A true story about memory
And so I became my friends’ designated driver, and the designated straight-man of their pot-head comedy troupe. They say anticipation is half the fun, and in those days it was all the fun. Splitting my time between the grayness of the army and the ridiculous, nearly hallucinatory highs of young and stupid smokers became the dichotomy of my life and sustained itself for a long while. It allowed me to still find beauty around me, even if it was from an outsider’s perspective, in observing my friends with eyes that couldn’t be more different than those of the stiff backed soldier that had observed me peeing.
My friends took some time getting used to the ease with which I slipped into the role of the sole sober one, completely surrounded by stoned people. They found it hard to believe that I wasn’t jealous, bitter or bored. Pot jokes were always wedded to the moment, you had to be there, and even though I was right beside them I couldn’t possibly be there with them. But I was close enough and sufficiently empathic to remember moments vividly, which seemed all the more important since they had taken to forgetting all moments, usually within the moments themselves.
One winter night I drove a few of my friends out to a strip of beach in Tel Aviv known as “Drummer’s Shore” for the drum circles that would spontaneously form on its boulders every Friday morning and afternoon. Yoni had brought along an army buddy of his by the name of Glazer, (pronounced like ‘father’), a frightened guy whose short curly hair had already started peeling back to accentuate his moonlike forehead. The rocks were dark and abandoned at this hour, and the wind from the sea was making it difficult for them to light the bong. All hands were drafted to guard the lighter, while Glazer tried angling the bong away from the wind and wound up spilling the rancid bong water on Gil’s leg. Gil shot up and Glazer apologized ferociously, he apologized and Gil forgave him and this went on for a good while and would have ended in a heartfelt moonlit hug were it not for the fact that we were all freezing and they still weren’t done smoking.
Gil was next to hold the bong, and this time Glazer shot up with a cry; he had dropped his cell-phone into the rocks. Glazer's yelp caused Gil to lose his balance and spill some more bong water, this time staining himself right on his crotch. He shot up as well, pointed both hands to his crotch and cried “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! On my dick! Bong water! I can’t believe it! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” Yoni and Glazer nearly fell off the boulders laughing their shrill stoner laugh. I reminded Glazer of his phone, and his eyes returned to their normal skittish selves. Gil offered to call the lost phone, and Glazer nervously dictated his number.
It was one of those perfect moments; the four of us lying belly down on the rocks at midnight and intently listening for Glazer’s phone to ring, stoners on rocks hearing nothing more than the crashing of the waves and each other’s pot-laden belabored breathing.
By the time we walked back to my car, Glazer had already forgotten about his lost phone and they were all laughing at Gil’s wet crotch once again. Gil sat beside me in the car and aimed all the AC vents at full blast onto his embarrassing stain. “It looks like I peed myself”, he whined. “Like I peed stinky bong water!” I said “Better to pee your pants than to pee in a cup.” Gil didn’t really hear me over the obnoxiously loud whir of the AC, and then his phone rang.
Glazer had found his phone lying on the back seat of my car; he had never brought it out to the rocks and had never lost it in the ocean. He’d had a missed call from a number he didn’t recognize, and he was returning that call. The following conversation proceeded to take place within my parked car:
“Hello, who is this?”
“This is Glazer. Who is this?”
“Who is it?”
“Where are you? It’s so noisy!”
“Wait, who is this?”
“I just had a missed call from you. Who is this?”
“Yes. Who is this?”
This would go on for a while before Gil turned around and realized that he had been having a phone conversation with someone seated two feet behind him. Gil, Yoni and I exploded in laughter. Glazer remained confused. He frowned at his phone and muttered “He hung up on me, the bastard.”
The frown couldn’t stick for long. Nothing stuck for long, they were the teflon stoners. I drove them around for a while in search of food, and they rolled my windows down and sang funny songs into the night. The next day I was back on my base, fully dressed in my uniform, and it was as if nothing from the previous night had stuck to me. It was an illusion, and eventually it would be clear that everything had stuck, every single little thing from both worlds.