Thursday, 29 July 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pharmacy

So I’m at the pharmacy in the basement of St Mary’s. I hand over my prescription at the ‘in’ window. The receptionist hands me a raffle ticket. “Come back in an hour.” “An hour? Can’t you do it any quicker than that?” I ask. “Come back in 40 minutes,” she says, giving me a sour look. I go and view some algae and plastic bags floating in the canal. That pretty much wraps up the sights of Paddington. After 40 minutes I head back to the pharmacy. There is nobody manning the ‘out’ window so I join the queue at the ‘in’ window. After another five minutes I reach the front of the queue and hold up my raffle ticket, like I’m hoping I might have won a prize. The receptionist looks at me blankly. “Is my prescription ready?” I ask. “No.” she replies. “Do you know when it might be ready?” I ask. “Maybe five minutes.”

I take a seat in the tiny, crowded waiting area. Another woman stands and approaches the ‘in’ window. “When will my prescription be ready?” she asks. “Maybe five minutes,” replies the receptionist. “You keep saying that and I’ve been here for over an hour. I’ve got my mother here waiting in a wheelchair.” “They don’t care about that,” shouts the man sitting opposite me. Murmurs of agreement run through the waiting area. I can feel a rebellion building. “I’ve been here for an hour too,” says the lady sitting next to me. Another man nods in the corner. The woman standing at the counter senses that she has the attention of the entire waiting area now and turns, as if to address her audience. Just then a piercing shriek rings out from the woman next to me. “Oh my god...” I look to where she is pointing. A large cockroach with an egg sac hanging half out of its posterior is marching slowly across the middle of the waiting area. “Kill it!” “No, don’t kill it. It will lay eggs.” “Cover it with a newspaper and stomp on it!” “Let’s get out of here.” We all vacate our seats and charge towards the exit. It feels like this gang might turn riotous at any moment now. I’m at the front of the evacuating rush and as we near the pharmacy counter I hold up my raffle ticket in a desperate last bid. A hand protrudes from the ‘out’ window holding a paper bag with my prescription in it. I grab it and scarper.