Dear cafe staff,
You sat with me for nearly an hour, as I became the worldâ€™s worst ad for anything weed-related in front of your irked customers. That weekend â€“ I explained as you passed me the nth glass of water â€“ I had been booked for a panel discussion in Amsterdam, a stay I extended by three days to convert business into pleasure, a much-needed mini-break I intended to spend almost entirely baked. To facilitate this, I went to a place that did the â€œbest space cakes in the cityâ€; â€œbestâ€, I soon realised, meaning â€œthe ones most likely to make me think I dropped one of my ears on the high street when running from Godâ€.
On my last day, with a fair amount in my bloodstream already, I ate a quarter of a space cake and felt a bit tired. An hour passed; still nothing but a mild case of the munchies. And, like a spoilt child in a moralising fairytale, I decided to sate my hunger with another quarter.
It was during a walking tour of the city that the world casually began to cave in. I glanced downwards and the floor was suddenly at the tip of my nose. I then suspected I was a mere millimetre away from everyone else in the group, and that my slightest movement would send the six-year-old near me flying across the square. Slowly, I began stepping back, attracting bemused looks. The jig was up. I wasnâ€™t concerned that they would realise I was high as a kite on the face of the moon, but that now they were â€œout to get meâ€. My backwards walk became a backwards run. The skyline began to drip on to the pavement. I became convinced of a growing conspiracy to keep me stoned enough to miss my flight home, which was in two hours.
I managed to lug myself into another coffee shop â€“ yours â€“ to die quietly on your couch.
â€œWas it something we gave you?â€ one of you asked, touching my forehead. And though it wasnâ€™t, you tended to me with the bedside manner of a paediatrician caring for a child with a broken arm. You rallied around me with water, assuring me there wasnâ€™t a conspiracy and you definitely werenâ€™t part of one. You werenâ€™t fussed when I pointed out that that was exactly what someone would say if involved in a conspiracy. You handed me an orange, and comforted me when I tearfully realised I had forgotten how to peel one. You suppressed smirks as I asked if I would ever feel my face again. Dazed, I asked how long Iâ€™d been there. â€œIâ€™d say about eight minutes,â€ one of you replied. At that, I actually began to cry.
Though I canâ€™t recall your shopâ€™s name for obvious reasons, to you all, I am eternally grateful: for the lakes-worth of water, for the non-stop sweets, for bundling me into a cab to the airport. But most of all, for putting up with a smug tourist, who even though she has done it all before, still manages to make an absolute tit of herself in Amsterdam.