Martha Thanks You...
October 11, 2006
After breaking down and begging my doctor for drugs for my migraine, I found relief in a full dose of painkillers taken three times a day for a full 24 hours. With no make-up, dirty hair, and looking (I’m sure) like I had suffered some kind of emotional trauma, I encountered my pharmaceutical arch nemesis at the pick up window. Let’s call her Martha.
Martha and I had a relatively civil relationship until I had the audacity to move out of town for a while and not tell her. For this she called me a word that I’m not sure can be repeated in a blog. Before that I never knew Martha and I were such good friends. As far as I was concerned our relationship was restricted to strictly “Hi” and “Bye.” I didn’t even know the woman’s last name. For God’s sake, you ring up my prescriptions, gum and other assorted sundries maybe once a week. For this I’m supposed to give you my forwarding address? Break the news slowly over the course of many weeks? Discuss the sorted details of my messy divorce? Uh, no. The final straw for Martha came when I had the misfortune to run into her on one of her surly days. I asked her if she was okay. I said it seemed like she was having a bad day. Martha never spoke to me again. All niceties about my son-gone. Pleasantries were forgotten. Not as much as a hello. In fact, almost every time I have approached the pick up window in the last 6 months, Martha has loudly proclaimed she was taking a break and called out “help at pharmacy window two!” as she walked away, laying down the this window closed sign with a smack. If it were the eighties, we might have had a break dancing show down in the aisle between the maxi pads and the hair care products.
But on this day, the day I was at my worst, Martha and I found ourselves face to face with nowhere to run. I surprised her at the counter as she was reaching for tape and she hadn’t the time or the reflexes to avoid me. I didn’t have the energy to wait for another cashier. A tumbleweed blew past. Martha and I stared at each other. Next to me a little girl about Noah’s age made a cute little comment and everyone laughed. This was Martha’s cue. She extended the olive branch.
“So, how is Noah doing? He’s about 3 and ½ by now, right?”
And with that, my Cuban missile crisis was over. We resumed our pleasantries. I got my migraine medication and strode out the automated front doors, a weight lifted from my shoulders. Upon emptying the bag at home, I found the pharmacy receipt for my prescription. It read the amount, date and time, and on the top it read “I’m Martha A, thank you for allowing me to serve you today.”
No thank you, Martha, thank you.