A Good Drug for a Bad World
Why ketamine is just right for these dissociative times
For legal reasons, I’ll just say the last time I did ketamine was not that long ago, at a house, with two friends, as we played gin rummy and chatted (about what, I do not remember). We each insufflated little bumps off my house key. Soon, the gin rummy stopped. FKA Twigs videos were summoned onto a large TV, and listening to the music felt like when you’re in a hotel pool and you’re 10 years old and you float on your back and your ears dip above and below the surface and you feel all the pain and resentment of your life coalescing around you, concentrating within you, and then you release it, while your dad watches on from a deck chair, not knowing the chaos in your head, only seeing the serenity.
Then I went to bed.
Very hard to describe ketamine, which, unlike shrooms or LSD, does not really make you hallucinate, and unlike MDMA, does not make you warm and fuzzy and want to hug everyone. It’s a dissociative, but dissociation is an inadequate way to describe what it does to your sense of the world. One person told me it feels like your brain is a few seconds ahead of what’s actually happening. Another told me it’s like when you’re dreaming and the person in the dream is you, but not quite you, and your life in the dream is your life, but not quite your life. Also, your body feels like rubber. Another said that our brains are trained to think logically, especially in this algorithmic era, and ketamine kind of randomizes everything, scrambles the code.
Harder still to describe the days after ketamine, and those days, rather than the experience itself, are the reason I’m writing this love letter of sorts to the substance (as opposed to any of the other myriad consciousness-obliterating drugs out there).
Have you ever pressed that little button on a computer monitor where it refreshes, the screen changes color for a split second, and it makes a weird zrrp sound? That’s how my brain feels the morning after doing ketamine. Refreshed. Everything a bit brighter, my head a bit lighter on my shoulders, the world a bit less filled with doom — a miracle, given how much doom the world is filled with and my predisposition to always be thinking about that fact.