Anecdotes from a Fractured Life: The Catnip Conundrum
Have you ever tried smoking catnip?! Yeah, me neither. But, apparently, some folks have...
Back in my youth, I worked for a time in a head shop. For those who aren't familiar with the term, a head shop is a place where one can purchase their 'tobacco' bongs, one-hitters, and pipes. This particular shop was of the fancier variety, and so we had a decent sized storefront and also sold things such as blankets from India, alternative comics, magazines, and books, tie-dye shirts, and elaborately carved wooden boxes (you can put your weed in there!) We did sell actual tobacco products -- cigarettes, rolling tobacco, cigars -- but for the most part, people were looking for something with which to smoke their marijuana.
Anyway, one day, I was working in this head shop, when this girl in her early 20s (also my age at the time), walks up and engages me in conversation. I forget exactly how things started, but at one point I was showing her a piece of paraphernalia (fancy word for a drug pipe or bong or, more generally the equipment used to engage in the partaking of substances -- in this case, it was a water bong), when she says, "Do you ever smoke catnip out of this?"
Hmmm... well that's a new one! "No", I reply, "Can't say that I ever have." (at least not knowingly. I have certainly smoked some funky tasting substances that may or may not have been the substance that I thought I was smoking).
"Well," she said, looking at me coyly, "some people do."
"Yes, and they liked it!"
Well, at this point, it was pretty obvious that she was referring to herself. I was a bit stunned. The idea that someone would knowingly, and purposefully, smoke catnip, seemed an alien concept to me. But maybe that was just my hang-up. Hell, I was smoking weed whenever I could. I imagine the first person to propose that idea to their fellow humans was met with some serious looks of concern.
'You want to light that plant on fire and do what with it? You crazy fucking neanderthal! I'm not doing that shit!'
But at the time, such thoughts didn't pass through my mind. I recall expressing some disgust at the idea of smoking catnip and suggesting that she could find something better to smoke, but she seemed unphased.
"You should try it sometime," she says, and walks out, giving me a look back over her shoulder on the way.
I had a pretty good laugh about that encounter with my co-workers and friends over the next few days. I never saw that girl again. I often wondered if I had missed the real point of the whole conversation and she had been trying to hit on me -- or perhaps, deep down, she just really, really, loved smoking catnip.