On the Dundas West streetcar night, the goofy discourse and adenoidal laughter generated by a party-bound clump of teenage boys percolated harmlessly through the Red Rocket's interior.
Their revelry was largely inoffensive. If they transgressed at all, it was merely by having more fun than everyone else.
"We should get some mushrooms," said one of the boys. This, like everything else, provoked laughter.
"What, like some portobello mushrooms?" asked another. Even more laughs.
From the back of the car a deliberate monotone sort of like someone speaking into a megaphone, only without a megaphone responded to this entirely rhetorical question, "The kind of mushrooms you want, they start with "ps. '"
The party posse wasn't sure how to respond to the originator of this unsolicited contribution. Their guffaws were now tinged with doubt. They weren't callous enough to just brush him off, but as teenage boys, they couldn't allow themselves to be cowed by this uncool middle-aged guy.
"Ps?" ventured one of them cautiously.
That's all it took. "I'm only going to give you one piece of advice," said Mr. Mushroom. This, to no one's surprise, proved to be false.
He proceeded to proffer opinions on psilocybins: where to find them, the duration of their effect and which are better, blue ones or red. Mr. Megaphone also issued some warnings.
The boys reacted to all this with what you'd have to call good manners, if any sort of manners are appropriate when drug advice is being given to minors by strangers on public transport.
Before long, two other 50-something passengers in this streetcar of stoners warmed to the topic and started chipping in their funny fungus expertise. One, holding a battered Penguin Classic, opined on the virtues of free-range versus cultivated mushrooms.
The boys were taking it from all sides now. It was as if one of them had blurted out, "What's a rufus-sided towhee look like?" in a streetcar full of dozing birdwatchers.
Realizing they had lost the floor, one hoodie-clad teen exclaimed, in a tone of only partially feigned outrage, "Okay, is there, like, anybody on this streetcar who isn't on drugs?"
Much snorting, boot-shuffling and general hilarity ensued. With that, they had regained the upper hand, reclaiming the streetcar's sonic balance of power.
At that moment we arrived at our stop and exited (by the rear doors). It made me wonder, are Canada's drug czars aware of this untapped resource?
If any of them are still fighting the war on drugs, they should think about recruiting from this surprisingly deep well of self-appointed psychotropic know-it-alls and send them out across the land. Let them visit the nation's cafetoriums, drop-in centres and non-denominational multi-purpose rooms with this mandate: Just share with the kids, man. Give them the benefit of your experience. Tell them everything you know.
The youth will be just saying no faster than you can say "ps."