Confessions of the sometimes clueless

“You can do it” —Coffee
“You can do it” —Coffee

So, I was in either my late 30s or early 40s before I learned what pot smoke smelled like. It was at a convention in a particularly maze-like hotel and I commented to my husband about a weird odor I had run into out in the hall. He asked about where it was, then laughed and said he’d walked through that section of the hall a few minutes before and it was reeking of pot smoke. “Oh,” I said, sheepishly. The next time someone sat near me on the bus and had that particular stale pot smoke odor, it took all my willpower not to exclaim ‘So that’s what that smell is!’ because I’d encountered it many times before, but never knew what it was.

Over the years I’ve had numerous opportunities to vote on various aspects of marijuana law–each time I voted in favor of decriminalization or legalization. When some early attempts in our state to decriminalize pot outright through initiative failed, activists took new tactics. There was a successful city initiative to make simple pot possession the lowest priority of law enforcement, for instance. That one had a lot of interesting side effects. The city attorney at the time had vehemently opposed the initiative, so after it passed, he actually drastically increased the number of cases they prosecuted. So the next time he was up for re-election, a guy ran against him who vowed to enact the initiative… and he won by a big margin, and proceeded to dismiss cases and so forth.

The first statewide initiative to make pot a lower priority failed, but we passed a medical marijuana initiative eventually. Then finally in 2012 we legalized recreational pot completely. And while there are still some cities that have banned legal pot stores, and a few groups still trying to get weed re-criminalized, the industry appears to have done well.

Despite voting in favor of people having access to weed a bunch of times, I’ve still never actually used it, myself. Caffeine and cocktails remain my personal drugs of choice.

Last spring when we were looking for a new place to live, I didn’t even notice the first time we came to this apartment building that there was a pot store just around the corner. At least one of our friends commented on it as if it were an exotic thing. Another friend pointed out that there is about one every five or ten blocks on the major thoroughfare nearby, that they aren’t really that uncommon. It’s just another of the businesses I walk past every morning on my way to the bus, right?

I don’t remember when it was that I first started noticing the odd business trucks that would park on the street in front of our building on work-from-home days. The first time I saw the Roto-rooter type trunk, for instance, I wondered if one of my neighbors was having plumbing troubles. It seemed as if every work-from-home day I would notice, when I went to refill my coffee mug, and thus walked past the dining room window, that there was some weird delivery truck out there, such as the bottled water truck, or the plumbing related truck, or (this was the one that really confused me) the pool cleaning company’s truck.

One sunny day a few months ago I was getting another mug of coffee when I saw a bottled water delivery truck pulling over to park at the curb in front of our building. So I stopped to watch and see where the drive went. Did one of my neighbors have a water cooler in their apartment, perhaps? The guy got out of his truck, looked around with a definitely surreptitious air, and then turned and walked to the corner. At the corner, he turned left. Which is when I finally made the connection.

It was maybe five minutes later he came walking back, then climbed into the truck, started the engine and drove off.

Now I understood. A guy’s at work, driving around doing his job, and while it might be okay to have your truck seen parked at a coffee shop or fast food place in the middle of the day, you might not want to be seen popping into one of the local pot stores to pick up some stuff for the weekend. Sure, it’s legal, and yes, you are allowed to take breaks on the job, but there’s still a bit of a worry about how it might be perceived. So, you don’t ever pull into the store’s parking lot with the company truck. But, if there is a residential street which often has plenty of empty curb space in the daytime just around the corner from one of the pot shops in the part of town where you work, well, on the occasional Friday you may stop and park there and go on a short walk, right?

It probably would be obvious to anyone else, but it just didn’t occur to me until I watched the one guy go around the corner.

Ah, well, at least now when I give my coffee mug a warm-up on work from home days and notice an odd truck outside, I just smile instead of wondering why they’re there.

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