Acquisition

Then: Your parents are out for the afternoon, so you page some idiot named Lunchbox. In your eyes, he looks as ancient as the sun, but he’s actually only twenty-three. You buy an eighth of mostly shake, and frown at the bag while Lunchbox rifles through your bookshelf. He says, “Vonnegut. He’s tight. I wrote a book. I mean, I didn’t write it write it—it’s all in my head, though.” He lingers for thirty excruciating minutes, hoping you’ll smoke him out before hitting on your fifteen-year-old sister and leaving.

Now: You go to your dispensary, The Grass Menagerie, and thoughtfully survey an embossed menu in a well-appointed waiting room that resembles a Design Within Reach showroom. You are summoned to the counter by a man named Gabriel. He wears a suit and has a ponytail. You answer a series of questions about your mind, body, and level of discomfort when you contemplate the enormity of outer space. You wait as the dispensary’s proprietary software selects the right strain for your goals.

Intake

Then: You’re supposed to be studying for a biology exam, but you meet your friends in a local drainage ditch where you hit the deck every time a car drives by. You punch holes in a crunched-up Coke can and pray that whatever chemical is off-gassing into your lungs will take at least fifty more years to kill you.

Now: After completing your evening skincare routine, you take your glass eyedropper and sublingually place three drops of the yuzu citrus-infused tincture. While you wait to come on, you study the recommended tasting menu for this particular high—a list of burrito delivery options curated for you by Gabriel.

Quality

Then: “This is dank,” you say as you proceed to smoke the two-joint equivalent of stale oregano that spilled on the red-checkered tablecloth of an Italian restaurant.

Now: Easy there, old-timer. This is pharma-grade weed, originally engineered to take the edge off of bone cancer. The strain you select is streamlined for mach-three astral projection.

Bathroom Mirror

Then: You think, “Are my eyes too bloodshot to go home?” You pull your lips back and become acutely aware that your head is just a chattering skull covered in gore.

Now: You think, “Have my jowls always been this jowly? What is going on with my NECK?” You think you see the start of a dowager’s hump before realizing you’re just slouching.

Food

Then: Peanut butter spoon.

Now: Peanut butter spoon.

Entertainment

Then: You tune in to the second half of an Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode before turning to your desktop PC and forcing your Sims characters to pee themselves.

Now: You watch Planet Earth, ugly crying for the seal that perished on the beach. After you pull yourself together, you switch to YouTube and CoComelon autoplays because your child’s viewing habits have screwed your algorithm sideways. The song turns out to be a hypnotic banger, so you watch the whole thing.

Paranoia

Then: You’re enjoying a cherry-flavored Icee until you notice that the cashier is on the phone. You think, “Why is the 7-Eleven guy on the phone? He knows I’m high. He’s definitely calling my mom.”

Now: “Shit, do my kids know?”