Laurie Notaro is an author, crafter, and expert at finding a good cocktail. She grew up in Phoenix, but is currently based in Eugene, Oregon. Each week, she'll be joining us to share a crafting adventure, draw a flowchart, or remember a few of her favorite things about Phoenix. Today, she shares stories from the pharmacy waiting line ...
See also: The Six Creepiest Things Laurie Notaro Saw on Facebook Last Week See also: Laurie Notaro Gets a Speeding Ticket (in her Prius) and Writes an Open Letter to the Municipal County Clerk See also: Five Reasons Why Laurie Notaro Loves Phoenix
There are certain places in a grocery store that are far more dangerous than others, and for the innocent, I'm not talking about the ice cream aisle. I'm talking about the partitioned part where the Vicodin lives.
True, if prehistoric birds attacked the store or if there were a hostage situation, I'd always pick Pill Land over the candy lane as a place to hole up, but in everyday, regular circumstances, it's a terrifying, naked place. This leads me to admit that I'm there constantly because I cannot get my inhaler, high blood pressure pills and my Ambien dolls coordinated at the same pick up, and as a result, I know everyone there on a first name basis.
You're not supposed to know the whitecoats by name until you're at least 68, but at least I'm ahead of schedule for something. Still, when I get the phone call reminding me that my prescription is ready to be picked up, I shudder. If you really want to be afraid for mankind, you don't even need to know who Paul Ryan is. All you have to do is lurk for five minutes by the pharmacy, where humanity is not more than likely to raise its primal head, but also speak.
Six Things I Never Want to Hear While Standing in Line at the Pharmacy (Again):
6. "Do you know where the stuff for lice is, because I can't find it in the shampoo department." Apparently, I don't get it. Suddenly, kids have lice and everybody is cool with it to the point of broadcasting it in public. Did something happen since I was in school that has made vermin an accepted part of childhood? I know bed bugs are all over the place, but really? Lice?
Who keeps going to Eastern Europe and bringing this shit back? STOP GOING TO PLACES THAT END IN -IA, you guys. STICK WITH FRANCE. I MEAN IT. Besides, I thought we got rid of lice and polio in the same vaccine. And to shout it out in a pharmacy line?
This is what I wanted to say to that lady, in no particular order:
1. You are dirty and you should be more ashamed; 2. Put a friggin plastic bag and a rubber band over your head if you cannot afford a shower cap, because one will not be provided for you; 3. If there was ever an unquestionable reason for the Internet to exist, this is it; 4. If my head starts to get itchy and find eggs on my head, I am going to sue you simply for being vulgar.
5. "Hi. I was wondering if you could tell me what a staph infection looks like..."
Let it be known that the owner of this statement did not have a prescription and had just wandered over from handling some produce when she plopped a 5lb bag of Russets on the counter and proceeded to embark on a 15-minute conversation that includes other standout sentences, including, "Infection can burrow;" "Is there a head?;" "Have you tried to pop it?"
Also let it be known that I don't know exactly what can kill a staph infection, but I did feel that time was of the essence. After picking up my Ambien, I went directly to the freezer section where I held bags of frozen peas until my hands burned, and also refused to buy anything for a month at Safeway that hadn't experienced some level of chemical processing and irradiation.
4. "I wish I could show you." It was this event that made me wish that pharmacists were allowed to put out tip jars like barristas because they take way more shit and have to talk people down after threatening to remove vital items of clothing, which is way worse than people complaining that the design on their mocha isn't fancy enough.
Anyway, in this instance, an old man in overalls has a "scaly patch" he wanted an opinion on, after confessing that he scratched himself so aggressively he bled. Despite his detailed description, the pharmacy tech -- who I believe did nails at the mall up until the week before -- kept shrugging and offered an unsatisfactory diagnosis by telling him to contact a physician and not ask a 20-year-old girl who had no more of a background in skin diseases than the kid stocking eggs. Fearing that in impasse had been reached, the overalled man expressed his desire to reveal the patch itself, an offer the tech firmly declined that frankly, made me dizzy.
3. "Smith. S-M-I-T-H. It's for Clozaril. An anti-psychotic. Would you hurry up, please!" Awesome. Sure, I want to be the next in line after the meds no one can find are for the guy in the store that has the most potential to snap my neck like Liam Neeson as soon as he saw me writing a good bye note to my family on the back of my credit card bill.
Now, I'm not saying that there has to be a window at the pharmacy for people just picking up some asthma medicine, but maybe there should be window that is designed specifically for the needs of people who have magical powers like time travel and who take orders from their dogs. That's what I'm saying. We need a window with maybe a tranq gun and a net that drops from the ceiling. Something like that, so when the conspiracy about the lost meds is exposed and that I'm the ringleader, my mother doesn't have to live the rest of her life with my credit card bill framed on her mantle, not afraid to tell anybody that "she was an idiot. She stayed in line for her sleeping pills. And she was paying 22 percent!"
2. "Go ahead. Call the cops. I have a prescription, and the cop already hassled us outside, anyway!" This from the Bonnie and Clyde duo of tweakers that hopped around like the floor was lava and that they each had a hot potato in their pants. Now, maybe my strategy skills are a little dull, but I think the last thing I'd offer as proof that my prescription was real and not scribbled on a stolen doctor's pad would be that I was already considered a person of interest by the authorities before I even got in the store. I'm sure their appearance had nothing to do with it, being that the only difference between a zombie and a tweaker is that a zombie is usually eating something.
This pair got in four fights in the 10 minutes they were in front of me and then made up with each other by picking at their face scabs. If either one of them farted, I was sure it would blow a chemical burn through my leg. I don't know if they ever got their drugs; they were, naturally, standing in the wrong line.
1. "Whoever was in the bathroom when I told you before is still in the there, and now they're moaning."
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Leave it to a lady who isn't confident of the quality of her undergarments to announce that either someone just got high, just had sex or just had a heart attack in the restroom right next to the pharmacy. There is nothing that could make me step foot over that threshold. I've seen what comes out of there and that's enough of a deterrent for me. It was dirtier than the Chili's in Redding, CA, and my friends, that is saying something. Honestly, I've heard sounds emanating from behind that bathroom door that sounded like a rodeo was taking place and that whatever was trying to get away repeatedly kept escaping. Yes, it is true, I have a thing about germs, but that doesn't discount the severity of human debris that occurs within that 20 square feet. Once, my husband, who had been deathly ill for 11 days, came into my office to tell me about the new season of Portlandia, and then he stopped and said, "I know you're not turning around because you think if you don't face me, you won't get my germs and they'll bounce off the back of your head. But I have protected you."
I turned slowly to see he was wearing a napkin around his face like a bandit. So yes, I hate gross bathrooms and this one was the first exit after the pharmacy, so I cannot even imagine the location it has been for which unseemly acts, most of which would have required a forensics team had other people moaned louder and a lady who had bladder control issues not been jiggling the door handle. The manager was still banging on the door when I left, but I didn't care. I was sure that they would get who ever was out of there before it was time to come back the next day and pick up something else.
Stay tuned for new adventures with Laurie Notaro, and catch up on a few classics in any of her books including The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life,It Looked Different on the Model, I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies), There's a Slight Chance I Might Be Going to Hell, and An Idiot Girl's Christmas at Changing Hands, on Amazon, or through her website.