Posted on by Lee Richmond
On a March evening, we were sitting around the Apartment (Bill, Clif & Marty’s place) smoking pot and listening to Miles Davis. ”I’m about ready for another acid trip.” ”Yeah, me too. What about Lee? Should we bring Lee along?” ”Yeah, Lee’s cool.” It was a great honor to be ‘cool’ in this group. Deep down, I had in my heart felt ‘cool’ since I first read “On the Road” in 11th grade and discovered what ‘cool’ was; but actually getting there, snared as I was in middle-class conventions and academic expectations, was a path that I couldn’t seem to even find, let alone take. San Francisco was changing that. The winter rain was gone, and every day I was walking the streets, cool and serene, riding the cable car, sitting by the dock on the bay, watching seals playing on the ocean rocks, lying on a lawn in Golden Gate Park smoking a joint and watching the big trees toss in the wind. ”What do you think, Lee? Want to take an acid trip?” ”Sure! Sounds like a great idea!” Actually, I had no idea what I was signing up for. People had been talking about “acid” (LSD. d-lysergic acid diethylamide) for years; the reported effects ranged from euphoria and enlightenment to terror and psychosis.But these acid-trip veterans my new friends seemed whole and sane, and I figured I was cool enough to handle it. There were two schools of thought about acid trips: Dr. Timothy Leary of Harvard insisted on a totally calm, controlled environment where the drug could manifest itself without distractions. Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters preferred an atmosphere of total chaos, where you never knew what sudden interruption would get refracted through the weird prism of LSD. Gary and his friends were firmly in the Leary camp. A week later at Gary’s place, he locked the door. The shades were drawn, telephone unplugged, plenty of music and food and art supplies on hand. The capsule full of brownish powder sat on my palm. “Here we go!” said Clif.