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The Long Road To Woodstock---At The Seattle Olympic Hotel, We Make Friends (Perhaps The Wrong Kind Of Friends)

In 1969, Seattle was a drug taker's paradise. I don't remember the name of the underground newspaper in Seattle back then, but the first time I opened it, I remember being astounded because it had a graph, each week, that listed all the available drugs in town (including heroin, which it stated was listed "for informtional purposes only.")

There might be five or six kinds of acid, three or four kinds of mescaline, other chemicals, pot, hash, cocaine, you name it. I think they told you the availability and the quality. The list was updated each week.

In theory, I was fine with all this. I was all for drug-taking. Back east, a guy who was a friend of a guy on my corridor went to New York every other week and brought back a key (kilo) of hash. Since I was a friend of a friend, I didn't want for sustenance.

However, unlike 95% of my friends, I thought it was important to study and make decent grades. And at school in Philadelphia in the days of Frank Rizzo's police, you didn't want to risk getting busted. One night, looking for some adventure (and a place to light up), all the other guys wanted to go climb a fence and enter an old classroom that was scheduled to be torn down for new construction, I told them I thought that was a crazy idea and to count me out. They more or less called me a wuss, but they didn't go.

So living in Seattle in the midst of that great pharmacy, I was tempted, but not too tempted. I wasn't going to go buy some pot from some guy standing on a street corner I didn't know. I might get arrested, or, worse, I might get ripped-off.

Alas, I was working in a hotel. The food service industry, in case you didn't know, is a haven for the merchandising of all-things narcotic. I hadn't been in the hotel that long when one of the cooks came through the employee cafeteria and introduced himself. We probably hadn't been talking more than a sentence or two before he let me know that if I ever wanted anything, he was the Go-To Guy. There were twenty cooks in the kitchen, I remember him saying, and he had turned them all on. And there were ten chefs, and five of them had succumbed to his ministrations. If I cared to look at his locker sometime, he would show me his pharmacy.

Let's just say the pan was hot, the hook was set, the trap was baited, the bacon was burning, the toast was buttered, and, luckily, we survived to tell the tale.


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Uploaded on July 4, 2009