Atlanta is for stoners

Only just catching up on Atlanta, and just finished watching “Value,” episode 6 of the FX series, which is, at its core, a show for potheads.

There’s a lot of weed. But also bigger themes and trippy characters, and each episode seems to have one character that doesn’t quite belong. The pothead in me thinks they’re all connected somehow. #theory

The main plot revolves around two cousins: a rapper, Paper Boi, and Earn, who is the kind of man that can piss a woman off. He pissed me off when his dumb ass wound up in jail and his baby mama Vanessa had to bail him out in the second episode. He’s an entitled partner, a lazy father, and she can do better.

Vanessa doesn’t get much airtime through the series, though she dominated the sixth episode, in which she and a frenemy break the tension of their awkward dinner by smoking a joint afterwards in the parking lot. They laugh, geek out, and the following morning, Van wakes up to a “drug test” reminder on her phone.

Then, Van does some Walter White shit, right down to the blue gloves and mask she wears as she extrapolates urine from her daughter’s dirty diapers, boiling the liquid and then straining it into a condom that she ties and tapes to her leg. All that brilliance, and she forgets to put some scissors in her purse. The condom breaks on her face as she attempts to untie the knot with her teeth. I imagine she must reek as she walks into the principal’s office to explain why she hasn’t turned in her sample.

“I smoked weed,” she says, and then learns the district is too underfunded to actually test the samples.

“Listen, everybody smokes weed,” the principal tells her. “The system isn’t made for these kids to succeed, and you got to shake it off somehow. I get it. But unfortunately, you have admitted the use of an illegal substance to a superior, so I’ve got to fire you—to cover my own ass, as well as the school’s. You understand.”

It’s fucked up, and the episode itself says a lot about marijuana, gender, race, class, education, economy, policy, and more.

If there’s one thing I want to do more with this blog, it’s actual journalism.

Black Lives Matter, and the fact that black people are almost four-times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana is an injustice with devastating consequence.

My college roommate freshman year was a friend from high school whose boyfriend went to an HBCU (Historically Black College or University) in Maryland. She’d drive down to pick him up most weekends, and I’d sometimes come along for the ride. Without fail, usually on the trip back, when he was in the driver’s seat, the lights would flash behind us.

Seatbelts were on. Turn signals were used. Speed limits were followed. So what the fuck was that all about, I asked the first time we got pulled over for a “routine stop.” By the fifth time, I didn’t need to ask.

My sophomore year in college, I went on a double date with a different friend. A white girl whose boyfriend’s best friend, my date, was the son of a local police officer. We were parked in a Wawa parking lot, and as he was rolling a blunt, we heard a tap-tap on the window.

My date casually dropped the weed near the officer’s feet and said, “We were just leaving.”

“Be safe,” the cop warned, and we drove off.

 

I’ll always take a back seat to weed

I want a husband who wants me.

On a cerebral level, I know Mr. D does. But emotionally, physically… that’s where I’m starved. Potheads don’t have passion.

They’re kind and warm and funny, and make life a comfortable ride—you can be happy going nowhere, doing nothing, finding the joy in the monotony—and then all of a sudden feel broken and bereft.

Mimi and Sarge are probably the couple I most admire, possibly even more than my own parents, and my parents make a 35-year marriage look effortless. Mimi and Sarge have something special, too. They found forever in their second marriage, a blended Brady Bunch family of the 90s, whose kids all turned out perfect (doctor, teacher, accountant, soldier), and who still, decades later, seem to have the fire.

Mr. D and I saw them earlier this month at a wedding, and I asked them the secret to a long and happy marriage. “Compromise,” Mimi said. “And good sex.” I asked Sarge. He said alcohol. The nailed it.

I love weed, and I doubt Mr. D and I would be together if I didn’t. I’ve come to believe drug compatibility is essential for any adult relationship (and I define drugs in the broadest of senses–starting with Marx’s “opium of the people” quote).

But Mr. D loves weed more than me. He’s always loved drugs more than me. I don’t know why he doesn’t understand how much that fucking hurts.

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I would love to walk on the moon

BJ Novak and I share the same favorite story from his debut novel, One More Thing.

For a while, I could quote it from memory, mostly because I’d read it to everyone. Or I’d shove the book in their face and say, “Read this! You have to! It’s only three pages, and it contains the most gorgeous prose I’ve ever read in my life.” I read it to my parents. To Mr. D. I would read it to Big A at night, and when she once announced her dreams of becoming an astronaut, I beamed like the light from a thousands moons.

When I met BJ Novak at a book signing last fall, I asked him to sign my favorite story from the collection, and he said it might just be his favorite one, too.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” I replied, pointing to the very subtle reference from the very last story of the book.

“I don’t think anyone has ever noticed that,” he said.

I’ve replayed our entire exchange many, many times since then, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I would only do two things differently were I able to travel back in time: I would have ordered another Book with No Pictures for him to sign (the ones at the event were too expensive, and my dog, in the late stages of bone cancer, had vomited all over our original copy), and I would have asked him to sign our favorite story as JC Audetat, a private joke all of our own.

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Mr. D knows I love BJ Novak. He even said, “I hope you get an interview” when I went to see his show. (I didn’t, though we did have that brief moment in the book sign line). I like to think of myself as the Mindy Kaling to Mr. D’s BJ Novak, the effervescent Indian counterpart to a supremely brilliant and hilarious White guy, but that may be where the similarities end. As much as I would love to see them get back together (they’d have the sweetest, funniest daughters!), I don’t know if BJ Novak feels like I do about love.

I’m judging this solely from his short story collection, of course, and more specifically, from the narrator’s second fantasy in “Sophia,” in which a woman’s head rests on a man’s shoulder as they look out into the world and see the same thing. I loaned my copy of One More Thing to my Weed Husband a few months back, so this is a tough theory to fact check at this very moment, but I’m pretty sure most of Novak’s love stories are connected by an underlying thread of shared experiences and, more so, shared outlooks: the couple who outraced the rain, the man with “a good problem to have,” the family who attended the world’s biggest rip-off. Even the most beautiful girl in the bookstore. Especially the most beautiful girl in the bookstore.

It’s a two-page story about a girl who loves a bookstore that sells books and and also sells things. Her boyfriend doesn’t quite understand her love for it, and they disagree on whether the books should be organized by color (they should not), or whether the store would be better with a photo booth (it absolutely would), and in the end, they break up because she could never shake the feeling that she was always his favorite thing in the bookstore.

The hopeless romantic in me hates this story. Like, what the hell, BJ Novak? Why did they have to break up? In the wise words of Carrie Bradshaw, “If you find someone to love the you that you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” Who cares if he didn’t love the bookstore? He loved her.

Or maybe that’s just what I’m telling myself now, at 12:46am, on the night of the Hunter’s Moon.

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Thank you, Spiderman

A few weeks back, I  blogged about my Sunday with Pickle and Spiderman, and how Spiderman had sent me home with some very thoughtful presents: homemade herbal ointments and a nice bud of weed.

“It was the sweetest gift of all time,” I wrote. “Until two days later.”

That’s when I received his email.

Spiderman had read my blog in its entirety. Something nobody has really done. Not my close friends. Not my parents. Mr. D reads each post, but even his expertise in IT business analysis hasn’t translated to Google Analytics for my site. And as a pothead with killer business acumen, he hasn’t looked into cultivating potential ad revenue. (But I’m not mad. I am anxiously looking forward to fasting for your health and well-being this Wednesday, Oct. 19, on the fourth day of the waning moon. You are the great love of my life, and I hope our love may be forever blessed by the heavens above. By the sun, the stars, and the moon.)

The moon is crucial. Spiderman knows. In an email entitled, “Here goes haha,” this is what he wrote:

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Subversive

I took a few days off from work to focus on my blog. To buckle down and write some of the essays that have been bouncing around my brain. Instead, I’ve been lounging in pajamas, smoking weed, obsessing about work and dealing with overpriced plumbing and car repairs. Not quite as productive or relaxing as I’d hoped.

A few weeks back, we had an office staff retreat at the Hilton. Enrique was on the planning committee and helped organize a workshop on writing. I skipped it and took the leadership training instead, but those who attended the communications class all agreed: It was alright, but Enrique should have just taught it himself.

“Why didn’t you?” I asked.

He scoffed. “I’d be too subversive.”

“What does that mean?”

“You don’t know? You’re subversive,” he said. “Someone who doesn’t follow the rules. Who does things their own way and dismantles the system from within.”

“Oh my God,” I squealed. “Really?? Wow!! Thank you!!”

I was beaming. Enrique laughed. “I can just see you telling Mr. D, ‘Hey, guess what! I’m subversive!'” (Which is exactly what I said when I came home that night.)

I can’t think of a better compliment.

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America and the bathroom counters

Earlier this year, I was crossing Main Street when a truck full of assholes rolled down their window and loudly told the Asian women in front of me to “go back to China.”

It reminded me of an experience my father once related. A chief engineer who had sailed the world over, he had come to America in 1988 to earn a master’s in marine policy, and he remained in this country to offer a better life for his family, for me. It was around the height of the first Gulf War when his car idled at a red light and another driver pulled beside to yell, “Go home, you sand nigger.”

“This is America?” my father thought, and as I walked across Main Street this beautiful spring day, I thought the same. America is a racist. If America were a person, that’s who he would be.

I also see America as the smartest girl in high school who is now in college, where the landscape is bigger and the competition more formidable.  America is lazy. Entitled, too.

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Hometown chronicles

There’s a lot to hate about my hometown: it’s dirty and small and everyone seems to get cancer by 50. That’s actually the number one reason Mr. D and I fantasize about moving to Colorado. We’re in search of greener pastures, and not just the ones with red hairs and trichomes. In fact, I applied for a job in Denver this past summer. The position itself was a logical next step in my resume, and I can’t imagine the other candidates had cover letters or references remotely close to mine. But I didn’t get it. Didn’t even get a rejection letter, despite my follow up email months later to HR. So fuck that place.

But I digress. I applied at the height of my heartache, back when I was the mouth of a veritable river of professional bullshit. I was looking for a way out, and I guess that was the real reason. We flew to Colorado soon after I applied, on an overpriced, impromptu trip planned by Mr. D that turned out to be the highlight of our summer. The girls scaled boulders and hiked the Rockies and at one point, we bypassed the easy, serpentine trail around the mountain to instead carve our own route to the top, shooting up the middle like a dollar sign.

I was feeling the weed edible by then, so this wasn’t just a fun walk in the [Estes] park. It was a symbol of entrepreneurship and hard work and resilience and risk. It was about stepping off the beaten path to carve the life you want.

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