Friday, April 20, 2012

Second-Hand Smoke

I was driving home from a TGIF Friday, looking forward to the weekend and pondering the mysteries of the universe, when I notice an unusual number of people out and about. Yes, it was a rare hot day, but this seemed above and beyond simply good weather. The crowd increased as I neared my home and as I pulled up and greeted my upstairs neighbors sitting on the front stoop, I asked “What’s going on?” Their answer didn’t help: “4/20.”

I didn’t need Wikipedia to investigate further. A simple “Huh?” was enough to prompt my neighbors to explain that it was in celebration of Weed and I’m not talking the kind you pull out from your garden. Turns out that April 20th is the day to celebrate the wonders of Cannabis and even more exactly, 4:20 in the afternoon the prime time. You hear that, you know there’s got to be a story behind it and here Wikipedia was helpful. Short version is that a bunch of teenagers in San Rafael, CA formed a club in search of a rumored cannabis crop.and decided on 4:20 as their meeting time. These numbers became the code-word for pot-smoking in general. It must have stuck, because that story is from 1971!

SF Golden Gate Park is one of many preferred spots for these celebrations and no surprise why. Hippy Hill, some two minutes from my house, was the hot gathering spot in the Summer of Love and I suspect that Cannabis was in integral part of it. And some of the folks walking by my house on the way to the park might have been there. The rest looked close to their 60’s ancestors— tie-dyed shirts, loose dresses, beards and long hair were in abundance.

I’ve been out of the loop since around 1974, but still was curious about it. So I decided to join my neighbors on the stoop and report on the event flowing by. There was a familiar smell in the air, much of it drifting my way and suddenly, everything was looking rather groovy and everyone was so mellow and…

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