joke that everyone else is in on.

Believe you me I have tried to acquire a taste for it. I even have a few good “I was so stoned” stories that everyone loves to tell, like the time I sat at a stop sign waiting for it to turn green; or that time me and my friend, MB, spent like 20 minutes at the Burger King drive-through trying to decide what we wanted, paid, and then drove away without the food. I will never forget the sight of that skinny guy chasing after us in his uniform with an enormous bag in each hand. We laughed until we cried.

But, hello, that was high school – like, 15 years ago! I am grown up now and graduated to more sophisticated drugs like cocaine and ecstasy (I’m totally just kidding, Daddy. I only tried it once).

But for some reason the men in my life – and I mean ALL the men in my life (excluding my boss and my dad) just llllllllove their kindie-kind-dankity-dank-KGB-killer-green-kind-bud.

They’ve all got their beloved bongs and portable smoking kits they tote around with them in little quasi cosmetic bags with plastic containers. They keep their “herb” in the refrigerator like it’s basil, leave it lying on the coffee table like it’s potpourri.

They smoke it on lift rides and trail sides (haven’t you ever heard of “Joint Point”?) or in the alley behind the bar. They disappear from parties and return 20 minutes later, their eyeballs like slits, shattered and bloody.

They create momentous occasions to indulge in their habit, from the ol’ “Dude, it’s 4:20!” to “Hurry up and pack a bowl, South Park is on!” to the pre-workout ritual, which is something I’ll never understand.

“It totally motivates me,” they’ll explain, as if that makes any sense whatsoever. Of course there’s always the “Hooray, we made it to the top of the mountain, let’s spark one,” because lord knows that at least your lungs won’t be burning half as bad on the way down.

My stoner friends always try to convince me that all of a sudden I will love smoking weed as much as they do, even though every time I do a bong hit I either black out, pass out or freak out. Of course there’s always the occasional laughing fit, which is fun until I begin to wonder why I’m the only one laughing, which then throws me back into the paranoid cycle.

They tell me they’ll pack me a “baby hit” but are then suddenly offended when I don’t “finish the bowl” and smoke every little bit of what they’ve packed, as if we’re Indians sharing a goddamned peace pipe.

If all goes well, I simply settle into a daze, sit with my mouth hanging open and say nothing for about a half-hour until we decide to order Chinese take-out. It’s like, are we having fun yet?

When I do panic, my stoner friends will inevitably tell me “you just have to get used to it,” like doing this illegal drug is something I really have to work hard at. Let me just squeeze that into my schedule between hiking Smuggler and going to my Web design class at CMC, just so I can keep my priorities straight!

Whether you smoke pot or not, you are bound to end up getting “hot boxed” in the “ganjala” by some unabashed stoner who decides to close all the windows during that 15-minute ride up Ajax for maximum inhalation effect. A “contact high” does not do justice to qualify this experience.

I am not trying to be a snob when I say that people in Aspen really are at a much higher level than most. Now that is something to be proud of.

The Princess is not afraid to admit that she does indeed inhale. E-mail her your funniest stoner stories to alison@berkleymedia.com

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