The automated doors wheel open as I lurch in for a pack and bottle of ibuprofen.
I am greeted by every proud citizen of Medicated America.
There’s the usual parade of seniors shuffling in for their final refills on their prescriptions, curiously cheery at the last month before they’d have to drive over to the doctor’s office for another probe of the loins and get a referral for another round of grossly overpriced medication. Some of them fiddle with their rosary beads while waiting in line; others just drool onto the tile. The liver-spotted lavender ladies clutch a copy of Danielle Steel type drivel, while their husbands convene by the magazine rack, venerating over this month’s Playboy cover girl. There are the mothers dressed in Kohl’s catalog from Summer of 2002, picking up valium and hydrocodone, which go down smoothly with a bottle of wine. They also inadvertently enable the children to raid through the medicine cabinet while they’re slaving away at some corporate park off the freeway. There’s the uninsured and the unemployed who manage to scrape by with over-the-counter and generics rather than get f@&ked over by premiums. There’s the quitter that gets self-validation by splurging on a box of nicotine patches, which from a pragmatic sense costs about as much as a carton in this state anyway, the classic sucker.
I’m instructed from a last minute flash off the Blackberry to go pick up a refill for my dad’s hypertension, which is nothing more than a handful of fish oil capsules to help manage those pesky triglycerides. I am damned to join the wall of drug-addled human masses. The sun’s setting, and the urgency to pick up drugs is fostering. But it isn’t dependence or withdrawal that’s settling in.
A small town like this doesn’t attract a lot of robbery charges, but when they do occur, it’s usually a vicious beating of one of the patrons leaving the store. The suburbs are dangerous and wildly unpredictable, and that saccharine sweet sense of comfort usually dwindles when you hear about an 85 year old woman getting intimate with the business end of a tire iron. The seniors start to pester the defeated woman manning the only register up front. The mothers pace the tiles. The quitter eyes the newly stocked tobacco rack, and then quickly diverts his stare to his tennis shoes.
I’ve seen Rite Aids ransacked in West Philadelphia over shoes getting scuffed, prescriptions being unavailable, and price hikes.
But there’s nothing more perilous than when white suburbanites begin to get uneasy.
Ryan Fallon is a cultural refugee from Camden, New Jersey. Follow more of his ramblings at http://bathtub-gin.tumblr.com.
Please feel free to comment on this article here or join the conversation on our forum.Top of Form
Bottom of Form