Summer visitors mean longer lines everywhere

June 8, 2011

Holiday weekend traffic was kind of like the feeling you got when you read Tennyson’s poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” only at least no one felt the need to fall on their sword. We’ve come to expect long lines of cars and heavy traffic volume during major holidays, especially if you venture out onto Route 1.

But the highway is not the only place with lines that have numbers similar to those experienced during a warm spring day in China’s Tiananmen Square. You can start your day off normally, which at my age means a trip to the pharmacy, and end up eating the candy corn from last Halloween that fell between the seats for your dinner as the sun sets and the light grows dimmer. You, of course, will still be in your vehicle, which shortly, say between the next two sets of lights, will have an expired warranty.

I don’t care what day of the week it is, once you’ve passed the age of 50, your day always begins with a call to the pharmacist or a visit to the nearest drugstore. With the number of medications lining your bathroom shelves, you will always be in need of a refill.

The problem is that on a weekend from now until September so will everyone else, especially if they are from out of town. They will have forgotten their prescriptions at home or they will come down with vacation poisonous rashes, vacation sunburn the color of a brick oven, and vacation fishing bait stuck in the bottom of the foot disease.

Now when I go to the pharmacy on a weekend, I always get behind a certain kind of customer in line. The person in a loud megaphone voice gives a graphic description of the condition that the ointment was prescribed for: “Oh, I would say the boil, or carbuncle as my doctor likes to call it, is about the size of a grapefruit. And it is about ready to drain because I can just make out some white stuff that is starting to seep through the skin. I can lift up my shirt and show you, now mind you it’s much bigger than the two bunions that have united as one on my left foot, so take a look at this…” It’s right about here that I decide to forgo my place in line and head straight for an aisle where the anti-nausea pills are displayed.

Sometimes it is advantageous to spend a long time in one of these lines though. You hear things. And if that isn’t enough, folks will become so brain cell depleted just waiting that they will tell you the most intimate details of their life.

It usually starts off quietly, something to pass the time, “Are you from here?” After a little chitchat, it comes pouring out. “My husband and I haven’t had sex in years,” this elderly stranger ahead of me continued, “Well if you don’t count the time we, well you know, it was the opening season of ‘American Idol’ and all, but anyway, we saw this stuff being advertised on late-night television, some kind of tree bark you eat and now we are like one of those public television documentaries about the mating habits of the South African Tse Tse fly…” Now I really made a beeline for the anti-nausea aisle. Well, that is, myself and half of the pharmacy plus a few pharmacy employees. You can never have enough stuff in your medicine cabinet.

So maybe those traffic lines aren’t so awful after all. At least you have a quiet place all to yourself and it has air-conditioning. Unless you were out of those pills you should have taken before you ate that plate of broccoli, but then the line at the pharmacy was too long to wait for a refill. I would suggest just rolling down the windows. It’s only just begun too.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.