Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Who's Gonna Drive You Home Tonight?

I'm not a fan of drive-thru windows (nor of "thru" being used in place of "through" in a non-ironic sense) but sometimes, it's definitely the way to go. Take today, when we left the doctor's office with enough samples of his handwriting to start a website. Prescriptions for drugs, prescriptions for physical therapy, rules on how to bend what and when and how, and so forth. I took 'em to my Walgreens pharmacy and spoke to the on-duty pharmacist, and told him that I was on a cane (even held it up for evidence) and would appreciate getting the prescription (" 'scrip") in a bit of a hurry (" 'urry") because, as enchanting as the prospect of browsing through Walgreens' stock of half-price unsold Christmas cosmetic packages (Can you believe it; there are bottles of McGraw cologne priced to sell for that man in your life who wants to smell like Tim McGraw smells!), suppositories, first aid supplies and family planning products normally would be on a chilly Monday afternoon, I needed to get home and give my sciatica a rest. The clerk pointed out that they were really backed up and I would have to wait at least a half an hour, at which time I opted to go home and come back later.

I remember stuff, like the friend who worked at Wendy's and told me that today's unsold hamburgers were tomorrow's chili, and the pharmacy clerk who confided that the twenty-minute rule was inviolate in the store where she worked. No matter how slow things were, all patrons dropping off prescriptions were to be told that their pills/potions/creams/lotions would be ready in 20 minutes, meaning that the customer would roam the store for that length of time, making all sorts of impulse purchases - usually a big bag of Mr Chips cookies or something equally necessary.

I came home and went back out to the store and got in the drive-through this time to avoid parking and having to walk past the display of beef jerky and granola. And there it was that I saw a sight that enraged me and saddened me all at once, almost to the degree that seeing people from Indiana wearing Baltimore Colts uniforms does.

In the next lane over at the drive-threw (!) was a maroon car. The driver of the car was a frowsy harridan of late middle age. Her hair had been tastefully dyed to match the color of the car, but her grooming was the last thing on my mind. She seemed unacquainted with the procedure. She had parked about five feet away from the mic/speaker and vacuum tube terminal, so instead of re-docking her PT Cruiser, she chose to lean out of the car and howl at the cashier from twenty feet away, without benefit of amplification. I was therefore privy to her plans for "gettin' them pills and takin' 'em on home," as well as to her side comments about how "friggin' cold" it was. But, once her colloquy with the clerk was over, she closed her door.

And she lit up a cigarette, joining a younger woman whom I took to be her daughter in the time-honored tradition. Hey, free country, and if you both wanna smoke 'em up in your own car, enjoy yourselves, hon.

And how I wish I had not craned my neck 10 more degrees to the east, but I thought I saw a deer in the field by the drugstore. No deer, but when I looked in the back of the termagant's car, there was a little bitty baby girl, all dolled up in a pink blanket in a pink car seat with a little pink knit hat on her head and a sweet little pink face with a teeny pink mouth and nose breathing in the foul gray smoke these lovely ladies were spewing.

Ruined my day.

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