We Have Liftoff
Apr 08, 2018 09:50AM ● Published by Jake Browne
I loved long flights when I was younger. I was obsessed with the sheer spectacle of modern flight, and I even looked forward to those monster, double-digit treks to Asia and Australia, perhaps misapplying the adage of the journey being as important as the destination.
But I’ve lost most of that awe at 40, when even the two-and-a-half hours commuter flight is something I don’t generally look forward to. The shrinking seats, the germy everything, the recycled air, the incessant subconscious marketing and the travelers who inexplicably still don’t understand the best way to store their roller bags in the overhead compartment.
It can get to be a lot—unless, I’ve found, you have a head full of cannabis when you’re boarding the plane. I’ll never forget my first time flying high. I was wrapping my last day at a weed business conference in San Francisco when I remembered the edibles stash in my backpack, the one I wasn’t planning on flying home with (because that’s illegal, dear friend). After a quick assessment of my near future—BARTing to the airport, grabbing food, flying three hours home to Denver and Light Railing to the city from the airport—I saw the opportunity ahead.
No driving. No heavy machinery. No real responsibility for the foreseeable future.
And that flight was fucking fantastic. From an unprecedented deep-dive into my iPhone’s psyche to organizing the busy work week ahead to going cover-to-cover on the mediocre in-flight magazine staring at me from the seat-back pocket, I was that awe- struck little kid again—finding pleasure in what was in front of me, ignoring my neighbor in the center aisle, appreciating the complimentary Canada Dry (and ask- ing for the whole can) and legitimately dumbfounded at the immensity of what all these random people and I were doing at that very moment.
Hundreds of people, in a giant metal machine, flying! So much fuel, sigh. But still, lifting off like some magical dragon from the San Francisco Bay and landing a few hours later in the Colorado Rockies.
And that’s one of marijuana’s wonders, right? Its ability to temporarily reset some our mind’s settings back to its childhood defaults.
Thank goodness for it, because sometimes my adult mind resents being held captive.
It’s pretty much the same if I’m sitting in an airplane, a corporate-sponsored rock show or a movie theater. I’m getting something out of that experience, sure, but I’m also paying a business for a service—and I’m being marketed to in the process. And that construct of me paying you so that you can then advertise further to me when I’m most captive can be tough to stomach, even for a lifelong journalist who just opened his own full-service agency.
That movie trailer before the main feature. Those Rold Gold pretzels tucked inside the United Airlines napkin. The sponsored content you’re inevitably absorbing at the big rock show or professional sporting event.
It can be a lot, which is why I’m thankful for the respite cannabis provides when my mind is in that prison of captivity-induced anxiety.
When I’m sitting in the movie theater ever-so-slightly lifted, I remember the excitement of the film trailers and view them as entertainment instead of advertising. At the rock show, I forget that I’m sitting inside the Pepsi Center and I enjoy the light show. In the airplane, I look out at the Sierras, the gradient blue sky, the checkerboards of houses and the dense forest lands below and take a moment to be thankful.
Thankful I’m not driving cross-country. Thankful for the singular views. Thankful for the quiet baby in the row in front of me. Thankful that air travel remains mostly affordable. Thankful for the tucked-in hygiene of the beefcake in the center seat. Thankful for modern conveniences. Thankful the guy in front of me didn’t recline his seat while I was writing this column. And thankful for cannabis, which helps tame my aging brain in the dreadfully captive situations I dislike the most.
So here’s to getting lifted before you lift off, friends. Because even though your body is about to be restricted to an ever-shrinking seat, the doors to your mind’s subconsciousness are already flung wide open—leaving your anxieties and other baggage out of sight while amplifying your ability to focus on what matters most.