In all my nearly fifty years, I’d never been offered weed. Not in school or college, not at a pub, club or bar, and not at a concert or demonstration. Maybe I’d just looked too innocent or too disapproving. It wasn’t until last week that I was finally invited to share a joint. The offer came from a person I know slightly, a tourist wanting to take advantage of California’s legal marijuana scene. It took me about a millisecond to decide to decline (so maybe all the tokers in my past had been right about me). Thing is, after she lit up I realized that I had never known how weed smelt: That signature aroma of skunk and burned horse manure. I’ve washed my skin, my hair and my clothes, and I’ve even taken my car to be cleaned, but the smell lingers still. I smell it everywhere. It’s at the grocery store. It came with me to the gym. There’s a cloud of it at the park. Am I having olfactory hallucinations? Or perhaps I have stumbled onto a new truth: Palo Alto’s perfume is the smell of people getting high.


Palo Alto, CA

Michelle is a British ex-pat, mom to two girls, two dogs and two horses, with a vigorous interest in feminism, history and crochet.

Michelle CaleComment