Tonight we went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription that the doctor had ordered today. Nothing is seriously wrong – just needed a prescription cream for a skin rash. The doctor said the pharmacy would have it a bit later in the day, so we waited until around dinner time to go. First mistake! Trying to do anything at 5 p.m. on a Friday night is usually a bad idea.
We compounded this error in judgment by getting into the drive–through lane. It seemed like a good idea, since there were only three cars in line and since there is a pandemic, we could minimize human contact. This was our second mistake.
After about eight minutes of waiting, the first car finally moved. That meant two cars were in front of us. We played a game of Scrabble, discussed our dinner plans, and commented on every car that drove by. After another eight minutes, we began to agree that we might have been better off going into the pharmacy to get the prescription. On the 20th minute of waiting, the first car in line pulled away.
Now we were just one car from the promised land – that being the squawk box in which we could request our medication. We would have pulled out and gone to the parking lot, but there were now two cars behind us, effectively blocking us in to the lane.
This brought back a memory from 20 years ago. I had dropped my husband off for a meeting and was supposed to pick him up in one hour. I drove to the store and picked up a couple of needed items, carefully placing the bag in the backseat. Having a half hour to spare, I decided to surprise him by getting the car washed.
I got into the car wash line, which apparently was the exciting afternoon activity that day. I was about 5 cars behind the one in the actual wash. Listening to the radio, I watched for the door to slide open, indicating the next car could go in.
It didn’t appear to move. In fact, it took so long, I began to wonder if it was broken. Finally, after about six minutes, the door slid upward and the next car in line moved ahead.
I quickly calculated that at six minutes each, it would take another 24 minutes to get through the line. This would make it difficult for me to be back on time, but I’d likely only be a few minutes late.
What I didn’t realize is that the car in the wash had been in the actual wash longer than I had been in line. The actual time of a single car wash was ten minutes. By the time I figured that out, I was the third car in line and I had about 13 minutes to pick up my husband. On my left were a row of bushes and on my right was a long concrete wall.
I looked in my rearview mirror to see if I could back out, but there were three cars in line behind me. Unless I wanted to get out and ask each of these drivers if they would consider backing up, too, I was stuck.
So I waited, impatiently. This was before the era of cell phones, so I had no way to let my dearest know I was going to be about 17 minutes late. The more impatient I became, the longer it seemed to take each car to get through.
When it was my turn to put in my money, I punched the car window button viciously. I was so frustrated by my own tardiness and the length of this car wash that I inadvertently pushed two window buttons down at the same time – my window, and the passenger window behind me in the back seat.
This fact I did not realize until I finally got into the car wash and the water began to spew. At first, I didn’t know what was making the back of head wet. When I realized the back window was down, I stabbed at the button. But instead of raising that window, I had made my window retract. Now, the entire left side of my body was getting drenched.
I was finally able to get both windows back up, which seemed to take a forever. I was soaking wet, as were the groceries in the back seat.
I was also 25 minutes late picking up Matt, whose mood did not improve upon seeing the wet interior.
But every experience teaches us something. That’s why I was not surprised to find, when we eventually reached the actual box to talk to the pharmacist, that my prescription was not ready. It wouldn’t be in until Monday, and did I really need it tonight? was the question she posed. Instead of making a sarcastic response, I simply indicated we’d return Monday. We didn’t inquire why they hadn’t called to inform us of this. Clearly, getting stuck in a line of cars rarely yields a happy ending.
That’s my life lesson story today, which I have related in between scratching. Ah well, it’s just another 48 hours of itching. You can bet on Monday, I’ll mask up and go inside the pharmacy!