Ruth was a free spirited waitress I'd met at the Onyx Cafe right before I started school at Sonoma State University. Ruth was nine years older than me and had been around the block at least twice. She was tired of Los Angeles, too, so when I asked her to join me, she just packed up her things and led the way.

We lived out of our cars for a few days before we finally rented a room in a new suburban tract home owned by the son of the developer. Within days, Ruth started to freak out. The smell of the new carpet was giving her headaches and the conformity of all the new homes was making her paranoid.

So, of course, she turned to drugs.

One day Ruth looked me straight in the eyes and asked: "Have you ever dropped acid?"