Bill DeMarco Rates the Top 50 Starbucks in LA: This Week: #12

bill demarco#12: the Starbucks at Glendale and Fletcher

The 110 can be a demanding mistress. I know what makes her nipples hard. I tickle the carpool lane at 68 knots. A balloon with a wig on it floats in the passenger seat. Every so often I turn and move my lips. Works like Alka-Seltzer. Some play baccarat. My poison is California’s carpool lanes. Saturday on the freeway to Burbank and points north–I’m in heaven.

Or purgatory. I didn’t notice the Vanagon until it sliced in front of me for the third time. Stupid. Some people wouldn’t know a carpool lane from a glass of Mondavi Shiraz. This guy for instance. You play the carpools you’re going to get moist. He cuts me off a fourth time when I see what I’m up against–his vanity plates say VANAGON. Of course. Car: Vanagon. Plates: Vanagon. Who’s driving? A Vanagon probably. The game is joined my friend.

shrimp tempuraFirst things first. I pull off the highway and into the #12th best Starbucks in LA at Glendale and Fletcher. I don’t usually cotton to Starbucks in strip malls (?????–ed.) but this one gets on my good side. Good coffee. And nothing washes down a good cup of coffee like a bowl of shrimp tempura. I go in search of it. Nada. What kind of strip mall is this? I get a haircut instead. That calms my nerves.

But not for long. VANAGON is back. What does he want? Real estate? I’m giving him three car lengths, any more we’d still be in escrow. His windows are tinted. vanagon His soul is tinted. I inch closer. He jams on the brakes. I swerve right. He swerves with me. Not on a first date, buddy. We parry and thrust for a quarter-mile. Then a tire blows. I skid over the shoulder and fly off the road into a zoo. My cornflower Ford Fairmont comes to rest in a field of squawking peacocks, baboons, and leopards. Of the 610,000 miles we’ve shared together this one is the most embarrassing. My “service engine” light blinks. My shades are askew. My pulse cracked 90. I can’t feel my left arm but that’ll pass. How did I let him get the drop on me? Viel Glück, Vanagon. You’re gonna need it next time.

The animals are goin’nuts. I need something. I take my wallet out and find a dog-eared business card: “Farzad Mohamzadeh–Chiropractor” My head bobbles like one of those dolls whose heads bobble. I flip the card over, forgetting what I’m looking for. In blue ball-point pen are written two words: “Never Think.”

Now I tell me.