Sex & Drugs & New Age Music: My Search for Enlightenment in the 90’s
(Click here for Part Two!)
Her face is frozen in a goofy smile. Eyes glazed over, body suddenly unmoving beneath me. My first thought is that maybe I am doing something wrong. I lift my head and look into her vacant eyes, “Are you trying to tell me something?”
Then I see it. A thin trickle of blood coming out of the side of her mouth. “Oh my God. No, no!”
Her face registers nothing as I pull out of her, a gooey strand of sexual fluid still connecting our genitals as I look at her motionless body on the bed. My goddess, my Buddha-girl, my hot little green eyed, blonde gypsy princess.
More blood. Is she dying?
I am distraught. Run to the door yelling “Somebody help me, please, we need help!”
It must be her diabetes. Kristina is an insulin dependent diabetic. Five times a day she pricks her finger and drips a droplet of blood onto her handheld blood sugar meter. Before every meal she injects herself with insulin using her little disposable syringes, always trying to calculate the balance.
Thing is though, Kristina usually errs on the side of too much insulin and too little blood sugar. She does this intentionally, because while the symptoms of low blood sugar are obvious —high blood sugar will go unnoticed until years of it create the kinds of irreparable damage that lead to blindness or amputation.
Being a dyed-in-the-wool bliss-chaser, Kristina also loves the initial altered state of having the kind of low blood sugar most of us never experience. She is usually convinced that it is a sign that all of her meditation, yoga and psychedelic experimentation is bringing about a transformation in how she experiences reality. One of the first things LSD does to your brain? Reduces blood sugar levels.
So when her blood sugar first dips down low, it reminds her more of coming on to Acid, than of the fact that she had better eat soon…
We’ll be sitting at a beautiful restaurant, stone cold sober, waiting for Aloo Gobi and Saag Paneer, sincerely commenting on how our waiters are without doubt the most enlightened people we come across in India, when her eyes will light up, a sly smile on her face as she begins moving her hands around in front of her face like a Deadhead.
“Julian – I am starting to see trails! Everything is getting really magical!”
This is of course fun, but I know that if the food doesn’t arrive soon (and I am not able to convince her that eating it is a really good idea) I may be cradling her head in my hands on the floor of the restaurant trying to get her to drink something high in sugar through a straw. Weirdly, the longer she stays in this semi-psychedelic low blood sugar revery the more resistant she becomes to eating anything —and especially to being told she should eat anything.
She will construct absent minded yet elaborate arguments, usually in a prim and proper English accent meant to playfully mock my serious tone, for why it is more important to stay in her extraordinarily interesting reality, and ask pointedly why I am interfering.
On other occasions she has miscalculated the amount of insulin to take before sleep. In the dead of night she is sweating profusely, convulsing in the bed. Trying to wake her brings forth a primitive creature who is certain I mean her harm. Once, she leapt out of bed and spun in a circle growling, screaming — seemingly evolving up the chain of being as her brain came online enough to realize where she was and what she needed.
But by that point the paramedics were stomping up the stairs to my apartment door. She would later be furious I had incurred this expense.
So yeah, it must be the Diabetes. But she has never had blood come out of her mouth, in the middle of sex, while becoming an unmoving, expressionless, vacant shell.
Naked, I throw open the door, screaming for help, for a doctor. Yelling up and down the hotel hallway. Terrified. Why was there blood?
I grab her backpack, remembering that she always has insulin, syringes, glucose lozenges –and oh yeah, once she told me about an adrenaline shot that would bring her out of a coma. I don’t find it.
But I do find her stash of drugs: a baggie of pot, some folded up tinfoil with LSD blotters in it and her Ketamine.
Kristina loved Ketamine.
Basically it’s an animal anesthetic, a horse tranquilizer. Charming, I know. It makes you unable to feel your body and somehow shuts down memory, ego function and rational thought, so all that is left is a lucid dreaming consciousness with no sense of place, time, or self.
Fascinating. Seriously! Some would say being on Ketamine was just like being enlightened, but only if you thought enlightenment was lying on a bed unbable to move in a dark room bumping swirly ambient New Age music and tripping out on not knowing who or where you were.
But, hey —no judgment, it was the 90’s (which are the 60’s turned upside down) and we were on the quest.
My Buddha-girl, though, was convinced that Ketamine was the gateway to an alien intelligence, that when she shot it into her deltoid muscle using her little disposal orange insulin syringe it literally took her flying through the galaxies, and on lucky occasions, brought her into contact with the ET’s.
I had been a yogi for a few years when we met – eating vegan, meditating and practicing yoga daily, certainly no drugs or alcohol. But the fact that she was experienced with psychedelics was a big a plus for me at the time.
Experimenting with mind-expanding drugs in my late teens had begun my path, as it had for so many Americans interested in Eastern spirituality. The list began perhaps with Timothy Leary and Ram Dass, included folks like Jack Kornfield and Stan Grof, we of course imagined it continued with us.
But the Ketamine freaked me out – and the gradually realized fact that she wanted me to do it with her, so that I could validate her experiences and together we could be the ambassadors to the Earth of this alien culture she was in contact with, well I had two reactions to this:
1) I though she must be crazy, and this was deeply troubling.
2) I thought maybe she was really in touch with aliens, and this was very disturbing.
Wait, make that three reactions.
3) I just tried to ignore it and hoped it was just a fanciful stage, the temporary preoccupation of a curious and expansive mind.
She had promised me not to bring any drugs on our travels. Even though you could buy Ketamine (illegal except for veterinerians in the USA) in those little medical bottles of liquid from the local pharmacies, we could be put in jail for 30 years for possession of the drugs that actually were illegal in India – or so the signs all over Goa had warned us.
Now, just to be clear: I had cried out for help, the door to the hotel room was open, and inside, two naked, hippy Americans. He with long shaggy hair and a beard, she with braided blonde hair decorated with cowrie shells —blood on her face, motionless on the bed. An open backpack with a little stash of drugs beside it.
Surely the cops would be called.
This is it. I am done for. Thirty years in an Indian jail, girlfriend dead or in a coma.
“Sorry, sorry, what is the matter, sir…”
“She’s diabetic, I need help, can you call a doctor?!”
“Perhaps if you go down to the pharmacy, sir, you can get her a capsule. Maybe there is some kind of capsule that will help…”
I throw on clothes and explain that a “capsule” will not help, but can they get me a Sprite with a straw?
Their eyes grow wide and I turn around to see that Kristina has arisen.
God she is beautiful. Twenty-Five. Brown skinned, green eyed, braided blonde hair. When we arrived in this town seemingly free of other Westerners, she introduced us to all we met as Sita and Ram. Kristina was an exchange student in Nepal, learned Nepali and is gifted enough in languages to have quickly developed a passable conversational Hindi.
As usual they had loved this, laughed and smiled and repeated —Oh, you are Sita and he is Ram! Very nice, very nice. These mythic characters from the Hindu Ramayana, separated by fate and yet maintaing deep and long suffering devotion until being reunited and crowned king and queen, represented a passionate undying love
Now she is the dancing goddess, glassy eyes watching the trails as her arms trace graceful patterns through the air. A thankfully thin streak of blood on her cheek and chin, lithe body artfully swaying and undulating. This story will no doubt live on in these people’s minds for some years to come.
The Sprite arrives. I talk to her softly, get her to suck on the straw, put on some clothes. I thank the relieved and wide-smiling hotel staff and close the door. I discover that the blood was just from her having bitten her tongue.
“Julian, where are we?”
She looks in the mirror.
“Wow – dude, what happened to my hair?!”
“You had it braided while we were in Goa four days ago…”
“We were in Goa?”
Kristina cannot remember anything from the last two weeks. For the next two days I tell and retell the story of Goa, of the German Cafe and the sunset on Acid, of the caves in Ajunta, the overnight bus from the Osho Ahsram in Pune, my hiking boots being gone in the morning —stolen by the nice Indian students who had sung pop songs with us into the black night as the bus snaked up the narrow treacherous bumpy roads.
She asks the same questions every half hour or so, until eventually the amnesia subsides and all of her memory comes back.
“Do you mind if we trip here?” we had asked the German owner of the cafe.
Looking theatrically at the canopy, the bed-like couch we were sprawled upon beside the low table bearing tropical fruit and strong dark coffee, he grinned back at us “What do you think we built this place for?”