The Unexpected Pleasure Of Getting High To Clean My House.

Don’t judge, we’re in a pandemic.

I’m not a big pot smoker, or “weed” as the kids call it these days. I smoked a lot in college, but in the thirty years since, I’ve gotten high just a handful of times. But now it’s a pandemic and so, well, yeah, you know.

Thanks to COVID, my 21-year-old daughter and her large shedding puppy moved back home. Bandit is part Labrador Retriever, part Great Pyrenees. The internet tells me that mix “sheds a lot.”

Cool. I hate shedding dogs. That’s why I’ve only had poodles. But I love my daughter more than I hate shedding, so here we are. There’s dog hair everywhere. The floor, the sofas, our clothes. A lone white hair made my phone screen its home.

Besides my daughter and Bandit, under my roof is my son home from college, my husband working from the garage, me furloughed from my side-gig, and two poodles wondering what the fuck is going on and why there is so much dog hair everywhere.

Recently I bought a new vacuum to keep up with the dirt of too many humans and the hair of one too many dogs. It’s one of those fancy lightweight cordless ones marketed to women just like me. It’s lightweight! Easy to carry! Look at all those attachments!

When I say ‘marketed to women just like me’, I mean a middle-aged woman whose muscle mass is diminishing along with her estrogen and who a pandemic thrust into a June Cleaver homemaking fever dream.

All this to say, I keep a joint in a dresser drawer. Every now and again I take a hit and remember why I used to smoke a lot. I’m relaxed and for just a few hours, I forget about all the terrible things going on.

So one day while vacuuming my bedroom, marveling at how this appliance lived up to expectations, I thought, you know, this would probably be better if I was high. Fuck it, I’ve got nowhere to go and 2,000 square feet of dog hair to expunge, why not?

I lit up the joint, took two hits, put in earbuds, and put on my Spotify “Totally Stress Free” playlist.

Wow. What the fuck is wrong with me? Why didn’t I do this sooner? It felt NICE. It was FUN. The most fun I’ve had in seven months! The sharp edges of menopause and COVID and an election that can’t get here soon enough melted away as easily as spider webs suctioned from ceiling corners. Be gone, dust bunnies! See you later shedding! Hasta la vista jaw grinding-tension headache!

For just a while, everything was okay. Better than okay. I was present and focused and relaxed and didn’t give a shit about anything. For just a while, I was on vacation.

Self-care has never been more important -and harder to maintain- than right now. Gym rats can’t go to the gym, social butterflies can’t fly, children are home and Zooming and crying and most of us are not sleeping and wow do we need a collective vacation. A universal week on the beach with cocktails and room service and clean sheets and someone else cooking and cleaning and worrying.

In between checking my unemployment benefits, my dwindling bank account, accruing bills and Twitter, I see my friends and family — virtually or outdoors from a distance. I take long walks and hikes by the beach, I inhale beauty and negative ions and rest in awe of mother nature. I drink some wine and cook good food and remember to stay in gratitude even when I’m drowning in fear.

But these are crazy days and trying to stay calm and steady, grateful and hopeful is a full-time job. Calgon is not coming to take us away. But on a random Wednesday, sativa did just that. For those few hours, marijuana induced euphoric vacuuming was the escape I needed.

I haven’t gotten high since then because like a fantastic vacation, its effects linger and help keep the tank full. But when life empties the tank again, and it will, I’ll be scrubbing toilets, completely stoned, having the time of my life.

I got my first TV writing job at 48, took 26 years to find my birth family. It’s never too late, you’re never too old. Keep going.

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