Stop reading right now if you are expecting salacious details of smoking, toking, vaping, baking, high times, or Alice B. Toklas. Stick around if you want recipes, book recommendations, and a fish out of water story.
One Sunday morning in early July, I went running in the woods to counteract the effects of my breakfast —a very rich and delicious Yotam Ottolenghi recipe for grilled banana bread with honey and tahini —and to blow off steam because I was mad at my family. I’ve had many delightful runs in the park I chose. It’s hilly and restorative and you are treated to a spectacular view of Puget Sound. Initially crabby because my chosen playlist wasn’t working, I had just settled into a groove and was enjoying the music my iPhone had chosen for me when I rolled my ankle and fell. When I tried to get up, it became clear that something was very wrong. The good news is that after they rescued me, my family felt sorry for me and we weren’t fighting anymore.
I had badly sprained my ankle and, a few days later, learned that I also had an avulsion fracture, which is when a piece of the bone breaks off, along with the torn ligament.
What followed was many weeks of crutches, boot, and ankle braces, hours spent elevating and icing my ankle,
and a lot of time in my lair, indulging in Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians trilogy.
I was diligent about regular YouTube “hurt foot workouts” (thank you, Caroline Jordan).
I managed to get in some stand-up (and sit-down) paddle boarding.
But I was desperate to get back to boot camp.
After a few months, I was cleared to start physical therapy. It’s been a few weeks and my progress is slow. My ankle is still swollen and now, so is my Achilles. This week, I decided I needed something more.
In yet another manifestation of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, in one week, four people told me to try CBD ointment, a product derived from cannabis that is gaining popularity as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, though apparently there is no science to back up its efficacy. I’d first learned about it from my 78-year-old mother-in-law. Now three middle-aged female friends, including a doctor, were recommending I check it out. When I brought it up at the physical therapist’s, the tattooed young guy on the table next to me gave it a ringing endorsement too, so I did some research and decided to give it a try.
Marijuana is legal here in Washington and pot shops are becoming as prevalent as coffee shops. Though weed is not currently part of my lifestyle, my peers are increasingly casually slipping it into conversation the way they used to talk about margaritas, as a reward for dealing with the harsh responsibilities of life, instead of something that’s just plain pleasurable. I find it interesting to consider the adult relationship to “naughtiness,” whether it’s Hilary Clinton admitting that she’s been getting through the post-election period with her “fair share of Chardonnay,” or the countless mother’s little helper memes about wine and chocolate. Somehow, I don’t think they talk about intoxicants this way in France.
When the first legal marijuana shop opened in Seattle a few years ago, my brother and I stopped by on the way to take him to the airport. Like Disneyland, the line snaked around and around and there was no way we could check it out without him missing his flight. We chatted with one of the employees, who told us that the clientele was mostly affluent and middle-aged and, as if to confirm that, someone came up to ask what edibles were available. “Just pita chips today, ” said the affable employee. A friend recently told me about her favorite edible — hand-crafted orange dark chocolate paired with a small crop strain of weed designed to tastily take the edge off.
It was easy to find a pot shop on my way to afternoon school pick-up, but once in, I was disappointed that it looked like a seedy head shop, instead of the high-end emporium I was anticipating. There happened to be a one-day sale going on — 20 percent off everything in the store.
I was waited on by Johnny (not his real name) a friendly young stoner who tried his best to explain the difference between all of the different CBD products, while his bro-colleagues weighed in like a Greek chorus. I’m sure Johnny thought it was funny that he was waiting on someone of his mom’s vintage, so he tried to breach the gap by telling me he liked my earrings. I was instantly transported back to my brief stint as a hall monitor at Daughter #1’s large and scary public middle school. On my first day, I was sent over to break up a group of loitering seventh-graders, who were all much bigger than me. As they surrounded me, I feared for my safety.
Then, the leader of the pack looked down at me and spoke. “I like your earrings,” he said.
I made my selection and Johnny told me that James (not his real name) would ring me up while he went off to help another customer. But James was occupied with a young woman who was so excited by the 20 percent discount that she was laboriously considering all of her edible options. I interrupted her questions about chewing gum to ask if someone could ring me up. James rolled his eyes. I rolled my eyes. Some people are in a hurry, he said conspiratorially to chewing gum girl. Some people have places to be, I said, not mentioning that I was driving a carpool. I stopped myself from momishly lecturing James and his colleagues about politeness and efficient business practices and thanked him and chewing gum girl, who was magnaminous about ceding her time with James.
There’s not much more to tell. I applied the cream and maybe it’s helping or maybe it’s a placebo. I thought it would be fun to text Daughter #1 about my trip to the cannabis store (Jeff and I use funny things that happen as an excuse to text D#1 at college. She doesn’t know that, in a running competition, we compare notes to see who had the most contact. I figured this would put me in first place, at least that day, and it did.) and she was amused. I texted D#2 that I was running late to pick her up from school because I was at a pot shop. She was characteristically unfazed.
I’m resigned to the fact that I’m in a phase of life in which having the munchies means eating roasted vegetables,
and an all-nighter means lying awake with insomnia. If that happens to you, I highly recommend Alyssa Mastromonaco’s hilarious memoir of working for the Obama Administration. You have her to thank for the tampon dispenser in the West Wing. (The book was $2 on Kindle a few days ago).
Committed to our Year of Saying Yes, fermenting is on the agenda this winter. I’ve noticed a interesting cross-over between my CBD friend demographic and the fermenter crowd. One of them took me all over Seattle’s International District in search of a fermenting jar and another told me about curtido.
Here’s to bridging generations!
Thank you for this essay – I was wonderfully entertained!
“…having the munchies means eating roasted vegetables, and an all-nighter means lying awake with insomnia.” Haha, absolutely to the point and I must remember this quote!
I just started Mastromonaco’s memoir 2 days ago.
Thanks so much!
Quite amusing! All, except for the ankle part. I winced. Sure hope it’s better.
Alison, I am so sorry to hear about your break! I hope you aren’t down for too much longer.