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Greg Botwin, age 27, has owned a dog for seven years, and today is the first time he hasn’t been high while walking him. The experience has been less than stellar.
“I never realized how boring walking a dog can be,” said Botwin. “Everything’s so... not euphoric. I used to stare blankly into space the whole walk and think about how soft a bathtub full of marshmallows would be, or how amazing it looks when boobs jiggle in slow motion, or I’d daydream about breaking into a candy factory at night and jumping into a huge vat of chocolate. But now those daydreams all seem really stupid, and I’m realizing how much I hate walking this god-forsaken dog.”
Botwin always smokes a bowl after getting home from work, making walks with the dog pleasant and calming. But today he has to attend brunch with his future in-laws, so he’s unable to get high. As a result, his walk with the dog has become a tension-filled nightmare.
“I just wanna shout ‘HURRY UP’ at him, like, every five seconds,” said Botwin. “Does the dog always walk this slow? Does he always sniff every single damn thing on his way around the block? I mean, I can understand hitting up all the trees, or even all the signposts and fire hydrants, but why is he stopping to pee on that wall? That’s not even a plausible thing a dog can own. Good lord, dog! Just keep walking for, like, five seconds without stopping! Just c’mon already! Can we go, dog? Is your royal highness satisfied? Jesus.”
Stopping to say hello to the overly attentive dog’s various neighborhood friends has also become a hassle. As it turns out, most who regularly stop to pet Botwin’s dog are homeless vagrants or gibberish-spouting drug addicts. Botwin never used to notice when he was high.
“Sweet Christ, that guy smells like he ate a soiled diaper and then barfed it up on his own shirt,” said Botwin, realizing now why his garbage disposal of a dog was so drawn to these people. “How does he not notice that he pooped his own pants five days ago? It’s unbelievable. I can’t even describe the smell with words. If the weed I was smoking made me okay with this, then I’ve been underpaying for it.”
The dog’s other neighborhood friends are mainly lonely elderly people who like to tell stories in a calming voice. One such man, who only wished to be referred to as “Mr. Sprinkles”, seemed overwhelmingly delighted to see Botwin and his dog.
“Ugh, he’s the nicest old man and I can’t bear to tell him how boring he is,” said Botwin. “When I was high, I thought his stories were entertaining, but I’m realizing now that he’s just an old drunk rambling on about Vietnam. His stories aren’t even remotely plausible. I’m pretty sure he ripped off that last anecdote from the movie Platoon. I can’t believe I used to sit here for 45 minutes every single day listening to this crap! How high was I? Do I . . . do I have a drug problem?”
As Botwin lamented on the shambles that make up his life, the dog began gnawing on a dead squirrel decomposing on the sidewalk.
“Hey! HEY! Stop eating crap off the ground!” shouted Botwin, “It’s so weird. When I was high, I never cared about him eating garbage. Now all I can think about is how he’ll puke all over the carpet later. Nicole and her parents will want to visit after brunch, so I’ll probably have to be sober while cleaning up his puke, too. Ugh. It used to be fun to do that.”
While many people have bad drug experiences that cause them to become paranoid and unable to control their emotions, the effect was reversed for Botwin. What would have been a calm and peaceful brunch while stoned was now likely to become an angst-filled never ending argument with his future in-laws fueled by Botwin’s bad mood.
“Dog, can you just walk already?” Botwin mumbled under his breath, as the dog stopped to mimic peeing on a discarded fast food wrapper. “You don’t even have any ammo left. He’s literally out of pee, yet he’s still stopping every three feet to lift his leg and pretend to urinate on every tree, bush or random piece of garbage. This is just maddening. I don’t know how people put up with this.”
The experience of taking a dog on a 15-minute walk while sober has been so unbearably infuriating for Botwin that he says he may swear off sobriety for life.
“I’m never walking my dog sober again,” said Botwin, wiping a tear from his eye, his voice shaking. “Whatever the opposite of straight edge is, that’s what I’m doing. Today has been very painful and eye opening. This experience has changed my life. From now on, I promise I will be high as all hell when I walk the dog. It’s better for him, and it’s certainly much better for me.”