The Third Instance of trouble was Thanksgiving weekend 1974, my first Acid Trip.
At the Barlow School in Amenia, New York, there was a student who had two names, Aaron B. and Aaron S. His father was a brain surgeon/scientist/Nobel prizewinner of some kind. I could be exaggerating his accomplishments but he definitely wasnÕt in AaronÕs life and Aaron resided with stepparents in New York City when he wasnÕt attending Barlow, and I donÕt think the SÕs were his biological parents.
Aaron arrived at Barlow a few weeks late, so he was already out of kilter, the way I spent most of my schooling in high school. I attended nine different schools, mostly because of having been evacuated from several foreign countries in distress. I also took great advantage of this opportunity to manipulate the chaos to my benefit in staying high on a daily basis.
I just so happened to be wearing a Claryville, New York T-shirt. Claryville at the time had a population of about 48 people and it doesnÕt have many more people to this day. It is a small village smack in the middle of the Catskill State Park in the enchanting Catskill Mountains. Aaron, upon seeing my proudly worn Claryville, New York T-shirt says, Oh, you know Claryville, my stepparents have some property and a horse farm up there, or at least in the outskirts of Claryville right before you get to the town limits. I say no way Jose, because we would know everybody from Claryville and definitely no one named B. is there. Aaron says, Oh no, my stepparents are the SÕs. Aaron was a latecomer to the Catskills and probably had only been up there a few times. But he definitely knew Claryville, which blew my mind. We had something in common other than drugs.
Aaron was the second student to get thrown out of Barlow that year. The first was Bobby, who had given me my student interview before I was accepted. I was the one who had turned him on to some Marijuana, so my tour of the campus was one big haze.
At Barlow we had the opportunity to go on a Thanksgiving break, and because my parents were stationed in Cambodia during the last year of the war there, I was not allowed to visit them on orders of the State Department. I could possibly have gone to Bangkok, but the timing was bad that I decided to venture into New York City without any specific plans and not enough cash for a long weekend there.
The other students going to New York City had family, plans, and definitely knew the city. I was a vagabond. Everyone said letÕs go to the Dave Mason Concert at Radio City Music Hall. So I hooked up with Aaron and he managed to take out several hundred dollars from his bank account. Prior to that we went to his stepparentsÕ apartment and AaronÕs one task was to stop by his shrinkÕs office. I couldnÕt imagine anyone as young as us seeing a psychiatrist, especially when we were high, which was all the time. So Aaron leaves me in Central Park, where we scored some black-purple African weed. Aaron comes back and says letÕs get some acid for the concert. Have you ever tripped? he asks, and I say yes, which was a big lie. So Aaron scores what was called computer blotter or tabs of LSD on computer paper. I could see this funky orange stuff that looked like fungus on sand paper. My plan was that I was going to go to the concert with Aaron, meet up with some other Barlow students at the concert, and spend the night at AaronÕs stepparentsÕ apartment in Manhattan. As we are walking to Radio City Music Hall from Central Park we drop the tabs of LSD. I have maybe taken two when most people would only take an eighth of what I dropped. I have no idea what to expect and soon we are in the concert. We were showing off with our black-purple African weed that made you hallucinate and accentuated the acid. Some girls next to me had hash oil. Aaron gave them some computer blotter. Hippies and freaks were walking up and down the Radio City Music Hall shouting Acid, Blotter, Microdot. I truly thought the whole place was stoned.
At the concert my perception was altered and I thought the whole place was tripping. My mind brought me to a far away land and I became one with God and the concert and the musicians. I hallucinated these tents in Arabia and mixed with the music my body flowed with the sound to the point that I thought I was performing on stage. I blacked out and the next thing I know I am carried out of Radio City Music Hall by some paramedics. My friend Paul convinces the paramedics to give me a bottle of Vitamin B tablets. I awake swallowing the Vitamin B pills. I am on the sidewalk with everyone hovering over me. Paul convinces the paramedics to leave. Before being brought out of the concert I was kicking and screaming. I didnÕt want to leave the show and believed I was performing with the musicians. The concert was over by this point and I was one of the last to leave as I was in an insane state.
When I came to Aaron was gone and my other school friends had places to go. Paul gave me the phone number of BobbyÕs mother and was sure that I could stay there on West Side Drive. ItÕs three a.m. by this time and I throw my little travel backpack in the trashcan on the sidewalk, stating to everyone that I am free and need no possessions. My favorite shirt, cigarettes, and other prized possessions were in that travel backpack. I did call Bobby and he told me to jump in a cab and his mother paid the fare. I was now safe and Bobby had lots of experience bringing people down from bad acid trips. Aaron got arrested for swimming in a fountain in the middle of New York City and his stepparents had to bail him out of the city jail. The twenty or so blotter acid in AaronÕs pockets got soaked and ruined.
To this day I get bad feelings in my gut when I hear the Dave Mason song 40,000 Headmen or any song by him actually. It was a bad trip and I didnÕt learn my lesson.
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