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Sunday, August 10, 2014

No Man is an Island

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No man is an island… John Donne, 1624.

These wise words were reflected in Perth this week when a man whose leg was trapped between a train and the platform was saved when dozens of commuters banded together to push the train into a tilt. How awe inspiring was the community spirit?

Although not quite as dramatic I experienced my own share of uplifting community spirit last week at the Discount Chemist of all places.

This is my story...

“Can you check you have this in stock first please?” I asked the girl at the chemist. “It’s just that last time I came here I waited for fifteen minutes before they told me it wasn’t available.” I deadpanned. 

“Certainly,” she replied, and returned a minute later nodding her head in the affirmative. We filled out the script details and she passed me a buzzer.

I tried not to think about all the disgusting cooties crawling over the buzzer. I had a private bet with myself they didn’t wipe it down with disinfectant each time it was passed back to clientele. People go to the chemist and have scripts filled because they’re sick for God’s sake; dripping noses and wet, phlegmy coughs.

The discount chemist was fairly empty for the time of day and I wandered around the vitamin section trying to peer through the bottles of Horny Goatweed to check how big the tablets were. If they weren’t too big I thought I might buy myself Scotto some as a surprise. 

As usual the manufacturers of really massive, unswallowable tablets had encased them in non-transparent containers. It was too much of a risk to just buy them knowing in my heart they’d be the size of horse pills. Besides, I’d probably read the list of possible side effects and decide I’d be the one in ten billion people who’d develop liver failure and seizures so they’d sit unused on my bathroom shelf along with the menopause red clover tablets, the Echinacea and the Deer Velvet (Chinese herb for arthritis and sexual function).

Twenty minutes had passed and growing bored with the vitamins I stared at the buzzer willing it to alert me the script was ready. It didn’t respond to my attempt at mental telepathy.

I looked over at the three rows of chairs in the waiting area. They were empty except for one ornery old woman wearing a sour expression in the back row.

I plonked myself down and waited. Before long a thirtyish man sat beside me and we both sat clutching our buzzers and staring at the muted television showing a commercial for fish oil on a continual reel.

“Wouldn’t want to be in a bloody hurry would you?” 
I finally muttered to the bloke beside me after fifteen long minutes of checking phones, recrossing of legs, pointed sighing and barely suppressed frustration. Crowds had begun to infiltrate the waiting area by now and the rows of chairs behind us were full.

It was like I’d released the cork on a bottle of fizzy Lucozade. “You should have been here last week!” he enthused. “It was standing room only. You’d think they’d put on more pharmacists wouldn’t you?”

For yet another fifteen minutes we sat viciously conferring about the inevitable price you’re forced to pay in order to buy cheap medication. 

A doddering couple in their eighties shuffled into the seat beside me and immediately joined in the bitch-fest. Then the businessman behind us chipped in with his two cents worth.

“Must be afternoon tea time for the chemists!” grouched the ornery old lady in the back row. Everyone laughed uproariously and the pharmacy assistants behind the counter looked up nervously, probably in fear of a mutiny. The natives were restless and some of the oldies had walking sticks. The threat of a riot was imminent.

“The medication’ll be past its use by date by the time we get it!” I quipped caustically, drawing more mirth from the appreciative party.

Suddenly something exploded in my lap.

“It’s you!” Four or five people screamed at me. “It’s your buzzer!”

I stood up and flung my hands in the air bawling, “Halleluiah!” 

Twenty peeved pharmacy customers cheered enthusiastically; some even clapped.

After signing for my script and taking possession of my medication I turned to the crowd.

“Good luck guys! I hope you make it out of here!” I grinned bodaciously, granting my audience the triumphant thumbs up salute as I sashayed off. They cheered once again en masse, joyous to see one of their fellow prisoners of war make a break for freedom at the eleventh hour.

I streaked out the front door on a high. It wouldn’t pay to run into any of them at the front counter, I thought. It’d take the shine off my glittering encore performance.

The train story below!

Ever had a community spirit moment?

Linking up with the crew at Laugh Link!

Have A Laugh On Me |  Melbourne Mum |  Talking Frankly |  

Redcliffe Style |  26 Years and Counting