By "Radical" Russ Belville
The New York Times ran an article recently about the role pot is playing in shaping modern professional kitchens. Not POTS, pot.
According to the article, “a small but influential band of cooks says both their chin-dripping, carbohydrate-heavy food and the accessible, feel-good mood in their dining rooms are influenced by the kind of herb that can get people arrested.”
Maybe it works for influential chefs because they work in a creative field, but I can’t imagine being a successful adult capable of navigating the ins-and-outs of my juggle while marijuana was that integral a part of my life.
Pot smoking in the workplace is just unthinkable, and at home it also doesn’t make sense to me, considering all of the legal problems that could arise, no matter how unlikely. Still, a handful of states have recently legalized marijuana for medical use, and perhaps that’s an indication that the practice is becoming more mainstream. A few years ago one mother memorably wrote on the website Babble.com about continuing to smoke marijuana after having a child–at first just when she was out and her son was with a sitter, but then, later, she admits to being stoned while taking care of him.
We’ve written before about how the pressures of the juggle can drive us to drink alcohol, and many of you said that you drink in your leisure time. What about marijuana?
It depends on your workplace. I’ve known many a computer programmer who telecommutes from home and works long hours on excruciatingly boring and detailed lines of code while taking the occasional break with a bong. Governor Schwarzenegger had a rather prestigious bodybuilding career while puffing a “choint” between sets. There are plenty of working people who relax after work with a doobie and have successful and fulfilling lives. Hell, I’m up at 6am, writing and researching for the blog, handling calls and emails from chapters and wanna-be chapters, putting on a live talk radio show, working out, and handling a busy travel speaking schedule, and I assure you I partake of some herb from time to time.
One thing that makes it just “unthinkable” is most people, like this writer I presume, have only the experience of alcohol to judge all “highs” against. Or worse, the folks who tried it once and had a severe reaction, from giggle fits to paranoia, and think that’s how it must affect everyone.
The reality is that for most of us, especially regular users, marijuana just makes us what we already are, only more so. We still find the same things funny, but when high, it’s easier to feel that and the sensitivity is broader. If we’re quiet types, we’re usually still quiet when high. Personable stoners are just as nice high as not. We generally get hungry and find music more interesting. For some of us, it has a “grounding” feeling, a calming effect to regular stress and anxiety. For others that’s much more a physical requirement than a convenient mental health break.
But for the most part, anything you can do straight you can do after a puff or two of weed, short of dangerous tasks requiring quick reflexes. I wouldn’t encourage the fork lift driver or school bus driver to pull a four-foot bong rip and see how well they do on the job. But if we’re talking about somebody picking strawberries in a field or folding clothes at The Gap, I’m not too worried if they smoked a bowl before their shift. Marijuana does not change behavior in violent and unpredictable ways like alcohol. It doesn’t give the user “liquid courage” that leads to risky behaviors. If we accept that people can have a beer at a business lunch or use their prescription painkiller and not be a danger at their cubicle, I can’t understand the worry about small amounts of marijuana use at work.
And for the record, having worked as a dishwasher, bus boy, prep cook, waiter, and host at many a restaurant in my youth, I assure you, the best food in America is prepared, cooked, and served by stoners, and stoners are cleaning up after you.