Be old enough to know better, but young enough to want to make mistakes: 25. Do it not just because you’ve watched so many similar fashion shows that you’re starving for a new way of seeing, but because you’ve been given a second chance to do something you’ve always regretted doing right, wrong.
You’ve never used shrooms before, so make sure you do them with a buddy. Even when you’re sent to Amsterdam for fashion week by yourself, you’ll be at the point in your career where you’ll just bump into people. That DJ or photographer or writer on your flight? You definitely watched Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D-list once together at a friend’s house a year ago. Bingo.
You’ll build up your friendship during the week by having a mutual interest in play-flirting with your Dutch driver. When your friend suggests a night of Ecstasy and the driver says he can get some, inquire about shrooms. He will refuse, but don’t let the judgment set you back.
At dinner with at your new friend’s rented flat, you’ll explain why you’re fixated on mushrooms. The last time you had the opportunity in Amsterdam, you were a teenager and you’d run away from your long lost father or mother or sibling, who’d found you on your LiveJournal or Friendster or Myspace and wanted to reunite with a trip to London or Rome or Paris. You’d gone, but it was too hard and you’d left to go to Amsterdam alone.
You’d stayed at a hostel and befriended some boys who thought you were the coolest person in the world because they were from Omaha or Seattle or Montreal and you’d known who Bright Eyes or Death Cab for Cutie or the Arcade Fire was, despite it being way past the point of meaning anything special.
They’d been awkward, knocked your spliff off the table on your last night, and given you a bag of mushrooms to say sorry. You’d gotten excited by the prospect of meeting back up with your family member at the Tate or the Sistine Chapel or Euro Disney while tripping, but decided last minute it was too disrespectful and threw them away. In time, you’d felt like you gave up an experience you wish you hadn’t.
At this point, you’ll have convinced your friend to do the drugs with you at a show tomorrow. Next you’ll kiss on the couch, while a burglar breaks in. Only find out when you wake up to your friend screaming and covered in blood. You’ll hear something about falling down the stairs and fighting him off. Calmly text your driver to come pick you up and take you to your first show.
Try to forget about the night. Even though all signs point to don’t do drugs, stick with the plan. Buy them at a smart shop. Love how the seller’s blue eyes look like mini pools, and feel comforted when he says Paris Hilton always comes to him when she’s in town.
Make up with your friend and make magic tea. Feel giggly, and go to the show. The techno music will feel like it’s pulsating from out of your heart. A woman will sit next to you front row wearing a soft, feathery bright green coat. It’ll take everything out of you not to immediately tackle her and cuddle her to death.
The show will feel like it lasts 30 minutes, though it’s no more than ten. There’ll be experimental accessories floating off the models that you and your friend can’t stop grinning over. You’ll make remarks that feel astute in the moment, but actually sound like, “This would be the perfect thing to wear to get a pizza.”
Leave to meet your driver, and climb into the backseat, which you’ll think feels furrier and more spacious. “Cool, you got a new car!” you’ll say, rubbing the seats. He’ll look at you and accuse you of tripping. You’ll deny, get quiet, your friend will cover. The driver will say he couldn’t get the ecstasy (not that either of you would’ve wanted it) and you’ll hug goodbye without eye contact.
“I feel stressed,” you’ll say. Your friend will ask, “You have a hotel room and drugs. Why are you stressed?”
Go back to your room, and to feel safe, put on Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” on repeat.
Take a bath. Sit on your bed in your robe. Start hearing people outside your door banging, and then see vampires outside your windows knocking. Feel three hours go by in three minutes.
Remember something someone once told you to do when you were upset: you’re on top of a mountain, all bad thoughts are like clouds coming at you, just push the clouds away calmly. It never worked but now you have no choice.
“The bed is real, Miley Cyrus is real,” you tell you brain. Remind yourself the knocking is not real, nor is the vampires, nor is the time tonight. You can be in control, and you can be stronger than what you see because you can recognize what is an illusion and what is not. Fight with your mind until the sun comes up. You’ll make it out okay.
Do something good the next morning, like go see Anne Frank’s house like your grandma asked you to. Enjoy the pictures she put up on the wall in her room — the art and the movie stars.
Come back home. Feel almost invincible in your newfound ability to edit what is real and what is actually worth caring about.