Chapter 5: Death by Partying

“STOP THINKING”. “I see you thinking.” my friend exclaimed, shaking me out of my trance. He was the one who had taken the quarter tab of acid and had the onerous task of babysitting this motley crew of adults that had devolved into overgrown babies. He could see where my head was headed.

“I know, I know…I can’t help it. Hang on, I just need to figure something out.” I reassured him.

“There’s NOTHING to figure out! What is there to figure out?! Where are you?”


“Right…and what are we doing?”

“Camping, chilling.”

“Right, and having a good time. Are you having a good time?”

I paused to figure out how I felt. I wasn’t really sure. Then it clicked.

“Only if everyone else is good. If everyone is being taken care of then… yeah, I’m, I’m good.”

I feel like I had just etched out some answer in my heart about how to be happy.

My friend one-by-one checked in with everyone. “You good? You good? See! I’m good, they’re good! So relax, okay?”

“Okay,” I agreed reluctantly. But I still didn’t feel good. I wanted to believe they were all good, but I wasn’t convinced. Were we all just masking pains of our past? What has driven us, a group of 20-somethings, to go out in the middle of a farm in the middle of former Woodstock, take drugs and party? What are we running from?

I feel like I was just serving myself by doing these things. That seemed selfish to me.

What would my other friends think of this? What would my family think of this? I was being really real with myself, and I noticed I was terribly insecure.

I started to think about those beyond just our group. Other people. The whole mountain of people who had come before me, who sacrificed a lot to give me the opportunities and freedoms I have today. And here I am, pissing my time away taking drugs and partying. I didn’t feel good about myself. At all. I think I needed to…

“HEY!” my friend interrupted. You’re thinking again. I see you looking down.”

“I really just gotta think, hang on.” I was starting to get to answers I really craved, but I needed uninterrupted focus.

I could tell he wasn’t really comfortable with this but I was adamant. Too much thinking, particularly looking downward and inward led him once to having a “bad trip.”

But my curious self needed answers. I wanted to get to the core of me and sort this out.

Unbeknownst to me, I began to hold my breath for disturbingly long periods of time. I felt and saw my heart slow down.

“HEY! Look at me. Take deep breaths. You stopped breathing,” my friend snapped as I came back to reality.

This happened several times. During each of these breath-holding episodes, I saw a vision that was equally terrifying and amazing that would forever change my perspective on life.

“Oh my God…Oh my God…OH MY GOD.” I kept exclaiming.