He calls. Tells me where he is standing, exactly. This is good. I pick him up and we’re off, a ways out of the city, to Chevy Chase, Maryland, one of the upscale semi-urban towns abutting D.C.
He tells me to ignore the GPS and to follow his verbal directions, which I gladly do. I’m taken through back roads lined with embassies and pretty houses. There is little traffic. This is good.
I neglect to stop for a pedestrian who is about to enter a crosswalk, and I apologize to my rider for not being more aware. No worries, he tells me. He’s in a rush. We talk about lights and pedestrian safety and about changes in LED technology.
He tells me that his wife wears lights on her body when she walks to the Metro station early in the mornings, especially in the winter. I tell him that I think that’s wise.
He’s 5o, white, medium height, thin-framed, a lawyer.
He has seen my Nerium car magnet and asks me if I’m in the business. Yes. Do I know a particular person he names? I know of her, yes; she’s quite successful in Nerium. I ask if she has told him about the brain-health product, EHT.
What does it do? he asks. Helps with focus, memory, cognitive function, immune system support, natural energy stores and overall brain health. That’s the quick spiel. What have I experienced in using it? he wants to know. Better cognitive function. I can meditate now and stay focused. I’m calmer. My brain feels more my own. I encourage him to connect with the woman he knows in the business.
And then he drops a bomb—quite intentionally—to blast open the conversational door. Will it help me with my pot smoking? he asks. I don’t flinch. With grace and ease, I walk right through this open door.
I tell him I don’t smoke much pot, but that I’ve recently done some psychedelics, and I believe that EHT has enhanced my experience. He seems happy. He can talk. He can say what he wants to say. He can share a bit of his life with a stranger, with me.
Right then and there, across the street, I see a rainbow on a daycare sign. I point to it and tell him the gods are shining down on us now, pointing to happiness and rainbows.
He tells me he has anxiety and that the anxiety meds never helped him much, but pot does. We talk about drug-policy change, self-medicating with pot versus relying on big pharma. He tells me he gets his pot delivered by a courier. He names particular cannabis strains that he likes and talks about how he can select different strains for different effects.
I drop him off at his office. I turn to shake his hand (not something I do often), and he tells me to first end the Uber trip. I do. Then he shakes my hand, tells me he’ll give me five stars and says he’ll probably buy the brain health product from me. (To date, he hasn’t. No worries.)
Key experience: Sometimes I’m the one trying to open up the conversation to see where we can go; sometimes it’s the rider doing so. It’s all good.