I was just scrolling though some old emails I have saved in my Hotmail account and discovered a couple from my friend Jennifer in which we were sharing stories and poetry and other thoughts about life. This made me happy. Jennifer's been my best friend since we were little kids and took our first Holy Communion, wearing tiny veils and white dresses. We attended CCD together for years. I can't even begin to wade into the Sunday School stories Jennifer and I could share from our years spent in those squeaky-floored classrooms learning about the life of Jesus. I will tell you this, however. One time while visiting some huge Cathedral in preparation for Confirmation, Jennifer forgot, over and over again, the words to the Hail Mary during a very serious rosary session. When it was her turn to utter the prayer ten times aloud in the echoey caverns of that side chapel, she just lost it near the middle on every go-round and we'd dissolve into fits of laughter. That instance, a particularly strange chick named Nicole who'd wear exceedingly short skirts, huge glasses, and read Little Golden children's books during class when we were supposed to be learning about Christ, and the time that one crazy teacher stuck a tiny metal statue of the Virgin in a cake during a fun game where the person who received that piece of cake (me!) won a prayer card, should tell you a little bit about the memories we have.
That's just one small part of our friendship, though. It's been years of private jokes and adventures. For instance, there was that time we smoked catnip.
DISCLAIMER: We heard you could get high from, I think, a reputable source so don't start making fun before you know the details.
First of all, isn't the early teens the time for a little rebellion? Dying our hair, piercing our ears, rolling clumps of fresh catnip into a huge doobie that we smoked on the back steps at my house.
We bought the goods one night when we were out in D.C. and happened upon a natural foods store. The place carried a wide array of wholesome treats for the health conscious, including a line of glass containers along one wall holding fresh herbs. Since we both had family cats it was only with slight nervousness, averting our eyes from the salesperson's only for a moment, that we packed a plastic bag with a choice selection of the plant, and paid up. Oh man, WERE WE GONNA GET HIGH!
Later that night Jennifer and I unwrapped our highly legal drugs and rolled the stuff into the most natural and unhazardous choice for two youngsters to inhale: newspaper. As we sat out back on those brick steps that lead down to the basement with a huge catnip cigar wrapped in that day's Washington Post, lit up, and inhaled the burning black ink and potent green herb, I knew more than ever that I was a badass.
"I think I feel something."
We sure did think so. What, I've never known. Was it toxic fumes dispersing from our select rolling papers? My guess is it was the thrill two friends feel when they are exploring the unknown.
My favorite part of this story isn't really any of the above listed antics. My favorite part was when Jennifer reported, a few weeks later, that her cat had been roaming around in her room, clearly on a mission, until she'd pushed aside some items and gotten hold of our secret stash. That really brought it home for me. We smoked catnip. Needless to say the thought that catnip getting people high would be a incredibly popular discovery, and not just something we'd stumbled upon, never crossed our minds.
Now years later, I tell this story happily. It ranks high on the list of life events that changed me for good. One day I was an obedient daughter, reading teen fiction and taking horseback riding lessons, and the next I was on the road to a life of crime, smoking herbs we'd bought legally downtown with that week's allowance. In the end the cat got the sweet end of the deal, but I must admit that our learning one of life's great lessons (catnip doesn't get you high) wasn't too shabby, either.