This morning I escaped, pigless, to buy hay for the guinea pigs and buttons for two shirts I’m making and eggs and Christmas presents and a guilty, unsatisfying apple doughnut.
Halfway through, while cravenly sneaking from parking meter to parking meter trying to find one that wasn’t expired (I was low on cash, innit. Succeeded, too. 49 minutes, no parallel parking required. Woot!), I suddenly realised that the car smelled of marijuana.
This was perplexing, for obvious reasons. It worried me. I had never smelled it before. I had passed by people before who were allegedly reeking of it, and Helpdesk Man would point it out, and I’d always be like “What? I couldn’t smell anything” and have to stop myself from going back and giving them a big old experimental sniff. For a long time, indeed, I wondered if I were congenitally unable to smell it. But here I was in the car with a distinctly fragrant, herbal smell surrounding me.
And just the other day, I had breathed in Helpdesk Man’s face and he’d said “Whoa, why do you smell of marijuana?” - a question we never satisfactorily resolved - and now the mystery was thickening.
I could only think of two explanations. One, Helpdesk Man was relieving his not inconsiderable work-related, pig-related and (truthfully) Smokey-related stress by toking up in the passenger seat. Two, someone else - an inhabitant of the orchard, a theological opponent of Helpdesk Man’s from the internet, or possibly my little sister - had decided to use our routinely-unlocked and usefully messy car for hiding his or her stash, malevolently or otherwise.
I considered these two possibilities intently. What if I got stopped by the police? I could get them to test my hair, but it’s hennaed - what if that screwed up the results somehow? And what if my marijuana breath of the previous week had been the result of accidental ingestion? Would they take the pigs away? Would it work in my favour to drive straight to the police and Confess All with artless candor? Would it really be the ethical thing to deprive my children of a loving, though stressed, father who was only trying to self-medicate with an herbal substance, by turning him over to the fuzz? Gosh - this explained his snacking. Can you get medical marijuana prescriptions in New Zealand? He had taken up chewing gum lately. Maybe it was the guy from the sawmill, who wished to keep his habit secret from his children. A laudable scruple. Maybe someone was setting us up for public disgrace by planting the stash in order to discredit Calvinism. Maybe it was Helpdesk Man after all. I could search the car thoroughly and confront him with the evidence, all “Did you think I was a fewl?”, like Skyler. But that would require effort and the unearthing of a lot of items frankly less savoury and wholesome than a small baggie of (I use the street slang casually, with airy ease) pot. Ought I to leave him, just temporarily, to make it clear that this kind of malarkey was Not On? But that would require even more effort, and going to a hotel would eat into our Disneyland fund, and I doubt Mother would want us all hanging around her house for a few days with minimal explanation; and really, who has the time? And why, if he were feeling so down as to require medication, had he not confided in me, his practically only wife? Dwelt I but in the wops of his good pleasure? What if it were my little sister after all? She might be buying it from Shady People. Maybe we should offer to grow some for her in the orchard, so she wouldn’t get stabbed. That would be an interestingly grey moral decision. High is better than stabbed, surely. Does marijuana pass through breastmilk? Won’t somebody think of the children?
And then I realised it was the guinea pig hay. And I went “Oh yeah. Heh.” and continued on my way. Sometimes, people, life almost throws you curveballs… and then doesn’t.