Since the government went from a liberal house held up by Republican filibustering to a conservative house with undoubtedly more still water, I decided to take a job that wouldn't eat at my soul in a doggie boarding place just in case my unemployment benefits are discontinued. I have been on unemployment for a year anyway, I need to start thinking ahead.
Our orientation was led by a sarcastic, Filipino woman we will call Lynn. She runs all of Human Resources out of a little closet in one of the doggie personal suites. Her sarcasm was so fine, even I couldn't pick up on it. The thick accent didn't help:
Lynn to another new employee, "You got a bad reference. They had nothing good to say about you. Seriously. (silence)"
Lynn, "What? You didn't know I was kidding? HAHAHA"
Lynn, "If you do not ask for assistance when you need to or spend too much time taking a restroom break, I will find your house and burn it down. I have the paperwork with all your address on it. Just kidding."
Lynn, "There is no gossiping here. We run a professional work place where respect is very important. So please, do not gossip. Lucy and Mario are a couple. I thought they were just friends but I guess they moved in together. Who knew?"
Lynn, "I will yell at you, I will. I will make you cry because I would rather approach you personally."
Four hours of hearing that, got me telling her I looked forward to it! Afterward, the receptionists warned me that she has made all of them cry at one point. So . . . not so funny?
The first week at Doggie Boarding, I had a terrible headache. Now, if you read my blogs you know I don't have to be writhing from a headache to smoke some ganja. However, I am professional. At work, I leave my iPhone in my car, I try to be no more than 10 minutes late and I am usually completely sober.
I don't know if its the chemicals they use in the mop buckets or all the dogs, but my head was throbbing. I smoked a little to keep it from turning into a full blown migraine. And, I can say, the best possible way to hear you have to take a drug test is when you are stoned.
An employee walked in, "(to Lynn) Sorry to interrupt but here is your change. Your sangria is on top of the fridge." Lynn, "Oh . . . thanks. (to us) Its virgin sangria."
I thought about taking a concoction to dilute my urine. I thought about turning down the job. I consider it a complete violation to analyze my bodily fluids for any activity outside of the work place. Then, I figured, its probably time for me to get legal.
Em's husband is legal, and I was going to take his reference. But then, you know how you mildly freak out about something and just have to take care of it as soon as possible? That was me. I looked up marijuana dispensaries on Google and found a place on Sunset.
I called up and spoke to a woman, "I don't know how to do this, but I am looking to get a prescription and one of those cards."
Woman, "Oh baby, this is just a dispensary. We sell it but we don't give out prescriptions. I have a recommendation for you, he will give you a deal if you let him know we sent you over there. His name is The Doctor."
Me, "The Doctor?"
Woman, "That's right. Here is The Doctor's phone number. After you get your prescription, come on by and I will give a double discount on everything. Just ask for Flame Swallow."
Me, "Flame Swallow?"
Woman, "Yes. Flame Swallow."
I called and made an appointment for as soon as possible. In one hour, I arrived in a little mini mall in Hollywood. It was on the second floor behind the Wendy's. I walked in to bare white walls and a handful of Hispanic men filling out paperwork. It felt like a temp agency, for laborers.
The male receptionist was behind thick glass and a large sign that said "Cash Only". I only had $58 from my last audience job. No money in my checking account. Hopefully, I could get everything I needed.
He handed me a clipboard to check off any kind of symptoms: Loss of Appetite (check), Migraine headaches (check), Sleeplessness (check). And I am not even lying, how nice.
Lower down the list, I had to initial and sign that I would not smoke and drive (cough) (check), that I would discontinue use if I discovered I was pregnant (check) that marijuana could trigger apathy (CHECK and a Smiley Face). Finally, I had to acknowledge that this was not allowed under Federal Law. Check. Sign . . . of the cross.
I skipped the section on my doctor and approached the receptionist. Me, "Excuse me, I don't have insurance so I don't have a general practitioner."
Receptionist, "You have to have a doctor. This is a medical prescription and if you have any of the listed conditions, you will have had to see someone about treating them with traditional medicine first."
Silence. I was thinking.
Receptionist, "Just put anybody."
I looked up the Neurology Test Center in Van Nuys, where I was tested for alternative migraine medicine. Of course, the pills didn't work. The pills have never worked. I made a life out of Tylenol PM, a heating pad, and days of my life lost sleeping through the pain.
I finished my paperwork, and soon was escorted back to The Doctor's office.
It felt like I was sitting in a folding chair in front of a man's desk. He had a lamp, a computer (I think it was a laptop) and a painting behind him you could find in any middle American motel. No family pictures. No plants. No stress balls or rubber bands or coffee mugs.
Then I looked, yup, he was wearing a wedding ring.
The Doctor, "Have you taken marijuana before?"
Me, "Yes . . . I am taking a drug test for employment."
The Doctor, "You know that it is still up to the employer whether they accept the prescription or not?"
Me, "Oh yeah, I would normally not take a drug test but the economy is so bad right now."
The Doctor, "No shit."
Silence. He was quickly flipping through my paperwork and initialing/signing where necessary.
Me, "You need more personal artifacts in your office."
The Doctor, "Are you a Capricorn?"
Me, "On the cusp, how did you know?"
The Doctor, "You walked into my office and told me what I needed to do."
The Doctor saw the worried look on my face and winked. "Takes one to know one."
Me, "Its just the white walls and one generic painting kind of put you on edge."
The Doctor, "That's right where I want you to be."
He asked if I had any questions. I didn't. He walked me out of his office.
Me, "This was interesting, between you and me."
The Doctor, "It always is."
The appointment for prescription was $45. I also had to get an ID card which cost an extra $20. I only had $13 left in cash. Shit.
The receptionist was smiling and distracted, then turned to me, "Sorry, its just they make the best sandwich down the street. I had to wait 45 minutes for it, but its so good I don't even care."
I smiled. "Must be a good sandwich."
He nodded and said, "Would you like to get your ID card today?"
I said, "I don't have enough money."
He said, "That's ok, I will do it for $15."
I said, "I only have $13."
He said, "Ok, I will do it for $10. Keep the other $3."
That was easy.
The receptionist said, "Here is your card. Keep this in your wallet at all times." Then he held up a large white certificate with a seal on it. "Keep this in the glove compartment of your car at all times. This way you are completely covered."
I wouldn't have money for the Store on Sunset until the following week.
When Abe came out to visit that week, he was eager to vicariously live through me with the legal experience. He is a little bit of a conspiracy theorist and doesn't want any paperwork on him for the government to "use". So he gave me $60 cash, told me to spend only $40 and parked the car on the street. A woman passed us in torn clothes with sun damaged skin and greasy hair.
Abe, "Sorry I only have plastic today."
I reached for my wallet. I had change. Since I ran out of gas and could have used 4 quarters to drive my car up the street, I caught myself and put my wallet back in my purse.
It was a bit nerve racking. I know nothing about marijuana. I smoke it, but I never started buying for myself until Abe and I broke up, and even then, my friends where picking my ganja for me. I only know two things, "Sativa" which is wakey wakey and "Indica" which is sleepy sleepy.
I walked into the dispensary where a cute, dark boy was behind the counter. I walked in with my wallet in hand and said, "Hi, I just need to buy some stuff."
The Boy, "Stuff?"
Me, "I have this card here and I came by to pick up stuff." WTF am I saying?
The Boy, "First time?"
The Boy handed me a bunch of paperwork. More paperwork. Signing that the dispensary was not liable, that marijuana is a not legal under federal government, not to share or sell to anyone without a prescription, more of the same. I asked to keep a copy of the document for my records. He gave me a look.
Am I the first person to ask that? A signature is your wholeness of being. You should keep everything you sign, something I have been religious about since I saw THE CRUCIBLE. "I have given you my soul, leave me my name!!!"
He retrieved it, without smiling this time.
The panhandler off the street walked in. I thought she was going to ask the Receptionist for some money. The Boy, "Hey darlin'"
He knew her?
She flashed her card and waited on the couch. I looked at her. That bitch would have taken my money to light up, NICE!
I waited for her to recognize me and maybe explain herself. She smiled and said, "You know what I like about this place?" I shook my head. She said, "'The candy."
We were stuck in the lobby, as the door to the dispensary was locked. I tried walking back there when an older woman stopped me and asked me to wait. Her face was stretched to both ends of her jawline and she dyed her hair fire red. Bold choices.
She smiled warmly, as best she could, and I continued to wait in the lobby. I think only a certain number of people are allowed back by the goods at a time.
A professional looking gentleman walked out with two white bags, only a green cross printed on the face of both. He thanked everyone and walked out. I stood by the door.
The older woman came back. She took my arm and led me to a small area with a glass counter and a refrigerated, corner glass display. A huge white board was hung behind the counter with two sections, 'Sativa' and 'Indica'. Then there was a menu list:
Indica: King George, Purple Mr. Og, Hindu Kush, Lavendar, Barack O' Bubba, Purps Mr. Nice Guy . . . and more
Sativa: Pineapple Punch, Green Crack, Trainwreck, Casey Jones, Cherry Bomb, Silver Haze, Snow Cap . . . and more
There were edibles too. Tons of edibles. Lollipops, pizza slices, ice cream, cone joints, pie, almonds . . . it was overwhelming to say the least.
The girl behind the counter was pretty and genuinely kind. There was an older gentleman next to her, slightly overweight in an old polo shirt but a simple, smart and direct kind-of-guy. The old woman, who introduced herself as Carol, disappeared behind the back after assuring me they would attend to me very soon. She introduced me to the girl and the older guy making sure they knew I was a new customer.
I said, "I don't know anything about marijuana. I just know I need Sativa to stay functional."
They brought out about eight different blends.
The Older Man, "Green Crack is great for dancing. You will be up all night having a blast with this stuff. Casey Jones is a vintage blend, a modern take on an old strain. Trainwreck is very popular, Snow Cap is my personal favorite."
It was overwhelming. I could smell them. I could listen to what they were saying. But all the information wouldn't help me make a "right" choice.
I said, "Ok, I am a writer and my boyfriend is a musician. What is best for that? Oh, and I only have $40."
The girl nodded. "Creative and functional. Well . . . Green Crack or Pineapple Punch is good. And on sale."
I nodded. "Ok, an eighth of Pineapple Punch." They started bagging. "Also, I am supposed to ask for 'Flame Swallow'?"
The older man smiled and shouted, "Hey Flame Swallow!! Someone is asking for you." A window in the wall slid open and I saw Carol's face. She smiled. "Did I speak to you?"
I said, "Yes, over the phone."
She took me by the arm and led me around the dispensary, she described all the edibles to me. I told her I was vegan. She said, "Oh, I don't know if any of these are vegan, but I can text you when I make the next order for delivery."
I smiled and thanked her. I said, "My boyfriend isn't vegan and loves to eat. Can I pick up something for him?"
She smiled and showed me a coconut spread and a slice of cheesecake. She gave me both for a couple dollars. I ended up spending $40 total with the edibles and eighth of Pineapple Punch.
Carol walked me with her arm through mine and made me promise I would come back. I promised. Then she took handfuls of candy and dumped them in my white paper bag with the green cross on it. She hugged me goodbye.
I got in the car and had to head to work. I have been working so much, I can barely feel my face any more from general fatigue. Rent better be covered.
As we drove up Franklin, a man on the sidewalk screamed and flung his whole body into the street. It startled me. Abe took a drag from his cigarette and said, "Yeah, I think I have had enough of LA for this week. Time to head back to the OC."
Abe hung out at my place for a few hours while I was at work before heading back to Costa Mesa. He texted me, "Left you a surprise" then "I am so stoned." He got into the edibles.
Abe likes to clean and organize my place. He made this apartment more of a home than I could have ever imagined. Little things like blankets folded in the corner, the purse holder he built on my kitchen wall, the to-do lists taped up around my cabinets and walls. Walking in from work is so lovely when he is still in the air, like the place is filled with orange blossoms.
I got home after an 8 hour shift and smoked a little Pineapple before tasting a finger tip of coconut spread. I deviated from my diet just a smidge out of curiosity. I watched some TV, ate some dinner, then felt the coconut in my system.
After laying down and thinking about Hinduism and true love, I fell asleep and woke up almost dizzy. I realized Abe left a foot long, Natural Balance sausage (wrapped in plastic for my dogs) in the bed with me. That was the surprise . . . to remind me of him.
I texted him, "That spread knocked my socks off. I didn't realize I was sleeping with a foot long sausage until 3am."
I went back into work and informed Lynn about my prescription.
Lynn, "Ok, that's fine. Just give me the paperwork. I have never done marijuana, how long are the effects?"
Me, "6-8 hours."
Lynn, "Ok, don't smoke it 6-8 hours from your shift." She walked away, "Oh!" She threw me a work t-shirt with the company brand across the chest. "Here. Because I don't like you."