Originally published in the Marina Times San Francisco in November 2014
“Sharon, I need your help.” That’s how one Thanksgiving Day began many years ago. With a house already full of family and noise, a glassy-eyed relative cornered me whispering that he’d dropped acid earlier in the morning and things weren’t going so well. “Can you stay with me? Make sure I’m ok? I just need someone to tell me everything’s ok.” I’d never had any direct experience with this drug before, but how could I refuse?
I think dinner was the hardest part for him. Too much chatter in that house, too many social queues that seemed impossible to follow. His eyes would dart over to mine and I’d mouth “Everything’s ok.”
I turned my back on him for a minute. My aunt was cleaning up in the kitchen and had scraped the food off of the plates into the trash. Later he explained to me that the effects of the acid caused the food on the top of the trash to appear beautiful, glistening, moist and inviting. I walked in just as he was asking my aunt if he could eat it. “That’s GARBAGE!” she shouted. “Are you CRAZY?” I redirected my miserable family member to another room where I provided comfort to his twisted perceptions. “Just don’t talk to anyone! Then you’ll be safe!” He nodded solemnly.
We can laugh about it now. The best part of being a member of a large extended family full of eccentric characters is that I never know what to expect. There’s never a dull moment. For that, I’m thankful. And everything’s ok.