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  • Writer's pictureMaryann Kariuki

Is That Weed?

Updated: Mar 31

Disclaimer: Marijuana (street name: weed) was used in the making of this story.

It was my first time in Amsterdam. It was also my first time seeing a goat in the city. A pregnant goat in the city. A grey pregnant goat, if we are to make it more visual. It looked as surprised to see me as I was to see it. I nodded at it, and if I recall correctly, it did nod back. A brief hello goat hello human greeting as we both suspiciously passed each other. After which we both wished each other good luck in Amsterdam. At least I did, not sure if the goat wished me the same.

But anyway, this particular day in Amsterdam was a Friday. My flatmate, let’s name him Paul, his real name has been changed to protect his identity (I’ve always wanted to say that). So Paul and I had spent the better part of the day indoors. Talking, eating, drinking, getting to know each other and testing each other's music preferences. After a few hours of that, he made a run to the bakery to get some bread before the bakery closed and I was left home alone, in this rather cozy apartment with a view of the canal, doing a little bit of everything. Maybe that's exaggerated, I’m just going to be honest, a huge chunk of the time alone was spent burning incense and dancing. Self care.

Paul later came back and we agreed to have some dinner together; beetroot fries which came out somewhat peculiar but edible nonetheless and some salad with an avocado spread. Then we put on some music. I started feeling groovy, you know, like how you should feel on a Friday or any other day for that matter. So I poured a glass of red wine ready for a nice chill. But before that, Paul asked me to take him to the coffee shop and I thought ‘what coffee shop is open at 10 in the night'. We lived in the outskirts of the city so I’d assumed that coffee drinkers on this side of town were rather snuggled up in their houses by then or drinking something heavier, a distilled beverage perhaps. I did not make my concerns verbal nonetheless. And, in the spirit of being an absolute team player, I decided to tag along because we were going to take our bikes and I was really up for a night time bike ride.

The cycle down to the shops was amazing. We passed by some red pissing statues perched on one of the canals which I thought were a hilarious and creative genius installation. I got off my bike and took a few low quality pictures because it was too dark then we kept on cycling. In a few minutes, we were cycling in this little shopping centre full of life and lights, down the train station, passing by lively people, some dancing, some standing in groups chit chatting. One guy even tried to sell us a bike. Paul later told me that it was a stolen bike and I acted like my morals were highly and negatively disrupted by that piece of information. I however still think about that offer to this day. It was a good deal. For such a good bike.

Anyway, we got to the coffee shop a few minutes later and at the entrance stood this man built of nothing but muscle and intimidation. Standing tall at the gates (well, just a normal coffee shop entrance but 'the gates' sounds more dramatic so let’s go with that) and I thought ‘wow, what violence could possibly go down at a coffee shop.’ But I was a new girl in a new city and I was open to seeing new ways of looking at life you know. Like a guard at a freakin’ coffee shop. I mean, what high grade coffee were we here to buy man. Anyway, our turn came and I stood behind Paul like a scared kid. I started looking around as he was talking to the cashier. The room had a calming cream colour on the walls but then boom! An eye blinding green at the cashiers where Paul stood as he was being served. Due to covid restrictions, the seating spaces were empty, it looked like a coffee shop scene from a scary movie really. The only think lacking was some foggy smoke, for effect. Several minutes passed and he was still talking to the cashier. I overheard him ask to sniff something that he pointed out from a menu screen in front of him. On seeing this I thought to myself ‘wow I’ve never met anyone this particular about their coffee... sheesh'.

A few sniffs later, and almost what seemed like a lifetime, there was a friendly exchange between Paul and the cashier. A smile, then a nod. As if to close a business deal. ‘Peculiar’ I thought. ‘And wildly diplomatic for just a coffee purchase'. Shortly after, Paul paid for his order and turned to me with a smile, ‘done, let’s go home’. It's after he turned to me while putting what he’d just bought in his pockets when I realised that we were in a weed shop! Boy oh boy, everything started coming back to me...the muscle man at the door, the camera we had to do a face scan on when entering, the green, the damn blinding green colour and oh... now I see it... the tiny ganja symbol on the wall!

So with both the naivety and the excitement of a 5 year old, I asked ‘Is that weeeed?’ Now if you don’t know this, weed is allowed for personal use in the Netherlands and as a result, decriminalised. I knew this at the back of my head but I had no clue, whatsoever, that it was actually sold in coffee shops. As in, there are specific coffee shops...called coffee shops, designed just for the purchase of ganja. With laws regulating its purchase of course. For instance, you can only buy a maximum of 5 grams a day.

To my question, Paul answered ‘Yes, I told you we were going to a coffee shop'. And the whole cycle back home was filled with laughter as I explained to him how I thought a coffee shop meant we were going to get some coffee and how suspicious I thought the place looked. We got home happy but cold from the autumn wind, went to the balcony, with the glass of wine I’d poured earlier and Paul with his weed and there we hung, swinging on the hammock and enjoying a lovely autumn night in a city I’ll forever love.

Oh and I also smoked one puff. My bad. I forgot to mention it earlier.

Now in the beginning I gave a disclaimer that marijuana was used in making this story. Not that I was under the influence while writing this this, but that the story was inspired by marijuana. Thanks.



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