This post is about 420, but since it’s a week late, I am calling it 427. I live in Boulder, and last year 10,000 people gathered on campus to smoke marijuana at 4:20 pm on April 20th. This year, the police and school closed the campus to all but students, checked ids, rode around on motorcycles, blocked every intersection and got the crowd down from 10,000 to 300.
And guess what else? I was required to take a drug test sometime between 4/20 and 4/24. I love irony, and I hate waiting in lines, so I went to the lab on 4/20. The boys were both home that day and they had been fighting, so I made them come with me, as a form of discipline. Those boys hate to run errands. But they are naturally curious, so they wanted to know what was going to happen. I said, “You’ll sit in the lobby while I pee in a cup in the bathroom.” BORING! So I thought a little harder and I said, “Well, actually I don’t know. Maybe they’ll take some of my blood to study, or some of my hair, or scrape the inside of my check, or put me in an interrogation room with really bright lights and give me a lie detector test.”
Then I shrugged and said, “Who knows?”
Jack has said he wants to be a scientist who works in a lab, or a doctor, or make movies, or write stories, so he was excited to go to the lab. We walked in, and the guy asked for my paperwork, which I did not bring because I had all the info on my fancy phone. This caused a lot of eye rolling and scowling to happen, while I read 8 numbers out loud instead of killing a tree so the guy at the lab could read 8 numbers off a piece of paper.
Next, I left the boys in the lobby and went into a room a few feet away. This room had one of those chairs that you sit in to have blood drawn, and needles, and vials, and a bright light, but no lie detector test. I started to wonder if I was going to have my blood drawn after all, and I was also wondering if the boys would be interested in seeing such an event, or if that would scar them for life, and also, was it a good idea to leave them in an empty waiting room that at any moment could be full of suspected drug users such as myself? (Note, my drug test was a work requirement, not some sort of court ordered thing.)
So I said, as the guy with the elaborate neck tattoo was snapping on some rubber gloves, “Oh! Am I going to have blood drawn?”
And he sneered, “No, but I am not touching your URINE.”
And that is when the experience of having to pee in a cup became really awkward.
I think I just stood there, stunned, for several moments, with my mouth hanging open. I didn’t bother to explain that I wasn’t asking about the blood because of the gloves, but because I had worked my imagination into a frenzy. Plus the first thing that came to mind to say was, “I was just asking because I thought my kids might want to see how blood is drawn.” Because, I realized, that sounds crazy.
Then he handed me the jar and said, “The bathroom doesn’t work, so head to the one at the end of that long hallway.”
I walked past the kids with my jar, and past a lot of offices with big windows that looked out into the hallway, and then I walked back with my jar full of pee. And I was a little sad that my ironic story of the 420 drug test became the embarrassing story of a sneering lab technician that assumed I thought my pee was worthy of being touched by his bare hands.