Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Patrick Flynn and Ronald Tipton, 2016.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I am waiting for...Wait! I've Been Waiting So Long I Forget What I was Waiting For

I'm a patient man. I've raised children, have a wife and had a dog. If you don't learn patience then your kids hate you, your wife divorces you and your dog bites you. I have spent much of my life waiting in parking lots and doctor's offices, so I am a patient man.

This past week seemed designed to test the patience of Job.

First was the highly hyped anticipation of Irene.You think of all the jokes about waiting for a woman to get ready for a date, it seemed Irene was taking forever to get made up for her grand entrance.

Then we were waiting anxiously to get rid of the big windbag.

When she finally went off in a huff, we found ourselves waiting for the lights to come back on as she took our electric power with her. We were more fortunate than some, our power was out but 12 hours, and much of those overnight doing sleep time.

And when the power did pop back, we had to wait another day to have our cable services, so another 24 hours of no TV, no internet and no telephones. This came back on sometime while I was taking my morning walk, then went off again in the afternoon and came back hopefully for good after we returned from dinner Monday evening.

So speaking of my morning walk, this was also part of the waiting game. I usually walk in one or another of our wonderful nearby state parks. However, they had closed the state parks last Thursday for the convenience of Hurricane Irene to spend time there alone. Apparently one of her favorite pastimes is knocking trees over and overfilling creeks and rivers. I wondered on Monday if any were now open. I decided to try Bellevue, which is the closest, just a short spin down I-95, where I can often see if the gate is open or not from the highway.

This morning I couldn't see the gate at all, so I went off the exit and around toward the park entrance. It was fifteen minutes past their opening time. I was behind another vehicle who turned into the park drive and then immediately did a U-turn. Ah, so the gate must be down.

I didn't want to turn in behind the guy making the U-turn. I went straight down the road and went right into the lane of some corporate mall. I did my own U-turn around the little island with the mall sign ready to go left back the way I had come, except... Except four million cars were suddenly on this road from both directions. What is this? This road seldom is very busy, why now?

Why indeed, it must have been opening time in the Corporate Mall for all four million cars were turning in. Finally one lane cleared and something slow came in the other and I zipped out and went on my search for some walking room. Talley, I thought, Talley Day Park was probably open. This is a county park with about a two mile walking track that does a figure-8 around the grounds. It wasn't far, I would zip over there.

Did I say zip?

Not so zippy.

I went up Marsh Road and now I had a nut behind me. This was not a patient driver. She was right on my bumper, which I hate. Then she was kind of trawling side-to-side and I realized she was going to try and pass me on the right, on the shoulder of the road. Oh, no, no, no, I wasn't having any of that. I edged over enough she couldn't. I slowed a bit as well.

We were coming to the intersection where I would turn left and I wondered if she was going straight. I was tempted, if she was, to go straight and further impede her progress up the road. See, that's how angry I get at tailgaters. But I went into the left turn lane after all, just as the light turned red against us. This woman went to the right as if to go straight, but instead she turned into the Pizza Hut parking lot on the corner, crossed its lot, exited the far exit, made a left on the cross street, then a right on Marsh, all so she didn't have to wait for the red light to change green. Say, babe, set your alarm for a little earlier next time!

Now I haven't far to the park. I was driving west (or is it south) on Wilson.  I will soon come to a road called Shipley, make a right, go a short distance, make another right on Faulk and then quickly be at the park. I am just beginning my ease into the right turn lane for Shipley when a traffic report comes on the radio.

"Shipley Road is closed this morning between Wilson and Foulk due to a downed tree."

Now I have to go a longer way, but still not too bad. I go straight and eventually Wilson crosses Foulk, where I make a right and head back a couple miles to the park. Won't be long now...if it hadn't been for that sign, "Road Work Ahead" and the flagman on the corner and the closed right lane and all the backed up traffic.

After my walk I planned to avoid the construction on Foulk by turning left and going home the way I had come. No road work on that side. I pulled up in the left lane of the exit drive from the park at the light awaiting the green signal...which never came. I sat there and the traffic on Foulk sat where they were because they also had a red light and then they got a green light and moved and I sat there.

So I made a right turn on red from the left lane. I know, I know, but believe me, there was no traffic coming behind me.

Of course, now I am in the backup for the roadwork with the closed right lane. I use the word roadwork loosely. Yes, the whole right lane and right shoulder were behind the ornate barrier of orange cones, but the work was being done to THE SIDEWALK!

Things off the road were no speedier for me lately. I found my blood pressure elevated two weekends ago. I was in a drugstore dropping off a prescription for my wife and spotted one of those "Take Your Own Blood Pressure" chairs, so I took it. I shoved my left arm through the cuff and pressed the button. The cuff began its squeeze. A little sign said you will have your results in less than a minute. The cuff continued its squeeze. The result windows stayed at zero, unmoving. The cuff continued to squeeze. Time ticked by to the beat of my heart in my pinched arm, definitely longer than a minute. It came to mind I might be in a malfunctioning machine. It would never give me results and the cuff would never release my arm. Perhaps it was a possessed machine in a Stephen King world, one that would soon rip my arm off and beat me with it.

And just as I was considering yelling for help, my results popped up and the cuff released. My heart rate was 66, toward the lower end of the normal scale of 60 to a 100 at rest. But my blood pressure was a tad high. Okay, more than a tad. More like giraffe height. When I got home I called my doctor because my high blood pressure medication was used up and so was the renewal date. The receptionist-phone-answerer-nurse-whatever said she would call them in to my pharmacy. (I take two different pills for high blood pressure.)

This was on a Monday a week ago. On Friday afternoon, after I got home from work,  I went to the drugstore to pick them up. I am a bit of a procrastinator I admit. On the way I glanced at my gas gauge. I was below a quarter. Oh rats, I should have got gas last night or this morning on my way to work. I better fill the tank now.

Easier said than done. At the next intersection was my regular service station. Cars were lined up at one bay of pumps. It would be hard to squeeze in that side. The other bay was blocked off by my familiar friends, orange cones. Those tanks must have already been drained. The gas station on the other corner was no less crowded. I drove on.

This is good, I am driving in search of a gas station less crowded. Perhaps I will run out of gas looking for gas.  Just to keep my mind alert the radio picked that moment to announce places were running out of gas. I came toward another station, but the traffic was backed up for a red-light and I could not see if the station had lines or not. Closer I came and then stopped, again by traffic and the light. Again closer and stop. Eventually I reached the lot and it wasn't bad. I pulled in with only one car before me at a bay of pumps.

I got my gas and went out on the other road because of all the traffic. I had to go around Robin Hood's barn to get back to my drugstore. On the way I passed the supermarket I often picked up at and pulled in the lot. I wanted to get some soda and perhaps some batteries. As I parked I saw the Wilmington Trust Bank Branch was now striped of any identifiers. This was the great conversion weekend. No more Wilmington Trust Bank. Next week this would be M&T Bank.

I went in one door of the supermarket and right out the other. I wasn't dealing with that madhouse. Why was there so much traffic on the roads because certainly everyone in the county had piled into this supermarket. Besides I could see the battery display and it was empty. I got in my car and drove down the street to my drugstore.


I come in and there is a long line. I guessed everyone was not it the supermarket after all. The rest were here getting his or her prescription refilled before the Hurricane arrives tomorrow. I had never experienced long lines here before. So, I waited and I waited, and I waited some more. The woman before me asked if she could step out of line to sit in a nearby chair. Certainly, I'll hold your place. No sense having people passing out before me, that would only slow things up. Why was it so hot in the place? I could see into the pharmacist's workroom and they had fans set up in there. We were wilting out in line. No fans here. So by all means, dear lady, please take a seat.

Finally I reached the counter and gave my name. The clerk shuffled off to sort through the hanging plastic bags. He went over and spoke to one of the pharmacists, he came back and began searching the computer.

"Did you drop them off today?" he asks.

"No, my doctor called them in three or four days ago."

He shuffled back to the pharmacist, then conferred with another pharmacist, then rechecked his computer.

"We have no record of a call in," he says. "I could call your doctor now if you wish, if he is still open."

I look at the line behind me. "No, that's okay. I'll call her when I get home."

But I couldn't. It was now too late in the afternoon and I wasn't certain the doctor's office was still open. I would have to wait until Monday, after the weekend and after the passing of Irene.

More waiting and more to come...

On Monday, once we had phones again, I called the Doctor's office. The receptionist-phone-answerer-nurse-whatever said she thought she had called it in, she would check.

I waited on hold.

She came back and told me the Doctor had disallowed my prescription renewal because I had not been in for a visit since April of last year. I would have to make an appointment to see the Doctor before she would renew my prescriptions. I made the appointment for the coming Wednesday (which is the day I am writing this). The lady then told me she would call in enough prescription to see me through until I saw the doctor, five pills of each medicine.

The Little Woman and I always go out to dinner on Monday. We usually leave at 5:00. At 4:30 I announce I am going to run over to the drugstore and pick up my ten pills, oh foolish ever-optomistic me, I actually believe I can do this and be back home all within a half-hour.

Traffic was heavy, but this really didn't slow me up greatly. I arrived at the drugstore with still twenty minutes until five. I went back to the pharmacy and what is this a Disney World ride? Today's line was even longer than the pre-Hurricane Friday line. And there were several people sitting in nearby chairs. And it was still darn hot in the place.

So I parked myself behind a lady and I waited, and I waited, and I waited some more. Then do you know what I did? Why, I waited. On Friday two clerks were processing the crowd, but today only one fellow had that joyless job. I admire his good spirits about it though, because there seemed to be mass confusion reigning in the wait area. People seated would get up and come to the line or go around it and call through the window for "Private Conferences with a Pharmacist" to berate someone, anyone to speed it up.

Then occasionally someone behind the pharmacy counters would yell, "Doris, you may get in line now." Wait a cotton-picking moment here, who is this Doris and why is she being paged into line ahead of others? The only thing I can figure is she dropped off a prescription and said she would wait for it.

Now this doesn't seem right. When I drop off prescriptions I always tell them I will come back later, usually meaning in a day or two, to pick it up. I figure I am doing them a favor, giving them time. They usually thank me for this. But if I dropped my prescription off at some earlier time (or in this case, my doctor called it in that morning) why should I have to wait because some Johnny or Jill come-lately said they would wait for theirs. That's like having made a reservation at a restaurant and having them give your table to a walk-in.

And thus I waited. Finally my lottery number comes up and I am at the window. "Name," asks the clerk.

I give it and he shuffles off behind a rack of plastic hanging bags. He then says, just a minute and goes and confers with a Pharmacist. He returns to me.

"We have one hanging," he says, "and the Pharmacist is working on the other. Do you wish to wait or come back later?"

I wish to ring someone's neck, but I say, "I'll wait." No way I am coming back later now.

So I step aside and I wait, and I wait, and I wait some more. He said the Pharmacist was working on my second prescription, did he not? How long does it take to slide 5 pills into a plastic tube? Then at last, someone yells, "Larry, you may get in line."

I step forward, but oh no, this did not mean, "Now we have your pills just come get them." No this meant exactly what was said. Larry could get in line.

Eventually I got my ten little pills in the two plastic vials and was on my way home. Needless to say I didn't make it by 5:00, but no matter, we were on our way to dinner, apparently with the rest of Delaware. Bumper to bumper traffic down the roads. Now it was rush hour and these roads do get crowded at this time of day, but they were more so this night, thus we waited a bit longer for dinner.

But we didn't wait long for service at the restaurant. Lauren was our wait person and had our drinks ordered before we sat down. She knows us well and has extra cherries put in mine. Quickly, my cup of soup was before me. Waiting seemed to be at an end, but there was still the matter of some banking business to contend with and we will get to that next time...if you can wait.


1 comment:

Ron said...

Ever have one of those days which everything seems to be a speed bump? You had such a day. "Do you wish to wait?" I loved your answer "I wish to wring someone's neck." I've had those days Lar. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your "adventure." Good that is was you instead of me. I don't think I could have been that "patient."