Smoking Coffee to Get High Will Make You Feel Like Shit
If you’re in the minority of teenagers without access to pot, you’re liable to do some pretty stupid shit to catch a buzz. Lately, the parent-fear-machine, aka the internet, has been ablaze with warnings about kids smoking coffee grounds. The side effects of ingesting caffeine in this fashion include convulsions, diarrhea, dizziness, hallucinations, vomiting, fever, and a bunch of other scary nonsense that has little to do with the method of ingestion. This potentially fake fad is nothing new; in 2011 a Reddit user outlined his experiences as a bean-head, and a post on Erowid from 2007 summed up the stupidest way to consume caffeine. Obviously, I had to try it out. Luckily for my dumb ass, my friend Elizabeth was there to both capture the magic and call an ambulance if I started hallucinating and shitting uncontrollably.
First we scoured YouTube for tutorials, and after stumbling across multiple videos of grade school-aged children rolling coffee joints using Post-It notes and cotton balls (unfortunately taken down), I realized that it was up to me to blaze the trail. As a veteran smoker, I started with the classic: a spliff.
I pulled out my coffee grinder, cigarettes, rolling papers, a cotton ball, and George W. & Laura Bush rolling tray, and I mixed a hefty portion of ground hazelnut flavored dark roast in with my tobacco. I managed to roll one of my least impressive spliffs to date, complete with a homemade filter, because despite the years of abuse my lungs have suffered in the name of “chillin’ balls”, I still wasn’t quite ready to subject them to something I had just watched a child almost vomit from without the benefit of a barrier.
Out on the balcony, I shouted “TURN UP!”, lit the tip, and took my first drag. I thought I could make out the faintest hint of hazelnut, but beyond the artificial flavoring, there wasn’t much of a difference from a regular cigarette. Perhaps I hadn’t used enough grounds. I rolled a second spliff with twice the fun, and went for a hefty pull, expecting to come up heaving. Surprisingly, the smoke came in smooth, although a bit bitter and lacking in any recognizable coffee taste. I felt stupid and Elizabeth asked if this was supposed to make me hallucinate. I didn’t think so, but I was truly hoping it would help clear a two-day blockage in my lower intestines. I felt a little lightheaded.
As any self-disrespecting toker, I was anxious to kick it up a notch, so I grabbed my vape pen and did my best to clean out the remaining wax before filling it up with some finely milled Turkish coffee my grandmother had given me before going on vacation. I hope she never reads this.
Phantom Shanghai, with a foreword by William Gibson, is a portrait of Shanghai as the city transformed itself in the first years of the 21st Century. Preserved by a kind of benign neglect in the decades following Mao’s victory in 1949, Shanghai was directed to “catch up” in the 1990s. Phantom Shanghai is the record of the unique moment when the early 20th Century city was being demolished while the new Shanghai was being built in its rubble.
Published by Magenta Publishing for the Arts, 2007.
"To be deep in the overwhelm requires not just doing too many things in one 24-hour period but doing so many different kinds of things that they all blend into each other and a day has no sense of distinct phases. Researchers call it “contaminated time,” and apparently women are more susceptible to it than men, because they have a harder time shutting down the tape that runs in their heads about what needs to get done that day. The only relief from the time pressure comes from cordoning off genuine stretches of free or leisure time, creating a sense of what Schulte calls “time serenity” or “flow.” But over the years, time use diaries show that women have become terrible at that, squeezing out any free time and instead, as Schulte puts it, resorting to “crappy bits of leisure time confetti.”"