A recent Saturday night at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, Ca. Handsome Hubby and I went to the famed venue for the first time to see Beck, a musician I have long admired and long wanted to see.
The concert was sold out, but a friend gave us her VIP tickets. What a generous treat. Cool, right? Totally cool.
Well, apparently Handsome Hubby (HH) and I are not cool, at least we’re not Berkeley cool.
It was a rock concert. So, yes, we should have known. It’s Berkeley. So, yes, we really should have known. But we just weren’t prepared for the magnitude of it all. It was overwhelming. A veritable cloud of pot smoke and fumes. No, make that a lung-choking, eye-burning conflagration of smoke and fumes.
We don’t smoke pot. We don’t even like the smell of pot. Yet, what other people do is their own business unless, of course, they’re doing it – literally – right under our noses.
From the moment we sat down, we were enveloped in clouds of ganja and surrounded by a sea of beer. The people to the left of us, people to the right of us, people behind us, and people in front of us lit up and got lit.
I was getting pretty fired up too but in a very different way.
I kept thinking about what would happen if I had taken out a cigarette and started smoking. It would have created (rightly) an absolute uproar.
People cannot smoke cigarettes indoors in most public places in America and, in many cities, there are limits as to how close smokers can stand outside buildings when puffing nicotine. I’m glad. I hate the smell of cigarettes and I hate the fact that cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. (DO NOT get me started on Big Tobacco.)
But returning to my more immediate pot olfactory problem, I wonder if – as more and more jurisdictions legalize marijuana – we’re going to need similar boundaries to curb second-hand high.
I mean, I hate to sound like Debbie Downer, but how about it, all you groovy, mellow people? How about some basic consideration? Getting high at a concert, even an outdoor one, is not an unalienable right.
A Contact High? No, More like Onset of a Migraine
We left the concert 40 minutes into Beck’s terrific set. We had to. I had a killer headache and HH was coughing like crazy.
As we exited (stage left), Beck was singing, “I’m a Loser.” It’s how I felt. The crowd’s collective high canceled out our musical high. We sure won’t be going back to the Greek anytime soon.
We got home. It was still early. The house was dark. The kids were out.
I quickly changed into “something more comfortable” which used to mean something sexy, but now just means sweatpants. I popped some pills. Like groovy, man. Well, actually I took two Excedrin.
My eyes were scratchy, so I grabbed the eye drops to soothe my beet-red peepers. Maybe the song for the evening should have been “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”? Cue the Platters. Now I really was starting to feel like a loser, an old loser.
The Old Folks’ Home
Handsome Hubby poured himself some brewski. OK. OK. I admit it. He had chamomile tea with honey and then started sucking serially on cough drops. We retired to the family room, I mean the “media room,” to watch TV.
We fell asleep before the 10 p.m. news started. Ah, yes. Another raucous, rockin’ night at the old age home, I mean happenin’ homestead.
The phone rang once – a reminder call for my upcoming knee surgery appointment. Could I feel any older?
The next line in that Beck song? “So, why don’t you kill me?” Oh, my! We’re definitely muddling through middle-age!