Most of the joints that will deliver Actual Food to your doorstep have a block on the order form in which you are allowed, encouraged even, to include instructions to the delivery person along the lines of "Don't go down 42nd Street, it's blocked by a construction crew." In the first couple of months of my newfound disability, I used to punch in something like "Customer walks with an appliance and it takes a while to get to the front door." Eventually, as it became apparent that I was never going to rid myself of said appliance, I quit including the instructions; by now, I reasoned, I'd met the entire staff, and they know what they're dealing with. Once or twice, I'd toyed with the idea of "Customer has sworn off clothing" as an instruction, but thought better of it, especially the one time where Pizza Guy proved to be Pizza Girl.

That said, this evening's Pizza Guy evidently hadn't done this route before: he rattled the door rather loudly, but somehow couldn't, or didn't, find the doorbell. I arrived with my usual lack of speed, and the poor fellow, seeing my putatively invalid self, froze for a moment, his face the very picture of "What do I do now?"

I pushed the door open a bit. "Just set everything on the tray here."

"Are you all right?"

"I've been better," I said. Eventually he caught on and dropped the boxes on the tray. He was, however, awfully anxious to get away from the scene; he didn't even bother to collect a signature on a charge slip. I shrugged; I mean, American Express had already gotten in line for their twenty-four dollars. Still, Pizza Guy was visibly uncomfortable with the situation, and I wondered for a moment if my condition was affecting other people, albeit less obviously.

At the end of 2016, CVS, the drug store for people who hate drug stores, disappeared from My (which does not mean "My" at all) Preferred Pharmacy Network. Since one of the unwritten laws of the universe provides that there must be a Walgreens within two or three blocks of a CVS, I duly moved all my prescriptions to that Walgreens. (That law is rigidly enforced near me: along half a mile of May Avenue, there's a CVS at 5025, the Walgreens at 5120, and another CVS at 5400.) I wandered into the store one Friday afternoon, leaving the tray behind, reasoning that the tray made it just a little bit too easy to slouch, and I didn't want to get slouchy if this was going to take a while. It did. And the pharmacy tech was downright apologetic when it was disclosed to me that nine of these prescriptions would be $4 apiece, but the tenth was $105. The poor old cripple before her shrugged; it's not like I hadn't been taking the stuff for a year already. She presented me with a rather large plastic bag, her face the very picture of "How are you going to get this out of here?" I tied the bag grips to the frame of the walker, did a very slow 180, and worked my way out of the store. I'm sure I was forgotten shortly thereafter, but I vowed to use the drive-thru in the future.

Grocery shopping is also an in-car affair, and the Walmart pickip staff mostly knows me by now. But once in a while someone asks "Would you like these in the back set or in the trunk?" I figure there was no need to point out that my walking equipment was occupying about two-thirds of the back seat; I just pop the trunk lid with the remote switch. Fortunately, it's loud. At least I haven't had the idea of showing up at Walmart in the altogether.

The Vent

  9 June 2017

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