Sometimes we smoke hashish to gain access to deeper levels, the bonds we share, so the spiritual or (if one prefers) unseen and sometimes uncanny connections and coincidences that seem impossible to explain emerge. Whether we like it or want to admit to it or not, forces in the universe operate beneath the surface, some may say in the subconscious or the collective unconscious that give rise to happenstance. The other day I picked up a dog-eared paperback copy of TC Boyle’s DROP CITY (Penguin Books, 2003). Winner of the PEN/Faulkner in 1988, Boyle wrote this cult classic to give an account of a 1970s California commune. Given the west coast, counter-culture is at the novel’s center, perhaps it’s not all that strange that the book namechecks “Sitka” and “Sonoma” in one early passage (p.18) but it happens in the same very paragraph and with the first instance that “Drop City” is called out in the book by its name. Here’s that section, which occurs when our hitchhiker protagonist, Marco while trekking up the California coastlands a ride, and the good-natured bearded driver, belts out: “Hop in brother… Where you headed?” and the narrative continues:
“The slamming of the door, a rattling blast of the tinny engine, kamikaze insects and dust, the rucksack and guitar flung into the backseat like contraband, every ride a ritual, every ritual a ride. “North,” Marco said. “And I really appreciate this, man,” he said automatically, “this is great,” and then they were off, the radio buzzing to life with an electric assault of rock roll.
The visible world flew by for a full sixty seconds before the man turned to him and shouted over the radio, “North? That’s a pretty general destination. What’d you have in mind- Sitka, maybe? Nome? How about Santa’s workshop? Santa we can do.”
Marco just grinned at him. “Actually, I was going up to Sonoma – the Drop City Ranch?”
“Drop City? You mean that hippie place? Isn’t that where everybody’s nude and they just ball and do dope all day long?”
So there you have it: Sitka, Sonoma, and a reference to Dope all together with Marco heading for that mecca for stoners and free spirits. Might one be encouraged by the prose and the happy incidence of language to proceed on one’s own search for new horizons, to explore the world, to open new doors, to light up Sitka Hash to discover a new euphoria?