The Walgreens nearest me — we're talking less than half a mile — has two drive-through lanes, neither of which I used today, reasoning that I was picking up ten prescriptions, and no more than half of them would likely fit in the little plastic carrier that travels back and forth in the same sort of pneumatic tube that's supplied to drive-in banks. So I parked beside the propane-refill rack, dragged the walker out of the back seat, and trudged up to the prescription counter, which, as is required by Drug Store Law, is in the farthest corner of the store.

(What's that you say? Handicapped space? Bite your tongue. I never actually applied for a permit, on the basis that I could reasonably expect to be hearty and hale again in the near future. Shows you how little I know.)

As always, there were three windows; as always, there were only two staffers on hand. I muttered something under my breath and took my place in line, four back. I didn't recognize the young lady at Window One, but I remembered the guy at Window Two, and nobody will ever accuse him of being hyperactive. The transaction took place at Window One, and she warned me that one of these little plastic bottles of relief was going to cost me $105.

"Yeah, I know," I said with my best feigned resignation. "Then again, at retail it's something like eight forty-nine."

"Thank heaven for insurance," she declared.

No argument from me. I swiped my debit card, took the bag of drugs from her, and tied it to the front of the walker. Turning around, I noticed that the line was still pretty long, and a couple of youngish types seemed to be staring at me with a mixture of perplexity and pity. I kept my head down and did not acknowledge them.

While I performed the torturous twisting it takes to climb into my car these days, I wondered if I'd overplayed my hand, if I'd tried too hard to look pathetic. After all, what could possibly be more pathetic than an old geezer in a walker with a plastic bag tied to it? I spent much of the subsequent evening thinking about that, and briefly persuaded myself that I'd misjudged the whole scenario; these whippersnappers were actually silently applauding me for my enterprise.

Yeah. Sure they were. More likely, they'd seen my approach and vowed to say nothing. Then again, I've literally never seen anyone in this store using a walker, other than myself. Maybe they were using the drive-through. (The inner lane, which has an old-style drawer instead of pneumatic tubes, can handle ten prescriptions, according to Miss Window One.) And I swore a swear, taking myself to task for coming up with such an asinine scenario. I don't want their sympathy; I just want the lines to move a little faster.

Oh, and that $105 drug I quoted at $849? It's actually $1,069. Let's have some sympathy for that.

The Vent

  1 March 2017

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