Monday, March 21, 2011

Tripping For the First Time

(This is essentially a reposting of something I wrote for The second half of the article, on bad trips, deserves a separate post.)

There is a conspicuous absence of practical advice about acid. And for the newbie (and we've all been there) popping your acid cherry can be a nerve-wracking experience. If you have never tripped before, and would like to, here are some guidelines regarding your first trip. Hopefully I answer your pressing questions-- if you have a concern I didn't address, mention it in a comment and I will do my best to address it in a future post.

  • Don't even think about doing acid until you have played with your mind in other ways. Marijuana is a good place to start. If you can't hand the reins over to a chemical, you will not have fun. If you are afraid of your own mind, you will not have fun. Feel prepared and things will be fine.
  • Generally, acid comes in tabs, which are small square pieces of paper. As a newbie, you should take one or two, depending on your body size, how sensitive you are to other drugs, and how confident you feel. Generally, if you are paying more than $10-15 for one tab (also known as a hit), you are getting ripped off. Don't worry about adulterants, since it's cheaper for a crooked dealer to sell you blank paper than it is for him to fiddle with insidious chemicals. Also, you couldn't overdose if you tried. When you get ahold of your tabs, you stick it in your mouth and swish it around (it will taste like plain old paper) and store it under your tongue for 20-30 minutes. Then you swallow to make sure you get every drop of psychedelic goodness. It soaks into your mucous membranes, and should take effect within 45 minutes of first contact, and last for 12-18 hours so clear your schedule.
  • Acid is more powerful and awesome and fun and weird than anything else you have encountered. Respect that, and do not treat it like marijuana or alcohol.
  • DO NOT DRIVE. Even if you think you can drive fine when buzzed, acid is light years different and you do NOT want to take this chance.
  • Do not put yourself in any position where you have to deal with authority figures or strangers. This includes parents, bosses, other people's parents, cops, customers, door-to-door salesmen, and large dogs.
  • Ideally, you should have an experienced tripper act as your spotter. He or she can trip along with you, which makes it significantly more fun for both people. If that's not possible, have someone you trust chill out with you and make sure you don't do anything harmful, illegal, or that will ruin your social life for years to come. If for some reason this isn't possible either, arrange to have the house to yourself for a day or two and lock up any harmful objects, just in case. You probably won't freak out, but without someone there to check your behavior, things can get out of hand easier and it is best not to take chances.
  • Pick a good place. Any unfamiliar place that makes you feel uncomfortable is a bad place, like work, school, theatrical premieres, the White House. Try not to deal with strangers. Good places: your own home (if you feel totally at ease there and irritating people are far far away), a friend's house, concerts (sometimes; maybe not best for a first trip), or a nice quiet spot in the woods (best).
  • What are you going to want to do while on acid? Well, probably experience your new and heightened senses. Pick out some good music (recommendations: Radiohead, MGMT, the Beatles) or movies (for example, Fantasia 2000 or Yellow Submarine) or artwork (like fractals). Explore the woods, look at the colors, play games. Anything you want, really; these are, of course, just recommendations.
  • No one can tell you're on acid. Unless someone knows you very well, knows acid well, and is with you for an extended period of time while you are tripping, they will not know the difference. Things seem weird to you, but they are normal to everyone else. At worst, people will assume you are weird or stoned. Don't do anything sketchy, don't converse any more than it takes to be polite, and escape an uncomfortable situation as soon as possible. Do not comment on anything out of the ordinary that you see, because it might not exist. I have dealt with my own father, my friend's parents, the CVS late-night pharmacist, and petting-zoo patrons all while on acid and no one has ever called me out on it or pursued any legal action. If, on the other hand, I stripped off my clothes and did handstands in the middle of the highway, people might suspect. But if you're operating generally within social limits, people won't give you a second thought.
  • Don't expect anything in particular, because acid has better plans for you than you can think up. Don't fight it, see what happens, and you will most likely be amazed. Have fun!
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