My trip to Walgreens
A young woman named Meghan Roscher wrote a nice letter which appeared in my local daily newspaper today. She is a nurse who works with old people, and says it saddens her to hear rude comments made about seniors from people her own age.
“Ageists!” I snorted, rattling my newspaper. “Those youngsters are guilty of ageism! Why do the young farts always think they’re smarter than us old farts?” I silently blessed Nurse Roscher for speaking up for me and my g-g-generation, and blocking my memories of my youth, when I thought at the ancient age of 60 all old people should be sent to the Soylent Green factory.
An hour later I was standing behind an older woman (and remember, I’m Medicare age, myself) who was causing problems with the queue at the Walgreens Pharmacy. She wasn’t there for a prescription. She had a bunch of non-drug items, and wanted to discuss the sale prices in the Walgreens ad with the pharmacy tech who was assisting her. He was very nice, and without being condescending explained that except for the drug aisles and his job behind the prescription counter he had no knowledge of the store. This just didn't sink in with the lady who continued complaining, and was by then visibly upset. For some reason she put two boxes of candy on the counter, told the pharmacy tech, “Don't charge me for these. I’ll put them back on the shelf.”
“It’s no problem, ma’am,” the kind young man said. “I can page a store manager and she can explain anything you need to know. She will return the candy to the shelf.” The woman threw up her hands, took her sacks of goods, including toilet paper and toothpaste, and tossed them in her basket. She made a sort of gargling sound, wadded up the ad, then handed it to the tech for disposal. She stomped off. Without missing a beat he called me to the counter and we were conducting our business when she returned and said, “I forgot the candy! I need to take the candy back to the shelf.” He started to explain it again to her, but she grabbed the candy and stomped off again.
Old people! I thought. Old, slow-moving, demanding, selfish, they’re the only ones who matter...yada yada yada...and then of course the thought hit me again, according to my birthdate I'm old too! Not as old as the lady causing the ruckus, but who knows what I’ll be doing in ten years? Slamming my cane down on the counter, cursing the clerk because I don’t understand something? And will that clerk in 2022 be as nice dealing with an oldster as the clerk I saw today?
The young nurse who wrote the letter in defense of seniors, the young man behind the pharmacy counter who was so patient with an irascible, uncomprehending old woman are the people I should be emulating.
When I walked to the front of the store I remembered I needed postage stamps, so I got in line at the register, right behind a young woman who was in her mid-to-late twenties. She was attractive, with dark hair in a bun on top of her head. She turned to see who was behind her, and her eyes lost focus before she turned back around. I’ve seen that look before from young, pretty women. She saw I was old, uninteresting, and therefore invisible. She then tossed a package of Magnum condoms onto the counter. The young man clerking at that register scanned them and scooped them quickly into a sack, which is something clerks sometimes do, knowing that a girl getting a product that tells everyone she is going to have sex might be embarrassed. I noticed the condoms were for a larger-than-average size penis. I wanted to break out of my invisibility shell and say, "Looks like you’ve got a big night planned!” When I said “big night” I would hold my hands about 12” apart. Ho-ho. But I didn’t because unlike when I was younger, I now have better impulse control. That’s at least one advantage to attaining senior status.