(Warning from author Molly D. Campbell: This post contains references to marijuana, which is legal in California, where this post takes place. If you do not want to think that I am a degenerate, desperate woman, do not read this post.)
If you know me at all, you know that I don’t sleep well. This is only a good thing when I am writing a book, which I am not doing at the moment.
Incidentally, my next novel, The World Came to Us, releases October 22, 2019. I am thrilled.
I take Lunesta, which helps some. But every single night, I watch my husband put his head on the pillow and instantly fall asleep. I continue watching him and resenting him for at least an hour, fuming in the darkness at his immobile shadow beside me, listening to his steady breathing and occasional snore.
I have tried all the remedies. Meditation. Those podcasts that promise to drone you to sleep. Benadryl (that works until it doesn’t). Melatonin, which made me feel weird. On and on.
So as I prepared to go visit my grandkids in LA, it occurred to me: marijuana. It’s legal there. According to my daughter, there is a dispensary on every street corner — right next to the Starbucks. She also told me that the people who go into these places are not strung-out weirdos, but regular people just like me. She says people take their dogs in with them, for heaven’s sakes.
So I Googled, and there it was: “CBD oil infused with THC (the actual part of marijuana that gets you “high”) can calm you down and help you sleep. And the marijuana component is very low, so you don’t “tune in, turn on, and drop out.” You just get mellow a little bit and fall asleep.
I was convinced. I wanted to try it.
However, I couldn’t tell my daughter (the one who actually lives in LA — she would not be comfortable with a toker for a mother (I did not plan to smoke, though)). The recommending daughter lives in Dayton and is more tolerant.
So. On the day, I asked my LA friend, (we’ll just call her Lisa, because that is her name) to take me to a “good” dispensary. Sidebar: Lisa is a 20-year sober alcoholic and drug user. The logic of asking this woman to determine a quality dispensary must have escaped me at the time.
Lisa Googled. We were on our way.
Marijuana dispensaries look like dental waiting rooms. Only they are decorated with fairy lights, massive sculptures of trees, and they have astroturf carpeting. But they also have that little window with the sliding glass door with a receptionist behind it. Note: my dental receptionist has frosted hair and wears glasses on a chain around her neck. This receptionist had jet-black hair, kohl around her eyes, a pierced eyebrow, and blood red lipstick.
The receptionist asked my friend and me if we had been there before. I politely replied, “Just LOOK at me.” She smiled. “I take that as a no.”
Things began going south when she asked me for my ID. “In order to go back into the actual dispensary, we need a picture ID. Or a passport.”
I had brought with me in my tiny purse five Kleenexes, a tube of lip balm and a Visa card.
“I am sorry, then. You must have an ID to purchase.” My heart sank. This was my only chance to try CBD oil laced with THC. My only chance. If I didn’t get something that day, I would have to return to Ohio wide awake.
I had a brilliant idea! I didn’t even turn to Lisa for confirmation! I just said to the by-now completely exasperated receptionist, “What if Lisa has ID? Can she go back and buy it for me?”
Lisa, being the true-blue “She’s not heavy, she’s my dear friend” woman that she is, didn’t even blink. Despite the fact, that as I mentioned above, SHE HAS BEEN CLEAN AND SOBER FOR 20 YEARS. Lisa said, brightly, “Yes, I have my ID and a charge card. I will go back and *caps are for emphasis* BUY DRUGS FOR MOLLY.
They sent out a consultant to talk with me about my issues. By the way, this woman, who admitted that she is an expert on pot and takes it every day, looked like a young, nerdy librarian. She had bifocals, a low pony tail, crooked teeth, and a very sincere gaze.
The consultant told me that she would advise a particular drop (I got a bit hysterical when she asked me if I wanted to smoke anything) that I would squirt under my tongue at bedtime.
Did I mention that every time the door opened to the dispensary in “the back,” it was operated by a man in a uniform wearing at his hip a huge GUN? Yes. A GUN.
I waited patiently in the waiting room, counting the butterflies painted on the wall, watching the other customers, all brandishing their IDs, come in. My Ohio daughter was right. They looked regular. Like the sort one might encounter at CVS. A lady with white hair, black leggings and a silver Eddie Bauer vest. A man with bifocals who parked his scooter outside. A young couple who looked straight out of HGTV; they had probably been looking at houses with granite countertops and an “open concept” just a few hours before. I felt inconspicuous, thank you.
As I waited, I did muse on the following:
• How did I manage to forget that my Ohio daughter stressed the importance of having an ID with me?
• How on earth could I be so presumptuous as to think that a recovered alcoholic would be fine with buying drugs?
• Lisa is the most stellar friend ever.
• I came all this way to buy drugs, and I didn’t even get to go IN.
• I am an idiot.
It was a success. The man with the gun let Lisa out, and she handed me the bag of “product.” As we left, more customers entered: a man who looked like a retired CPA, a woman carrying a laptop and a coffee, her blonde hair caught up in a chopstick, and a person who was probably the romantic lead in some network show that I have never watched.
The drops work. Sort of. They make me feel a little weird, they taste like gasoline, they make me cough, and I have strange, threatening dreams. Yes, I sleep, but it isn’t the blissful dreamland that I had hoped for.
Lisa, if you are reading this, you are off the hook. No more drops for me. However, I have always wondered about what it’s like to go to a strip club. Next time?
— Molly D. Campbell
Molly Campbell is a two-time Erma Bombeck Writing Competition winner and author of Characters in Search of a Novel, Keep the Ends Loose and Crossing the Street. Her fourth book, The World Came to Us, will be released in October 2019.