I’m embarassed to admit it but my most vivid memory of spending a year in Florence Italy (1991) is the hash we used to get in Piazza Della Vittorio. I lived in an apartment nearby with 5 other semester abroad students from around the country. They’ve all grown to become professors, lady lawyers and a dude who married a female tugboat captain. Clearly, I don’t want to tarnish their reputations by mentioning them here.
It was the same story every night; lean out the window of my bedroom and inspect the piazza to see if he was there. “He” was the hashman and though I never knew his name, I’m gonna go with Fabrizio as a solid guess. Other than my Dekalb baseball hat, I have no idea why he didn’t think we were working undercover for a covert international police force. He was always there and always happy to sell us some of his fine product. In retrospect, I guess it’s pretty clear he was so willing and able because he was overcharging us. I’m getting him back by assuming his name was Fabrizio. That’s revenge on par with Montezuma.
We would approach him and tell him how much we wanted in Lire which was fun because it felt like we were buying a dump truck of drugs. “Please, I would very much appreciate Forty Thousand Lire worth hasish.” He would take out a baton of hash wrapped tightly in plastic that was easily the size and color of two charleston chews stacked on top of each other. Despite using a lire amount to approximate the size of the the block we wanted, it always seemed to be based more on Fabrizio’s mood than the weight of the chunk which added immensely to the fun and drama of it all. “Holy shit, look how much he gave me THIS TIME!” Fabrizio would take out his switch blade, look left, then look right, and carve off a chunk of that brick like Michelangelo sculpting The David’s calf muscle.
After we were done marveling at our purchase, we would empty a Diana Blue cigarette, burn off a little hash from the block and crumple it with our fingers onto the tobacco. That mixture would then be rolled into a joint which would generally make you laugh hysterically for 20 minutes then eat a calzone and fall asleep. It never failed. I went to bed at 7:30pm about 50 times that spring.
Falling asleep with a massive hash buzz caused my Somnambulism to kick in pretty hard. I would passout, and then start sleep walking around 9pm while the non hashistas were still up living their lives and listening to Dead bootlegs. I would walk in clad only in boxers, open the fridge and just start eating other people’s food without any explanation, guilt or consiousness at all. They tell me I would just stand there and eat someone’s sandwich while staring into their eyes as if daring them to complain. If they did, I would yell something nasty and leave. I would usually chug Mary Rouvelas’ chocolate milk while staring at her, but on one occasion I apparently started eating mayonnaise out of the jar with a spoon. I guess it was just a very colorful display of my burgeoning anti-vegan politics or perhaps a cry for help. We’ll never know.