Pot smokers are incredibly inventive, and here’s why

Chris Crouch

This week I went to visit my friend Fran. When I was a high school junior, she was on an exchange program from Italy and spent a year at my school.

Now, she’s at the University of East London. I haven’t seen her since she left that summer. I was interested to see what she was up to and all that. We set up a time and place to meet over the phone, namely Wednesday morning at the East Ham subway station.

The morning of the trip, I decided I really didn’t feel like sitting on a bus for four hours, so I walked to the train station. After taking the train to Bath last week, I convinced myself that the extra money wasn’t all that much and it was worth the time I saved and the more comfortable surroundings.

I went up to the ticket counter, told the man I needed a return ticket to Paddington Station and gave him my credit card. He gave me my tickets and card, and I went to the station’s shop to grab some reading material. It wasn’t until I had paid for my magazine that I looked at my receipt from the tickets, “price: œ93.”

I dropped my change all over the floor. œ93 is more than $150. Going by coach only costs œ22. Obviously, there are better ways to go about getting a train ticket. In the future I’ll do a little bit of planning. I should have known better, but it was 4 in the morning when I made the decision to go by train, and it was too late to do anything about it. I vowed to be extra comfortable and take up several seats to get my money’s worth.

I got to Paddington at around 10 and headed for the tube station.

The ride should have lasted about 45 minutes. Fair enough; I’d just hop on a train, and away I’d go. I had been to London twice before and by this time considered myself proficient enough to make my way through the Underground without any help. That’s just when things started to go awry.

The first train I got on terminated at the very next station. I got on another one and was informed by the lady on the overhead speaker that it, too, would be terminating at the very next stop. Nice. As we approached the platform I saw a train of the appropriate color loading passengers. As soon as our train stopped, I dashed into the other one — nearly having my backpack trapped in the closing doors. We started to accelerate in the wrong direction. So much for knowing what I was doing. I had just started to believe all the gushing everyone had done while I was home for Christmas. “World traveler,” they said. “A cultured cosmopolitan.”

All that was gone, and I was just an American tourist, hopelessly lost on the London Underground like so many camera-toting, Bermuda shorts-wearing brethren before me. I got off at the next stop and walked to where they handed out the tourist maps. I regained my bearings and set a course. This was going to be an adventure.

I descended back into the departure platforms. Two business men behind me were talking about going to East Ham. I folded my map, stuck it in my pocket and followed them. Adventure be damned.

Fran and I met at East Ham station.

“How was your trip? You didn’t have any trouble getting here did you?” she asked after our hellos.

“Nope. Smooth sailing.”

We gossiped about people we knew and I got a tour of the campus. It was kind of like a one-and-a-half year class reunion where only two people show up. We went to the campus bar where she works and met some people there. She had a pint; I had a Pepsi. That evening I met her roommates and her boyfriend and an East London drug dealer named Smiley.

Some of Fran’s roommates decided they needed some pot and so called him up. I guess last week he brought his dog in the house with him, and it pooped and urinated all over the place.

How do you tell your landlord that the reason his house smells like a kennel isn’t because you’re running a pound, but because your dealer’s bulldog got loose and soiled all the carpeting?

This time there was no dog, just Smiley and a bag full of goodies. I’m not sure what all he had and didn’t want to be too nosey. Besides, it wasn’t like I was interested in making a purchase. While I think the war on drugs is a waste of time and money, I think that using drugs is a similar waste of time and money. But I had just wasted about $100 that morning, so who am I to talk?

The inventiveness of pot smokers never ceases to amaze me. What they can do with an empty pop bottle, some tin foil and a bucket of water is pretty impressive. They asked me if I wanted to have a go, but I declined.

We all sat around the house, talked about America and had a good laugh. It was a worthwhile trip.

When I left the next morning, Fran said she’d see about visiting Exeter this spring. I boarded my train, took up three seats with my coat and bag and watched the countryside pass. Boy, did I smell like pot.

Chris Crouch is a sophomore in political science from Rapid City, Ill.