I’ve decided life is too short not to share these things.
When Tim and I first started living together in Toronto, marijuana was just becoming legalized but there weren’t any government-run shops opened up yet.
There were a number of “illegal” operations scattered around and they peaked my interest because when I was in high-school, you had to call your friend who knew a guy who knew a dealer to even see a joint in real life, and it was all very shady and secretive. Plus, my mom scared me into thinking that weed was a “gateway drug to cocaine” so I stayed away from it until my mid-twenties when I wanted to see what the hype was about.
I decided one day to take a trip to one of the stores that also operated (fronted) as a coffee shop. Immediately I noticed a nice-looking couple sipping coffee at a table and enjoying each other, but there were zero indications that marijuana was sold there. Except for the giant weed leaf on the sign out front lol. Testing out my confidence – I was shitting my pants – I walked up to the sole person operating the cash register and after briefly looking at the menu of coffee and confectioneries, I asked him:
“Hello. Where can I find the marijuana?”
The man then looked at me with his eyes opened wide and said:
“What? There is none of that here. This is a coffee shop.”
I started to panic internally and thought I had walked into the wrong place.
I stammered “Oh. I…just thought…that this place…I mean my friend said…” at which point the man – who had long blonde hair and somewhat reminded me of Jesus lol – started to dodge his eyes left to right while continuing on a conversation with me.
He was looking towards the nice-looking couple and back at me for our entire conversation and this lasted for about a minute while I remained perplexed. As a social introvert who was pretending to be confident to begin with, I wanted to run the hell out of there…but I had no idea what was going on so I continued to chat with him.
He had asked how long I had lived in Toronto and I said not very long at all, remaining extremely confused and starting to think that I’d sparked up a conversation with some random coffee shop employee who thought I was either nuts or looking for a fix. The nice-looking couple then started to leave and not one second after the door closed behind them did this Jesus looking man say “Go to the back door. Knock three times. Wait.”
At this point I felt like I was in a movie but I was too shocked and confused to do anything other than follow his instruction.
“Maybe this is what Toronto is like…I don’t know!”
I walked over to the door in the back that he motioned at and I would have thought it was either a washroom or employee entrance but it had no signage at all. I knocked three times, my hands soaked in sweat and my heart now pounding fiercely in my chest.
“Oh my god I’m probably going to get beat up or arrested…” I thought.
I also thought “I’ve come this far! Fuck it!” and decided to ride the weird experience out lmao. I heard the lock click open and a deep voice say “Come in…” so I opened the door to a windowless room filled from ceiling to foot…with weed and assorted weed products!
The place had everything from edibles and different strains to oils and novelties! My anxiety lifted and I chose a couple of items to try out, purchased them and walked out. I nodded to the man behind the counter on my way out and thought: “Well, shit, I came here to reduce my anxiety not ramp it up…but all’s well that ends well!”
I realized that the employee likely thought that I was an undercover cop with the strange way I had approached him so I can only assume that he was asking some questions to try and sniff out my intentions…totally fair. And his talking to me allowed that random couple an opportunity to leave before showing me where the marijuana products were hidden…And I mean they had probably just come in for a coffee so he didn’t want to get himself in any trouble if they were narcs…also fair lol.
I saw that same place raided and closed and re-opened more times than I can count on one hand and I’ll forever be thankful for the hilarious experience of attempting to purchase marijuana – somewhat legally lmao – there for the first time.
Tim and I frequently purchase season’s tickets to Electric Island which is a music festival held on the island in Toronto during the summertime. There were two events left to attend during the summer I found out I was pregnant, and not wanting to waste the tickets we decided to go anyway. I was sick with Hyperemesis Gravidarum but had looked forward to Electric Island which was sure to be filled with music and dancing regardless of the fact that I wasn’t going to drink.
I wasn’t showing in my pregnancy and I thought that was a good thing because I didn’t want to feel judged. And I got really excited when I saw that there was a booth offering mixed drinks in these cute mason jars with umbrellas sticking out of them. I thought it would be a great idea to ask for one of the drinks – but made virgin – so I grabbed my money and walked up to the bartender.
“Hi! Can I have one of those drinks you have in the mason jars? I don’t care what juice you put in there but can you please make it virgin?” I still don’t know if it was my pregnancy hormones or just his face but the bartender looked disgusted and said “THE ONLY NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINK WE HAVE IS WATER” and turned and walked away from me to serve another girl. I turned right around with tears in my eyes and told Tim I was taking the next ferry off the island because I wanted to go home immediately!
I spent about two minutes crying until Tim convinced me to check out the food trucks and I became so excited about the food that I forgot all about the stupid bartender and spent the rest of the night eating happily. The power of pregnancy hormones are real, folks…lol. And finally, this one happened to me just recently.
*Suddenly realizes each of these stories are about drugs or alcohol…lol*
The Beer Store
I went to purchase a six-pack of beer from our local beer store, and since we just moved to the area it was a store I hadn’t been to with employees I’ve never met before. About 9/10 times I purchase alcohol I get asked for identification so I always have it ready just in case – and I know it’s their job and not because I look young…but anyways lol.
The young fellow at the register said “ID is the spice of life” and I thought it was weird to ask like that but got excited to be asked for identification at all. I mean, I wasn’t wearing makeup and I felt like shit that day so to feel “young” was a welcome surprise lmao. So I handed him my driver’s license and said “Of course! You made my day!” but I quickly noticed his face turning a bright shade of red.
It was then that I realized he’d said “Variety…is the spice of life” because I had mixed my beers into a six-pack of random choices. He was not asking for my identification. “Oh for Christ sakes, how embarrassing…” I said as I paid for my beer and high-tailed it the fuck outta there. That is all…for now lol. Hope this was fun to read. I want to be able to share some of the lighthearted moments as well as the tough-stuff so please feel free to let me know if you liked these!
Kaila A. Notto
Copyright © The Mindful Millwright 2020. All Rights Reserved.