As our city has slowly begun to get back to what will now be our new normal, I have been anxiously watching for the reopening of cannabis shops in midtown Toronto.
But, although I was excited about the possibility at first, when I thought about it further, something gave me pause for thought.
You see, the other day, a nice older man I see often at one of the stores I frequently shop in expressed the desire — once the COVID-19 crisis ends — to get together with me to smoke the joint we have joked about sharing since marijuana became legal.
I told the man, “It’s a date,” but when I reflected on it later, I realized that instead of making me feel celebratory, the thought of putting something in my mouth after it has been in someone else’s mouth is enough to make my skin crawl.
Remember the days when you went to a party and the moment you brought out a joint all these amateurs suddenly gathered around you in the hopes of getting a puff? I must admit that I always found that ridiculous and will not miss it. That being said, I do not anticipate being invited to a party any time soon and even if I was, I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable going.
Although I have always been put off by the thought of taking a sip of a drink from someone else’s glass, or at the thought of someone taking a bite out of my food or sticking a fork contaminated with their saliva in my plate, I never thought twice about the many, faceless lips that have been around so many of the joints I have smoked over the years.
In the past, when certain friends, and even family members, got together, it was an automatic assumption that we were going to renew our bond by sharing a doobie.
I even remember my grandmother — who was so cool that not only was she familiar with weed smoking etiquette, but I was actually able to smoke pot in front of her — long ago asking me as a joke, “Aren’t you supposed to offer to pass that to me?”
Camping trips, cottage parties, concerts and weddings were all once conducive to sharing a joint, especially among old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many things we used to take for granted, including being able to share in the camaraderie of smoking a joint with a friend, are now things we will have to rethink even after coronavirus is behind us.
Blind eye to the risks
The reality is that sharing joints with other people has always been unsanitary. Most of us just either didn’t think about it before or chose to turn a blind eye to the risks.
In today’s world, the word sharing has taken on a whole new meaning. For people who smoke marijuana and are part of the cannabis culture, sharing it with others used to be a fun way of bringing people together. What was once a universal bonding experience is yet one more thing that many of us will have to look back at with fond nostalgia but that will, unfortunately, be changed forever. It is the end of an era that I can’t help but feel a little bit sad about.
I am not looking forward to dealing with the handful of people who I anticipate will undoubtedly be insulted, regardless of the new reality in which we all now live, if I recoil in disgust when they try to pass me a joint in the future.
It makes me wonder if any of the things I used to enjoy doing together with friends will ever be the same.
Maybe the new way going forward could be clinking our individual joints together in a toast before we light them up. After all, when people meet for a drink they don’t share the same glass, yet many people prefer to drink with a friend rather than by themselves.
One thing is for sure: life after the pandemic is going to take some getting used to.
For now I think I’ll roll up another joint and forget about it.
Needless to say, I’ll be smoking it alone.
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