There is a time and a place for psychedelics; then there is what Alison did.
It was my fourth and final year living in Davis, a quaint, northern California college town. I was a senior and wrapping up my degree, which meant academics would take a backseat while I embraced the freedom offered by my last year of being allowed to genuinely not give a fuck.When it came to my romantic life, I was growing even more frustrated. I had come to the conclusion that none of the thousands of men residing in Davis were seemingly compatible with me; so I got on OkCupid and took to meeting up with guys in the big city: San Francisco.
San Francisco is close to a two-hour train ride from Davis. I found myself taking it often to meet with dudes I deemed more desirable because they spent their rent money on rare vinyl records, as opposed to new text books. I think I was mostly just looking for an excuse to get out of the small town I was once so in love with, but now found constricting and predictable.
Up until this point, I had only done shrooms once before, which was admittedly one of the best days of my life.
My SF exploits include briefly hooking up with an armpit fetishist, before eventually finding a boyfriend who lived in Oakland. However, somewhere between letting a man insert his dick into the damp crevice of my arm and finding what I thought was true love, I met *Skyler.
Skyler and I agreed to meet at Dolores Park in the Mission District on a Sunday afternoon. We planned to hang out for a few hours, then I would take the train back to Davis later that night.
We bought some alcohol, plopped down by a tree, and just talked for a while. After around 30 minutes, the conversation steered toward drugs, and which ones we had taken, as most first date conversations do. I told him about what I’ve dabbled with, and he shared with me that he had a deep affection for psilocybin mushrooms.
Skyler reached into his bag and revealed a satchel full of said mushrooms. I watched him casually pop some hearty caps and stems into his mouth, and then extend his bag toward me.
“You want some?”
Now, obviously, this is a pretty straight-forward question. There were really only two answers I could have gone with. I could have said no, which would have resulted in me not embarking on a psychedelic experience with a stranger I met on the Internet. However, I made the far wiser and much more mature decision. I said yes.
Up until this point, I had only done shrooms once before, which was admittedly one of the best days of my life. I suppose I thought that this new experience would be just like that, failing to take into account that my first trip was under much better and safer circumstances—set and setting, it turns out, are crucial in any psychedelic experience.
Cut to around 20 minutes after ingesting half an eighth of shrooms, and it was no longer a gorgeous and sunny day in San Francisco.
On the first occasion, I was surrounded by my closest friends. After eating the shrooms, we played Street Fighter in my apartment for six hours. For a significant portion of time, we just stared and laughed in an intoxicated ambivalence at each character, walking in place on the selection screen. (Hugo, in particular, is especially humorous under such conditions.)
This time, however, I was not playing Street Fighter while giggling on the pull-out bed of my couch. I was with some random dude in a city that I don’t live in.
It took some time for the mushrooms to kick in. Until they did, I was genuinely feeling this Skyler guy. Don’t get me wrong, even before he offered the shrooms, I knew he wasn’t “boyfriend material.” He wasn’t all that interesting, or funny, or ambitious. Like most men I find myself going on dates with, he tried a little too hard to peacock his intelligence by lecturing me on things he assumed I had no knowledge of.
At one point, he went on a long rant about “Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky.” After the lesson, he was visibly perturbed when I corrected him, pointing out that Jodorowsky was indeed Chilean.
Back then we didn’t have the word for it, but now I can safely say that he was the quintessential fuckboy. Nice and attractive, with a skateboard by his side and an undeserved sense of self importance.
Cut to around 20 minutes after ingesting half an eighth of psilocybin mushrooms, and it was no longer a gorgeous Sunday in San Francisco. The sun took refuge behind dark clouds while the filth and decay of the city crept in on me from all angles. Everywhere I looked, I saw danger. I absorbed Skyler’s facial expression. He seemed to act no different. The more I stared at him, the more evil he appeared, at least to me. His eyes grew beady, his smirk more heinous. I remember thinking at one point that he might actually be the devil. I was convinced he was going to murder me.
I felt like the worst person on earth, which kind of turned me on even more.
We stopped talking, as I couldn’t hold a conversation any longer. I saw everyone at the park through what felt like a fisheye lens: They were so close, yet so far away, and I still couldn’t figure out how it got so dark.
I tried to keep my cool. Internally I was having eight different panic attacks at once.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to take that train home alone; so I texted my closest friend in Davis and begged her to come to the city to pick me up. She reluctantly agreed, and I felt slightly better knowing salvation was en route. However, I still had two hours of this misery left to endure.
I tried maintaining some modicum of conversation while waiting, interjecting short quips between the heavy silence, such as “Look at that tree,” and, pointing in no distinctive direction: “Are they playing soccer?”
Finally, the wait was over. The greatest friend in the world had come to save me. I hugged Skyler to say goodbye, assuming he would be relieved to see me part.
“Wait, ” he said, still holding on to my hand.
“What?” I asked.
“I want to keep hanging out with you. I’ll take the train back tomorrow.”
Was I really about to do this? Was I about to let this guy, who could still murder me at any point, come back with me? All the way to Davis? Was I going to make my friend drive both of us back home? Was I honestly this goddamn foolish and inconsiderate?
Yes. Yes I was.
Not only was I foolish and inconsiderate, but I was horny as hell. The chance of him being a satanic serial killer didn’t make him any less of a fuckboy at heart. But let’s face it: a fuckboy wouldn’t be a fuckboy if he never got fucked. It became my personal duty to go through with it.
So, he hopped in the car with us, and I quickly felt the hatred and anger directed toward me by my friend. Rightfully so. The ride was incredibly awkward and silent. I stared out the window, willing the road to look less like grape jelly.
I felt like the worst person on earth, which only turned me on even more.
We finally arrived at my place where I briefly greeted my roommate, who was—shocker—equally as judgmental about me bringing home a strange guy from San Francisco. I locked the two of us in my bedroom, and he begged for us to watch Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain, because supposedly it is “meant to be watched on shrooms.”
After a few hours of watching Hugh Jackman on a quest for immortality, the trip died down and we fucked before falling asleep, murder-free.
The next morning I skipped class to drop Skyler off at the train station, where he remarked that he had no money for a ticket home. I purchased his ticket for him, and he was on his way. He hugged me for a long time as we said goodbye.
I remembered thinking, Did this guy actually enjoy all of this?
A few weeks later, I got another message from him on OkCupid. He invited me out to the city again. I politely declined, knowing several friendships, and possibly my sanity, hung in the balance if I were to accept.
*Name changed to protect anonymity.
Repurposed from Kindland with thanks and respect.