q + a




newq + atestingarticlesbooksexperienceslinks

Rave as a post-modern hell

I doubt you get too many stories about bad experiences on e, but I have one I wanted to share.

So, here's my story if you want to post it. It's a little long (and maybe not as uncommon as I might think), but it may be informative to other neophytes:

I'm a 31-year-old woman and a law student. When given the opportunity to try e for the first time about a month and a half ago, I hesitated at first. At this point in life, I figured that my drug experimentation days were long behind me. But I ended up taking the little blue pill, and was I ever glad I did!! What an amazing night I had at a rather intimate underground rave.. I had no idea I could feel so good, so connected, so at peace - and yet still completely in control. The music was mind-blowing, everyone was so darn NICE, and the whole experience was basically transcendent. Pretty typical, I suppose.

I couldn't wait to do it again. Three weeks later, I tried it again, this time at a rave/party at someone's house. It was even better the second time. It made me sad to think that other people had never had an experience like that. I so much wanted to share with all my friends what I literally took to be a life-changing experience.

So, two weeks later (while I was visiting the Bay Area), I took two friends to a rave in Oakland, which we found on the Internet. I'd heard about these things, but I had no idea what we would encounter behind the throbbing walls of that warehouse. I so much wanted my friends to have a good time, and to experience the sheer bliss I'd felt before. But it was not to be. Looking back, I realize I should have known the environment would not be conducive to a good experience. But I was so anxious to do e again, and I hardly even considered the possibility of having a bad "trip" with this drug.

We knew we would probably be among the oldest people at this rave, and that was no big deal at first. But I think we were all felt a little funny after a 17-year-old girl came up to us and asked, incredulously: "How OLD are you guys?" She thought it was great that "adults" would come out to a rave! But the e hadn't kicked in yet, and we felt a little goofy and out of place after that encounter.

So we danced for a while, taking in the absolutely surreal scene: 7,000 kids swarming through a dark, warren-like warehouse; sweaty guys dancing around with surgical masks on their faces; one guy passed out on the floor, a little kid sitting up against the wall twitching like he was possessed by some sort of demon and sucking on a candy pacifier for all he was worth. Wow. I was transfixed. So, the e started to come on, and I was feeling OK, but not totally at ease because I'd never even imagined that there was this whole subterranean community of surgical mask-wearing ravers out there. Up until this point, though, everything was OK. My friends seemed OK, too.

Then, I decided we should get some water. I wasn't sure how long we had been dancing, and I didn't want my friend to get dehydrated (this was her first e experience). We started pushing our way through the crowd, toward where we thought we could buy water.

All of a sudden, the temperature seemed to shoot up, and I could barely breathe. There were just too many people. And this wasn't the PLUR-scene I'd experienced before. People were pushing, shoving, blowing whistles. I looked over at my friends. They looked confused and miserable. Oh my God. I had brought them to this weird dungeon-like place, given them drugs and now they were having a terrible time. I felt overcome with guilt. At this point, the e was peaking, and so I guess the mood I was in at that moment was the mood that the drug intensified. I started sweating like a faucet. I had to get out of there! I wanted to get my friends out of there. The music sounded evil and menacing. And the kids with the masks were really freaking me out!

"We have to leave," I said to my friends. And they agreed. We stood around for a while as we tried to get our bearings. I don't think they were as freaked out as me, but they certainly did not look blissful and at peace with the world, as I'd promised. I got so depressed. All I wanted to do was share an amazing experience, and look what I'd caused. I started obsessing and worrying, and my mood bled right over to my friends. The worse I felt, the worse they felt.

We pushed our way toward an exit sign. Ah, finally, there it was, the doorway. But wait. There was a chain link fence outside. There was no escape. Another doorway. Another chain link fence. My other friend (who had done e many years ago as well as acid and lots of other drugs) could see I was beginning to panic, and thank god he took control. I was sweating so much my clothes were soaking. We sat down and attempted to regroup. I calmed down enough to stop sweating (thus, relieving my poor friends of the fear that I was about to have a heart attack!) All I could do was apologize over and over for having gotten them into such a situation. My first-timer friend kept saying she just wanted to go home and go to bed. I felt like crying.

We eventually found our way outside, made our way to a cafe and sat for about two hours before I felt able to drive. We were dejected, frowning, I even cried a little. A complete 180-degree experience from the one we were supposed to have. (By the way, we took the same stuff I'd taken twice before, from the same dealer, so I don't think it was a question of getting bad ecstasy.)

Well, I learned many lessons that night, not the least of which is that environment is KEY!! And these big raves are like some Dante-esque vision of post-modern hell.

It has now been about a week, and I feel better, but I was pretty down, even depressed, for a couple of days after that experience. I almost feel like all the positive residual effects I had from the good e experiences have been wiped out. But not completely... I still think it.s an amazing drug. And I still feel like I can get back in touch with the feelings of empathy and peace I carried out of my first two experiences. I've just learned that you can't be stupid and blase about any drug, not even one with a name that implies nothing but pure joy. I don't know if I'll do it again, but if I do, it certainly won't be at a huge rave.