As Brock and I sat overlooking the Pacific having a lovely dinner, I felt it come on.
Convinced I'd recently survived the worst cold in medically recorded history, I found it hard to believe I could get sick again. This must be allergies, I thought. Here I am on bluffs, suddenly old. I must be developing adulthood maladies. So after a miserable Monday at work, sneezing all over my co-workers, I headed to Safeway for Claritin-D. This is what everyone said I should buy, and before I even handed over cash, I texted Brock a picture of the product just to make sure I was getting the right medicine.
"Yes. That's definitely it."
Buying Claritin-D is a complicated process because one can make meth out of allergy medicine. Thus, you've got to show ID and have your sniffles monitored by the government.
$20 later, I sat in my car and popped a Claitin. 15 minutes later, nothing. 30 minutes later, nothing. Claritin is bullshit. Either that, or I don't have adulthood allergies but Phase 2 of the 2011 Cold that Almost Killed Me.
I dug some old Halls Drops out of a carry-on bag and cut my losses. This morning, I decided to swing by Walgreens on my way to work. I could not subject those around me to sneezing, sniffles and mouth-breathing two days in a row. I decided to get Sudafed this time, recommended by my co-worker Jen and yet another pill for which one needs to federally register.
To buy Claratin-D, Sudafed, etc, you need to pull a little card from the shelf and bring it to the pharmacist. You can't just touch a box of the stuff, like it's any old cold medicine. Oh no. You've got to bring a picture of it to a professional and state your case.
So I grabbed a Sudafed card and brought it to the Pharmacy counter. A young woman asked if she could help me.
"I thought I had allergies." I explained. "I bought Claritin-D yesterday but it's done nothing. Nothing! So now I think I should try Sudafed."
She looked at me, sniffling and sneezing in her window. "This sounds like a cold to me. But Claritin and Sudafed have the same stuff in them. If Claritin doesn't work, neither will this."
"Okay." I said, taking a deep, impatient breath. "Well can you recommend something that will help me."
This is a first world country. I am at a Walgreens in one of the world's most celebrated metropolises. I have both cash and credit. My sniffles should be fixed in a matter of seconds. But the pharmacy staff was giving me the whole, "Sorry, there's nothing we can do for you. You might want to crawl under a shrub and quietly die."
"I am not allowed to recommend anything." She said. "The pharmacist has to do any recommending."
She yelled towards the back, "Luke! Help!"
Luke the Pharmacist is around my age and was wearing a BluTooth in his ear. So right there, I lost all hope. Luke agreed that Claritin and Sudafed were both bullshit medicines and verbally tossed his hands in the air, offering the reassuring, "I don't know."
"I'll just buy the Sudafed." I said.
"We only have Wal-Phed." She replied.
"Fine. I will buy the Wal-Phed." It was only $5.99 anyway.
The young woman asked for my ID and said, "I don't know if they'll let me sell it to you since you bought Claritin yesterday."
"Really?" I asked. "It's not like I'm going to make meth."
This was apparently akin to announcing at airport security, "It's not like I'm going to hijack the plane."
All of Walgreens fell silent, Luke came over to the window and both of them stared at me, smugly sporting burgundy scrubs as if they'd be performing surgery at any moment.
"No one is accusing you of making meth." Luke said, feigning calm.
"The government requires us to enter your information." Said the young woman, obviously preparing her statement to the Swat Team because by this point, she'd probably pushed the secret "meth mention" button under the counter.
I decided silence was my best option, and after staring at me for awhile, the young woman went back to entering my drivers license. Lo and behold, The Man had no problem with my purchase of both Claritin-D and Wal-Phed within a 24-hour period. I signed the little computer screen agreeing not to make meth, paid my $5.99 and got the hell out of there.
Now I'm waiting for this Phucking Wal-phed to kick in, and my purse is a virtual meth lab.
So, you know, party at my house...