Despite the signs being everywhere about the significance of yesterday’s date, I admit I didn’t quite get why I kept seeing so many people acting funny and so much marijuana out in public.

We had a national conference of sorts for one of our remote teams, and my small team was invited to join their large team on a bus tour around San Francisco–one of those really bad tourist, double-decker type tours where the bus is entirely plastered with advertisements for Angry Birds.

The bus driver, Steve, was a better driver than entertainer. His jokes were bad, becoming worse with every cross street. It devolved into a painful kind of bad, and eventually his heartless commentary became the “I wish I could throw rotten tomatoes at you” kind of bad.

We had passed an intersection where a large cloud of marijuana reeked, and Steve joked, “And there goes a guy who is smoking his lunch.” Oh, Steve.

The colleague next to me rolled her eyes and muttered , “It is 420 today, Steve. A lot of people are going to be blazing today.” And then I went Ohhhhhhhhhh. Everything clicked.

Later in the evening, on the metro ride heading home, it was still everywhere. People wore tie-dye shirts, baseball caps embroidered with marijuana leaves, and some really high dudes were so out of it they decided to pour the marijuana leaves in their hands and then accidentally dropped it on the floor.

I get home, immediately forget the date’s significance because why should I care? I’ve never had pot or done any other drugs. My six alcoholic drinks I have had this year are probably more than I ever had in my entire years in college.

I head out to the grocery store, hoping to pick up some coconut water and decided to drop by a friend’s house who is across the street. I’ve been helping him with a job application for a few weeks, and he really needs someone to crack the whip, AKA yours truly, in getting shit done. I’ve been keeping him on track, regularly checking in on his progress, being encouraging, helping him with things like his cover letter and resume.

He had texted me earlier about writing a gem file, and then never texted back when I texted him at home, asking if he wanted company. I get my things at the store (and am sad that they were out of coconut water); he still hadn’t texted back, but I figure what the hell and drop in anyway because he previously mentioned that he sometimes has bad cell reception in his place. And I think (hope) he likes my company as much as I like his.

I swing by and knock. There is some shuffling (I always hear the shuffling.) After a slow shuffle, he opens the door and blinks. It is probably the most confused I have ever seen him. It’s not the “I am happy you are here” face; instead, it is a more puzzled one, as if woken from a dream. I wonder if he genuinely missed my texts. I get invited in anyway, and sit down in his living room. I notice the pipe.

“Are you celebrating 420, too?!” I ask.

More blinking and an awkward silence that only makes me all the more amused.

“Pleading the fifth, huh?” I laugh even harder.

I am asked if I want any because it’s good shit. I only find this offer funnier.

“Geez, you think you know a person,” I tease. “First, I find out you listen to hiphop, and now this.”

Despite the laughter, I stayed a shorter time than I normally would, becoming increasingly more concerned that my arrival was like a certain person from Porlock and that I had interrupted the great vision — his Kubla Khan moment while writing in Ruby. Oops.

I’m sure if Coleridge had lived in the present, that poem may have ended up a bit different and more like this:

On Four-Twenty did Mari Juan
A sately pleasure-plume set free :
Where hash, the sacred giver, can
Through flowers transplant every man
Down to a listless lee.

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