Blue Frost. Photo by Brandon Soderberg/ Courtesy Democracy In Crisis

Right after swallowing a big, unforgiving bong hit of Blue Frost, an indica dominant strain that crosses Blue Monster and Jack Frost that—although it’s 40 percent sativa—feels almost entirely like a lumbering indica, all kinds of confusion set in. About the baffling ’90s at first and eventually about everything else, but then an elusive body and head high and a swell of kindness that more than made up for the strain’s shaky ramp-up.

Begin with Blue Frost’s cool, intense menthol smell and taste that lightly numbs your mouth, which got me thinking back to the ’90s when I was a kid and there was a big deal arrival of a new Kool-Aid subgenre called Kool-Aid Ice Cool that was essentially menthol Kool-Aid—which made it weird that it was for kids but hey, the ’90s—because as Wikipedia says, it “gave the drinker a cooling sensation.” Indulging some Proust-like remembrances of ’90s bullshit past, I went to YouTube and watched a Kool-Aid Ice Cool commercial someone had uploaded where the Kool-Aid guy wearing um, giant khaki shorts for some reason, concocts the “cool” Kool-Aid (in two flavors: Lemon Ice, Arctic Green Apple) in his lab and hands it to a crew of kids he’s hanging out with. “Something’s happening,” one kid says. Another one finishes the thought, “In my mouth.” Then I spotted, below the video, a YouTube comment which reads, “Kool-Aid is a damn pedo, hanging with the kids, wearing only those shorts.”

The internet felt especially weird right then and there, though I truly admired this commenter’s scrappy, poetic syntax and diction. I closed that tab in my browser. I pulled up Netflix. I couldn’t find my phone, which was a few feet from me as it turned out. I went back to Netflix and minimized the already full-screen browser instead of clicking play, then stared for a few seconds baffled, not sure what to do or what I did, and then finally reopened it to full-screen and began season two of “Stranger Things.”

And then oh man, that around-your-eyeholes tingle and an arms and legs and all the appendages lightness, and after that tension flew right out of me, almost too fast. I wasn’t full of anxiety anymore and only the idea of anxiety stuck around: Whatever was in my head that I was stressing about was still there but now in concept only and all the worry, melancholy, analysis, second-guessing, and so on (in other words, the hard parts of caring and feeling) were absent. My Bloody Valentine’s song ‘I Can See It (But I Can’t Feel It),’ came to mind. I had a wide-eyed empathy for the characters of “Stranger Things” and everybody else going through some things anywhere and it was clear to me that sequels, almost always bigger and dumber than the original, are also about us reliving trauma and watching characters we allegedly care about relive it too, which is kind of perverse, and this whole second season cleverly, kindly, makes that clear—its overarching theme is PTSD and the ways that we never really quite overcome. A stoner stoicism stirred inside me, my menthol-ish mouth kept low-key vibrating for a couple of hours, and I wanted to cry.

Strength: 9

Nose: A far-too-hoppy new microbrew

Euphoria: 9

Existential dread: 2

Freaking out when a crazy person approaches you: 2

Drink pairing: Kool-Aid Ice Cool Lemon (some people sell the discontinued packets on eBay)

Music pairing: Terry Riley, “Rainbow In Curved Air”

Rating: 7

Brandon Soderberg was the Director Of Operations and is a cofounder of Baltimore Beat. He is the coauthor of the book I Got a Monster. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of Baltimore City Paper. His work...

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