February 6, 2010

The Coffee Joint

Saturday one of my clients was asking about aromatherapy, and I gave her a few pointers for home use and recommended an aromatherapy reference book I thumbed through at Barnes & Noble. "Wow, you really have a lot of knowledge about this," my client said. I love those ego boosting compliments. It’s a great part of the job being a massage therapist. But I was taken back to just the Sunday before...

It’s about 8 a.m. and I am driving from my home in Orange County to Encino, for an all-day Sunday continuing education class in massage therapy. It’s not the far side of the moon, but for many people living in greater Los Angeles, driving to the Valley is like driving to the far side of somewhere.

I had a cup of coffee at my house which had really worn off by the time I drove through downtown, passed Universal City and found my exit at Sepulveda Blvd. I have been to enough continue education classes in massage to know that if they have any snacks at all, it’s going to be all soy milk and raw veggies. I wanted a stiff coffee in hand so my colleagues could silently disapprove.

Just down the street from the class, they had a McDonald’s. Yuck. Too hot and too weak. Then I saw a big sign: “The Coffee Joint.” Underneath it, a big neon sign that said “Open.” I pulled in to the parking lot and found myself looking at a decidedly unusual brew stop. The windows were blocked by floor to ceiling vertical blinds, kind of like the kind I have in my therapy room at the office.

There were three signs in the window that said “Open” I got out of the car and tried the door. It was locked. I’m not too awake, of course, so I’m standing there for a minute or two pulling on the door handle just in case it’s sticky. Then I’m trying to peer through the closed blinds. A couple drove up in a tiny rental car and parked right by the door. I looked. The man was sitting in the passenger seat. He looked like a ‘hood rat. The woman was driving. There was just something about her that said ‘hood princess. We stared at each other for a minute.

I tried the door handle again while they stared at me. Befuddled and irritated, I went back into my car and left so I would not be late for my class.

Odd as all that was, I didn’t think much of it at the time. Later that week, the 11 o’clock news was announcing a new ordinance by Los Angeles County. The video included a picture of businesses coming under the ordinance. “The Coffee Joint” flashed by on the screen.

I’d been pulling on the door handle of a medical marijuana dispensary.

I kind of like the compliments I get from clients, and the ego boost and all that. But I must admit I am capable of eating the occasional helping of humble pie. My spousal unit really enjoyed that story. I’m still working on that slice of pie.


Brad said...

Funny name for a medical marijuana business... mj is supposed to be a depressant isn't it? You were just out looking for the lift that coffee offers and an honest mistake occurred -- I hope the class was good anyway!

Anonymous said...

Brad = Class was very good. I'm just glad I'm not an addict or something... -- Sue P