A few months ago I was lucky enough to go to Helsinki, Finland for a week for a work conference. It was great to see some old friends, make some new ones, have some amazing food, watch the sun go down from the top of a mountain eat some boar and the list goes on and on. The only downsize is that the hangovers were unlike any I have had in a while but just about everyone was in the same shape so I suppose I can’t really complain.
With all of these great experiences, one random encounter has just stuck in my mind more than others and for a few reasons. It was late into the night by Helsinki in April standards. By that I meen it was 11pm on a Sunday night. The city center looked like something out of a bad zombie film. We actually joked about how we were the only ones out and about as we made our way from the bars for one last night cap at a bar near the hotel. There were four us and we were well into getting after it by this point. Along the way one of us really had to pee and there was NOTHING open so a restroom was out the question. So the only real option was to just find a nice warm door way and do what he had to do, and he did. We couldn’t help but laugh at the sound of it all, and then the laughter of realizing just how much steam drunk pee can make on a freezing cold night in Finland in early spring. Thats when we heard it. The unmistakable sound of polyurethane skateboard wheels moving along at a nice pace on a paved street. I looked up and around the corner in anticipation of who or what was about to come cruising around the corner. Then we saw him. A random kid about seventeen years old comes around the bend towards the group and you can see he was on a mission, and with a look of purpose about him. He saw us immediately and the look on his face told me he wanted to ask us a very important question. Within just a few seconds he was next to us and eyeing up each and everyone of us. He reaches up and wipes his mouth as he takes one more look at us. He squints his eyes in that way that is both inquisitive and suspicious at the same time and then he said the following five words in a very deliberate and serious manner:
“Do you want any acid?”
It has been a long time since I answered that question with an enthusiastic yes but the unavoidable smile that came to my face when I heard that was not one I could control. I can not say for sure if anyone of us did in fact want any acid as we all kinda were caught off guard by the proposal and we all started to reply in a nonchalant way “naw, thats cool thanks”. His look of intense purpose was not altered in any way. He pursed his lips with conviction and nodded his head in acknowledgment. His only reply was “OK”. Then he jumped back on his skateboard and rode away. He just sliped away into the night and out of sight just as fast as he entered it.
The rest of that week it became a great drunken catch phrase and source of entertainment. We got some raised eyebrows as we joked about it, but that is ok. No one really seemed bothered by it. I just can’t help but wonder if he came across anyone else and if they said “sure. Did they end up taking it that night? Was it real? Was it good? I have always been pro-hallucinogen in the right and proper context as much as the next guy, yet I always wonder about who comes across such experiences, understandings, and doors unlocked from them by random strangers on a skateboard late at night. Did the kid on the skateboard know something I didnt? What exactly had he seen? Have I seen some of the same things along the way? I know I have had such convictions about what lays out there in the universe and just wonder from time to time where they all went or are they just manifesting in different places now? I suppose that is the great mystery. Thats the thrill of this expieriment of this life and universe. I suppose you see all the things along the way you are open to seeing. I will end this with a great quote…”A closed eye sees nothing. The same is true for the mind”