Dave's Mental Meanderings
2004-01-03 09:09:15 (UTC)

Off to a Good Start

If today is any indication on how the rest of the year
will unfold, then I’ll be happier than a puppy with 2
penises. Today was just one of those days. It was truly
an outstanding day. As Bill S. Preston Esquire and his
esteemed colleague Ted Theodore Logan would say, it has
been a most triumphant day. They would then proceed to
play their respective air guitars, magically emitting a
sound not unlike that of Eddie Van Halen wailing on his
custom guitar.

I went to work about an hour and a half late today. It’s
Friday, the day after New Year’s Day (a paid holiday), so
I knew nobody would be there. I’ve only seen the DuPont
plant that deserted a few other times in my 4 semester as
a co-op student there. And most of those few other times
have been this week. So, much like Monday through
Wednesday, I showed up late, took a late lunch, and didn’t
come back. The majority of the day was spent reaping the
benefits of what I like to call the “DuPont back-to-school
sale.” In other words, “steal all of the office supplies
you possibly can.” The most exciting of my spoils is a
gas mask, formerly used in conjunction with an air tank.
It’s a transparent full-face shield that straps on over
your head and has a hose attached near the mouth. I had
plans for creating a pot-smoking device the likes of which
my buddies and I had never seen. More about that later.

I left work around 1:30 and decided to eat lunch at
Firebird’s Grille and Bar in the new shopping mall. I
wanted to check the Sam Goody there for the Eric Clapton
album “Backless”, since no other music retailer in the
city seems to have a copy. No dice on the CD, it turned
out, but it was worth the trip to eat at Firebird’s. Keep
in mind, the new Short Pump Crossing mall is an atrocious
pillar of gaudy upper-middle-class consumerism. It
represents everything that I hate about the West End of
Richmond’s suburbs. But as if the hot chicks weren’t
enough to make up for my bitterness toward the general
clientele of that mall, eating at Firebird’s sure is. The
French dip sandwich was excellent, as was the draft beer
selection. I had 2 pints of Legend Lager, most of which
went down on an empty stomach. I caught a nice buzz,
smoked some cigarettes, and checked out the 3 hot bar
waitresses. I will say this in defense of the new mall:
it’s the only mall around where you can sit at a bar, get
drunk, eat a sandwich, and smoke to your heart’s content.

After leaving the mall, I drove to Starbuck’s to get some
coffee, sit outside (the pitiful excuse for a smoking
section, that is… it’s fucking January, put a smoking
section inside goddamnit, who’s ever heard of a coffee
shop where you can’t smoke inside?), and finish reading
Empire Falls by Richard Russo. I had about 50 pages to
go. I had begun to get really interesting around page
300, whereas before that everything seemed to be building
up to the point that the author could never resolve
everything. But he did, and masterfully so. I couldn’t
agree more with the Pulitzer Prize committee’s decision to
honor this book with their coveted fiction prize. And, as
if finishing a great book over a cup of coffee and smoke
cigarettes wasn’t enough, dig what happened next. When I
was a few pages from the end of the book, I casually
looked up to light a cigarette, and noticed that the sky
was completely clear. Not half an hour ago it had been
gray nearly as far as the eye could see in any direction,
as it had been since I left the house at 9:00 in the
morning. But sure as white folks watch “Wings”, the sky
was clear with a few scattered clouds off in the distance,
making it look even more serene. The direction I was
facing happened to be just right to get a great view of
the subtle pink hue to the sky as the sun began its final
descent. Once I had finished the book, I relaxed and
smoked a couple more while digging the sky.

I chilled at home for a few hours and decided to get
started on transforming a simple gas mask into a portable
hot-box machine. I ended up attaching the bottom end of
an empty vitamin bottle to the end of the gas mask hose.
I had cut a hole in the bottom of the bottle so air could
pass freely through it from the atmosphere into the gas
mask. I then but a small hole in the screw-on lid of the
bottle, into which I put a 2-inch section of clear plastic
tubing. The tubing I used is the perfect size to
accommodate the glass bowl piece I use for several other
bongs. After the construction phase was complete, I
decided to get high with my glass bong (as per my standard
nightly ritual) and let the epoxy on my new project dry.

After getting blazed and dancing in my room while digging
on some tunes like only a true stoner can, I called Rob
and arranged to meet him at 11:30. It was 10:00 by this
point. I left the house and drove around for about 45
minutes listening to a couple different Tom Petty CD’s. I
dropped by Barnes & Noble to see if they had improved
their Clapton selection since my last visit, but was
disappointed. However, I also checked for 2 other of his
albums from the 70’s, “Slow Hand” and “461 Ocean
Boulevard.” I’ve heard they’re 2 of his best. They had
both in stock, and I decided to pick up a copy of the
latter, which I listened to in its entirety as I cruised
around killing time before meeting up with Rob. After the
CD was done, I was a few minutes away from the Kroger
parking lot where we had decided to meet up, so I put on
the radio. It was on 96.9, one of the 2 classic rock
stations that I can pick up in this area (I really am
blessed in that respect… who else can boast clear
reception of 2 classic rock stations, a mere 0.4 MHz apart
from each other on the FM dial, in a suburb of a
relatively small city), and I couldn’t believe my ears
when I heard the song that had just started. It was “Lay
Down Sally”, by none other than Eric Clapton. In fact,
that’s a track on the album “Slow Hand”, the one that I
decided not to buy. Not to mention that’s one of my
favorite Clapton songs. At that moment, it seemed like
Fate was talking directly to me. But I was still pretty
stoned, so I couldn’t tell what the fuck it was trying to
say. Rather than dwell on the subject, I proceeded to the
Kroger parking lot, from which Rob and I departed for the
pool hall in my car.

We ended up shooting pool for about an hour and a half and
splitting a pitcher of Legend Brown. Let me tell you a
little something about Legend beer. Their brown ale is,
quite possibly, my favorite beer. And that is not a title
to be taken lightly. I’ve tried many, many different
types of beer. Some skeptics might accuse me of drinking
too much beer, but I say there’s no such thing.
Especially when we’re talking about Legend. It’s brewed
right here in Richmond, and there are half a dozen or more
varieties. A lot of places around here have the brown ale
on tap, and a few also have the Lager. On an interesting
side note, Firebird’s is the only place I know of that has
the lager and not the brown ale. Well, okay, it was a
completely uninteresting side note. Anyway, now that I’ve
finally won Rob over to Legend Brown, we always split at
least one pitcher of it when we shoot pool. Neither of us
was planning on getting too drunk there, as we had plans
to break in the newly renovated gas mask later on at my
place. So we played 5 or 6 games (both of us did very
well, especially considering the fact that it’s been
almost a week since I’ve played and longer for Rob), kept
the beer consumption to a single pitcher, and cruised on
over to my place around 1:30.

The gas mask was a big success. We took some hilarious
pictures of each other engaged in different stages of
taking a hit with it. Rob filmed a great video of me
hitting it as well. It shows the lighter spark the bowl,
then the whole mask clouds up instantly when I unscrew the
lid to the vitamin bottle and draw air in. A few breaths
quickly dispense with the built-up smoke, after which I
give a lazy thumbs-up and lean back in my chair to enjoy
levels of relaxation that could kill 10 non-stoners.

At about 3:30, I drove Rob back to his car at Kroger and
leisurely drove home while digging on some CCR. The
perfect end to a great day and an even better night. This
could indeed prove to be an interesting year.