Drugs on the Road

A Dose of Couchsurfing

Ecstatic hospitality.

Before couchsurfing came along people still surfed sofas with abandon. A popular joke at the time was:

How do you know when you’ve had a hippy as a guest recently?

He’s still there.

I wore out my welcome in dozens of homes across the world when I was in my early 20’s but there was one particular occasion when it backfired. I was taking care of the apartment of a professional gambler in London for the weekend and enjoying his comfy pad. He made some a couple of hundred thousand pounds a year betting on horses and lived in some style.

Consequently the refrigerator was always well stocked with gourmet foods. So I arrived at the apartment on a rainy Saturday evening, let myself in and headed straight to the kitchen for some nourishment. In the cupboard I found a handful of pine nuts and a small glass of Burgundy wine. Then I opened the fridge and took a slice of Gorgonzola cheese and a few vitamin tablets to make sure that I didn’t come down with a cold after the rain. Then I settled down in the living room to watch a DVD from his extensive collection.

After about twenty minutes though the screen began to shake. This was a £2000 52 inch television – it wasn’t supposed to break. Then I realized it was actually the walls that were trembling and melting under my gaze. My heart doubled its pace as I accepted I was going insane. All the LSD I’d ever taken was coming back to destroy my grip on reality and soon I would be in Syd Barrett Land. If I could only get to the phone I could call some friends and get them to come and rescue me before I had any delusions about being able to fly.

With the last remaining strength of my rational mind I tried to retrace what had happened to me since I’d arrived at the apartment. I crawled over to the front door and began tracing my trail. Okay, so there were my shoes, still wet and then I must have gone to take a leak in the bathroom. I opened the door but all the white enamel blinded me and it took me a minute to regain my balance.

Next, the kitchen. I staggered through and saw the pine nuts next to the wine bottle – but it had only been one small glass and the walls don’t shape-shift when you’re drunk. Okay, the fridge. I’d taken some cheese and a couple of vitamin tablets and wait-a-minute… what were vitamin tablets doing in the fridge?

I opened up the container again and saw that there was also inside a small paper envelope. I opened it and found a few grams of cocaine. Ah. Then I looked more closely at the vitamins and realized that the pills inside didn’t look very pharmaceutical. It was entirely in Bob’s style to buy 100 ecstasy tablets in one time…

Once I understood that I’d dosed myself with two hits of rather good E I fell on the floor and laughed for a full ten minutes. I spent the night smoking weed and giggling, struck by deep insights that would undoubtedly change the way I lived forever… until I came down.

When I parted on the Monday morning I left behind a copy of my book, a thank you note and the faint but to my mind distinct scent of charred brain cells.