The other day I was reading my New Yorker on the [f***ing] G train when I smelled smoke. My neurotic fears of death by terrorism on the subway were trumped by my equally developed New Yorker non-plussability. The smell of smoke was in no way linked to any thoughts of death, nor to even consciousnly noticing it, the way the sight of a crazy person or a street performer or the sound of someone yelling, “I’m gonna fuck you up, bitch!” is in no way linked to any particular thought or action on the part of most subway riders. The New Yorker remained focused on her New Yorker.

The smell of smoke, however, continued to register persistently on my neurological radar. It wormed its way into some more active receptors in my brain, specifically, the cannabinoid ones. A very stoned hippe once told me with awe that “we have natural cannabis receptors in our brains, which are intended to receive molecules of herb,” and I later found this to be partly true. We have receptors in our brains which are intended to receive other molecules of complimentary shapes, of which THC is a mimc. In any case, some receptors somewhere were receiving urgent messages, and I stopped ignoring the smell of smoke on the train when I realized it was marijuana smoke.

Two seats to my right, one of the largest individual people I’ve ever seen was puffing on one of the largest individual spliffs I’ve ever seen smoked.

A very bulky African-American man, at least seven feet tall, was calmly smoking a spliff on the G train. No one else on the train was paying him any mind. Every so often, the spliff would go out, and he would light it again by striking a match on the sole of his shoe. I was just about to see if he was going to offer it to me when he got off the train at Hoyt-Schemerhorn.

At that moment I realized I was glad to be back home in New York City.

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