LIDA HUSIK > WORD > A FRIEND   
A FRIEND

Here is how I once lost a friend: we were sauntering down the street in DC, she at a chipper clip, as if approaching an outdoor yoga class, and me in my Keith Richards shuffle as if popping down to the liquor store for a fifth of something. This was the year after high school and I had gone from punk to pothead punk, believing I was the embodiment of all things Keith. I was wearing maroon suede boots, blue and white checkered vintage slacks, and a maroon suit jacket that had belonged to a distant relative who'd committed suicide in the 1940's. Sandy was wearing those flat black cloth Chinese mary jane shoes and a floral diaphanous number. As we progressed down Wisconsin Avenue I spotted a smoke-filled car, not as smoke-filled as the Cheech and Chong mobile, but close. Inside several black gentlemen were passing an herbal jazz cigarette. I shuffled over to the passenger side and lightly tapped the window. The window rolled down and I said 'hey bro can I get a hit of that?' and the guy politely obliged. I toked, passed it back, nodded a sophisticated and hip thanks, and shuffled back to the sidewalk where my stunned friend was now quivering with rage in her Chinese mary janes. 'Any thing could have been in that joint!' she shrieked. I brushed it off. I was now in a happy dream state, not knowing that she would never speak to me again. And rightly so, I guess. But I maintain that it was still a very cool thing for me to do, and that I walked, talked and smelled just like Keith.