A good friend of mine’s family does this thing around the dinner table during “Family Night” that is called “One Good Thing” in which you have to say something selfless and charitable to others you did during that day. It can’t benefit you – like being part of your job. One would assume that over the years of Family Night and the ever-present threat of “One Good Thing” would lead to good things happening from that family – at least on that one day of the week. This is a good idea and should likely be included in an Omnibus Spending Bill as a requirement for all taxpayers.
But that’s not why we’re here, oh no – I have a story to tell – even despite the commandment from the Pregonaut that “You may never tell this story again”. This story must be told… and it will be, after the jump. Please be warned that I get rather angry in this story involving a drive-through pharmacy and that I use some rather colorful language – all of it extremely useful and apt, though.
Those of you who know me know that I very rarely get what I would called riled up. Hackles raised. Snortin’ mad. Completely ape-shit crazy with rage. I just don’t. Maybe it’s because I have few morals. But there are a few, select times when forces collide that I will get riled. This, ladies and gents, is one of those times. Allow me to set the scene:
Kelly and I were headed off to see Watchmen at the locate theatre and decided to “hop” through the Kroger Pharmacy Drive-Through here in beautiful downtown Hikes Point. There is enough room in the drive through lane for four cars (this becomes important later), and there were currently two. Sometimes it’s just easier to go into the store. It appeared that the first one (a Prius) was being served and Krogers was busy (Friday is party time, yes?!) on the inside, so we entered… THE WORST DRIVE THROUGH EXPERIENCE I HAVE EVER HAD.
Granted, it didn’t seem that way to begin with. We waited. We listened to music. We chatted. We were having a good old time. Another car pulls in behind us, maybe a few minutes into our stay in TWDTEIHEH.
Five minutes in I’m assuming there is some sort of credit card issue. Maybe squirrels ate the phone lines.
Six minutes in and I am planning escape routes. There are none. I wonder if our Prius can drive over a 6-inch concrete curb to escape. Then I imagine the Pregonaut and I beaching the car on the curb and running for shelter as it explodes, likely putting TWDTE out of commission. We would not see the movie then.
Seven minutes in, and some 20 minutes until the movie starts, I begin to wonder about just what is going on up there in the Prius. We have rarely seen drive-through attendant guy. Kelly the Pregonaut wonders if she should go into Kroger to get her script. I say nay and in my mind begin repeating the line from Bob Dylan’s Hurricane - “While Reuben sits like Buddha in a 10-foot cell / an innocent man in a living heeeellllll”.
Eight minutes in and realizing that I am trapped I honk my horn. I have just become one of those guys.
Nine minutes in, I roll down the window and motion to the lady in the domestic sedan behind us that “I am running late now” (pointing at watch) and “Would you kindly back up?” (thumb pointing backwards). What happens next is nearly unfathomable. She shakes her head “no” (little, lowercase “no”, mind you) and breaks eye contact. She has refused to let me out of the drive through.
Ten minutes in negotiations inside our own car break down. Pregonaut leaves the care to go inside to pick up her prescription. Likely the option we should have chosen – but this is a god-damned drive through (more on this later).
Twelve minutes in and I honk again. A little bit of action finally in the window up front. Something is changing hands. Perhaps sweet freedom?
Thirteen minutes in and I have reached CODENAME AVOCADO THREAT LEVEL ALPHA levels of anger. Anger so pure that it’s name is completely insane. I exit the car.
Fourteen minutes in and nearly 12 minutes to the movie and I am passing the god-forsaken wreck of a woman in the car in front of us – #2 in line and only the woman in front of her knows exactly how long she’s been suffering – because she’s the one exacting that toll.
I cram myself in between the Prius and the window. I cannot see the woman in the car directly, but she has a dog and she is likely older. Given what I know about her she is a cruel, uncaring harpie put on this planet to torture me.
I look through the window to see no-one at the counter. I hit the “CALL” button. Somehow, this has the desired effect. The interchange goes something like this:
Young Dude in the Window: “Can I help you?”
Angry Ben: (flabbergasted and not about to answer his question) “Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting back there?”
Me: “15 MINUTES! FIF-TEEN MINUTES.”
YDITW: “I’m sorry about that but there is noth…”
Me: “Oh, I think there is! Either you tell this lady here to pull up, come inside or just plain leave. This is a damned drive-through, not a sit-around.”
Me: “I am TRAPPED back here by some IDIOT who refuses to let me out of this closed drive through. TRAPPED.”
Me to lady in car: “Lady, you need to get out of here. What makes you think you can hold up this drive-through?”
Lady in car: (silence, dog clawing at window in effort to be rescued)
Me: “This is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE.”
Fifteen minutes in and I am back in the car. The Pregonaut returns, telling me that the intel from inside is that that woman in the Prius is a royal pain in the ass (I knew this, but it was reassuring to have it double-sourced).
Sixteen minutes later and I am out of the car, walking back to the car behind us, speaking loudly of my intentions to leave TWDTE. The woman in the car, clearly of low breeding, does not make eye contact with me until I audibly knock on her window. She has witnessed this whole scene, including my favorite part where the Pregonaut returns clutching a fucking prescription bag. I guess there could have been a doughnut in that little, white, stapled bag, but I did not check considering our very presence in line for the PHARMACY is a likely indicator with extremely high correlation for us being there to GET A PRESCRIPTION FILLED.
The conversation between this lady and I will forever be burned into my cortex as my primary motivation for increasing education funds and for the classification of ignorant assholes in diagnostic manuals everywhere. I cannot begin to unravel her motivations.
It begins by her dropping her automatic window one inch. To accompany this one inch of window, she utters a single, lone word:
The window immediately closes with a shunk.
No. She said “no” to me. Here I am, offering what every human being who has ever and will ever stand in a line wants – to be further ahead in line. I have thrown out the boilerplate “no cuts, no buts, no co-co-nuts” rule. All she has to do is put her car into reverse for mere moments and allow us to escape.
I begin to loudly object: “What?! We already have our prescription! Didn’t you see it?! We want to leave this line.”
The window drops again and an utterance less clear emerges:
“You ha… wait in… to get it just like everybody…”
What have I done to deserve this?! Is this Dante’s outermost ring of hell? Where are the cameras? Is someone attempting to murder-bait me into killing this woman because so help me Larry King I am about to…
I stand there again, indignant in the face of this, face likely screwed into a form rarely seen… and then I see her grubby, nicotine-stained hands moving towards the gear shift in an angry, quickening manner like a lunchlady who has had it up to HERE slopping mashed potatoes onto a tray. The car creeps back… I know now is my chance.
We quickly reverse out of TWDTE and cut to the left, intending on going between Grubby and TWDTE, but just as I am switching from R to D, she guns it and flies between us – as if there was going to be some eager yet unlucky soul that would squirt in between us. The last I see of her face it is twisted in anger.
I, myself, am still infuriated. We had 9 minutes until the movie started, but that wasn’t a major concern – there would be previews (actually, no, there weren’t). My fury was concentrated on merely understanding how something like that could have happened. The parts of it were like a hideous, terrible watch or at least one of those Cracker Barrel “time-wasters”. Conceived by ignorant monsters and foisted upon the undeserving.
What could have changed that situation? I’ll tell you what! Sorry, that was a little riled – recounting this whole affair brought the rile back… What could have changed this situation was ONE PERSON doing ONE NICE THING.
1. That fool behind me could have let me out immediately. Or, she could have acted rationally at any point during this whole thing. Maybe she was there for her idiotry-abatement pills?
2. The young dude in the window could have realized that the POINT OF A DRIVE THROUGH is for people to DRIVE THROUGH IT. Compound it with people not being able to freely leave and you get what we had here last week. Rule #1 in any drive-through is through-put. Number of people served and how quickly you served them. If a customer has a large or complicated order, you ask them to come inside or pull ahead. Otherwise you defeat the purpose of the drive-through and also defeat it in the minds of people like me who will think twice about entering TWDTE and might – might – even write about it on the Internet.
3. The lady in the car with the dog. How goddamned selfish do you have to be? 15 minutes. Fif-teen minutes. And who knows how long she had been there! I don’t care if you have a dog in the car. It wasn’t hot outside. The dog is not going to hotwire your car – I know this because you can’t hotwire a Prius!
Just one nice thing. Out of three people. That’s like finding a penny in your couch easy.
So, moral of the story is this – do one nice thing a day, or I swear to god I will hunt… er uh, sorry – a bit more of the rile there.
PS: I used to man a drive-through at a fast food store for some 4 years of my life. I had a car catch fire in the drive through with a child in it. This was worse. “Q: How could this possibly be worse?” “A: You could at least push the burning car out of the drive through and serve the other customers” (which we did)
PPS: English-majors, does this count as Kafka-esque?
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