In April, as Coachella pulled the focus of the entire media world, I was invited to a luxurious “weed brunch” on the outskirts of Palm Desert. I know, I know, that’s the most Coachella sentence ever written. Still, I hoped attending the brunch would help me understand more about the world of weed, and how its impending legalization in California will impact the state. Also, I was going to get treated like a goddamn queen. I RSVP’d with quickness.
Getting there was an event on its own. I would be picked up in a car, driven to the Santa Monica airport, flown in a helicopter up to the Palm Springs airport, picked up in another car, and, finally, dropped off at Leisa Austin’s Imago Galleries — where there would be food, drinks, art, and most importantly, weed.
If you’ve never been to the Santa Monica airport, and I hadn’t before this trip, it’s an extremely small and secluded place, which makes it much less hectic and annoying than the typical airport experience. Turns out, rich people travel privately for a reason. Our group didn’t even have to go through security — apparently with a helicopter that only holds eight people the rules are different.
Packed into the chopper with a group of relative strangers, I was alarmed to learn that at any point, any one of us could’ve swung open the door. No one did, but that possibility left me queasy for most of the flight. In the movies, you get some sense of just how loud helicopters are, but it’s even more intense in real life. The headsets aren’t there for you to communicate with as much as to muffle the sound of the blades whirring through the air.