During an interview with The Breakfast Club, Senator Kamala Harris confessed that she smoked weed in college, and “did inhale.” It’s a tale as old as time: Charlamagne Tha God asked what music she listened to, and she responded “definitely Snoop. Tupac for sure.” Controversy erupted when reporters pointed out that Harris graduated from undergrad in ‘86, and both rappers didn’t debut their music until the 90s. Her critics have it wrong—I would know, I smoked weed with her.
I remember it like it was yesterday, give or take 35 years. The future California senator pulled out a doobie after Intro to Poli Sci, cranked up the radio from her backpack to Snoop, and asked me for a lighter. My backpack those days was home to only my textbooks and a backup pair of leg warmers. Harris walked away. But turning around, my gawking stare directed at her bold resolve must have sparked some curiosity within her. “C’mon, kid,” she said, as she signaled for me to join her. “Are we smoking or what?” I’ll admit I was intimidated; a random girl from my class was talking to me, a freshman without many friends. But nevertheless, “Gin and Juice” was on, and so I wiped the sweat from my palms off on my hammer pants.
We sat on a bench by Randolph dorm, passing the blunt back and forth, not caring who saw. It was the 80s, and the carelessness of the era seemed to follow us everywhere we went. “F*ck the war on drugs,” she said after a long drag. “F*ck the establishment. And f*ck Reagan. If I ever end up like him…” Her voice trailed off, like smoke into the crisp October air. She laughed as I coughed; it was my first time smoking pot, and Harris knew. “Am I doing it right?” I managed to sputter. “Take a deep breath, and relax.” I did as she said, and as that fire filled my lungs, I felt my anxious body finally relax.
The two of us became fast friends. We settled our munchies at Marketplace, feasting on pizza and frozen yogurt. Our conversation was boundless, a medium for escaping the confines of time and space: classes, class, our favorite Tupac songs. Nothing was off limits. We dreamed about the future. I wanted to be a writer, sharing my experiences with the world. And Kamala? With a gleam in her eye, she shared that she just wanted to make something of herself. Maybe politics, maybe academia. “You could be President one day,” I told her, inspired by this shared vision of the future I was now privy to. “Maybe,” she said, shaking her head.
Our imaginative moment passed. “You won’t believe what I have in my room,” she whispered across the booth, giggling as we came down from our high. I wouldn’t have believed it: the desk drawers of her Alspaugh single were filled to the brim with weed-infused edibles. Though my first impulse was to ask, “you can eat pot?” I managed to slip a quick “far out,” trying to keep my cool. F*ck it, right?
We each took a bite, and soon found ourselves at Shooters 1. It was 80’s night themed—like every night. Glam metal was in its peak, and so was I. “Let’s go request a song, I’m not much of a Bon Jovi girl,” Harris screamed as we each handed a fiver to the bouncer. So we headed to the DJ, and soon “California Gurls” blasted from the speakers. Greetings loved ones, let's take a journey. And a journey I did take: I danced in a cage. I puked in the bathroom. I ate my first Waffle House. All with my new friend, Kamala.
Anyways, the rest is history. We remained friendly for the rest of our time together at Duke. Kamala graduated, took a job as California’s Attorney General, and is now running for President of the United States. I’m still at Duke, writing columns for the Chronicle, and smoking dope with any Presidential hopeful that comes my way. Harris and I grew apart, keeping in touch through family holiday cards and the occasional Facebook update that rekindles a familiar flame of nostalgia.
How do I explain the anachronisms of undergrad? The Mandela effect. A mixtape that leaked to radio stations. I don’t know—it was the 80s, and anything was possible. They say that pot impairs memory, but I never did forget that fateful Wednesday afternoon right as the season was changing. The weed was strong, the hip-hop stronger, and I… well, I finally felt like I belonged.
Jordan Diamond is a Trinity sophomore. His column, “Diamond in the Rough,” usually runs on alternate Mondays. His editor would like you to know, in case you could not tell, that Jordan Diamond is joking, has not actually been a student since 1985 and has never, to her knowledge, engaged in illegal behavior.
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