Saturday, January 28, 2012
And Into The Deep Pool I Go. The Rhythm Of A Weekend Off.
Pharmacies are busy places, chaotic more than your average patron will ever realize. There are phone lines and fax machines, in windows and out windows and the big window in the middle that is neither but the place where anyone and everyone can walk right up and grab you. Input terminals and places where labels are spat out, paperwork to be sorted, people to be served. Lots of people. You are given enough resources to handle things if they go absolutely perfectly, and things never....go absolutely perfectly. There are prescriptions not sent and prices higher than expected. Insurance information expired and why do you need my card anyway? Isn't it in the computer?
And now the people are unhappy. And you have to manage them. Every once in awhile there is even someone with a question about medicine.
You also have a mountain of potential drug interactions, dosage errors and handwriting judgments to make. All while making sure the masses move through the pill mill at a reasonable speed.
I'll admit it, sometimes it's exhilarating. It can make you feel very important to spend 12 hours with multiple people demanding your immediate attention. It's not unusual for someone to be looking to me to solve their mini-crisis from the moment I put the key into the gate until I shut it 12 hours later. And when that gate comes down, the final preparations for closing are made, and the last person inevitably comes running up at the last minute, you walk out the door, and into.......
Nothing. For the next three days you have no reason to exist. The quiet is disorienting. The nothing is disorienting. It's like.....breaking the surface of a water world and sinking. Not even sure you are sinking, but surely being carried away...
The rest of the night you're exhausted. Spent and thinking of sleep. But the sleep doesn't come easy. The mind has been wound up and neurons are still desperately firing, but the brain is mush, thinking impaired. Music is a good salve and you find yourself in the dark with a glass of scotch listening to Miles Davis, "Kind of Blue," which is the very sound of 3 o'clock in the morning. Exactly when will never be remembered, but the last of the day gradually slips away.
Into Saturday. Finally. You owe no obligations to the world and today it will not be your master. Clocks are turned to the wall, coffee is made and the paper is read at your leisure. Projects are worked on, writing and the prerequisite procrastinating primary among them. There are no people. You have had enough of them tormenting you during the workweek and the only time you step outside is to pick up some takeout from the dive down the street. Your mind is sharp from the rest, and you stay up writing and reading and thinking deep into the night.
And wake up Sunday with regret. The world has been having fun for two days. People doing what they actually want to do, not what they are forced to do. You understand that the "want to do" part of their lives has nothing to do with yourself. You think about the ex-lovers who were in the arms of their current lovers the night before, watch the sun set over the ocean and wish for something different. Anything different. The bars are lonely and quiet, doing you a favor by being open even.
Monday the world packs up and gets back to business without you. The hustle and bustle of workaday life is all around. People are earning their keep and making the best of it while you silently catch up on laundry and other housework. Reports come in from the radio of what's happening out there and eventually you prepare yourself to be thrown back in. Because the job that tears you down, taunts you and humiliates you, kills you slowly as surely as the cigarettes you're desperate to inhale once more, is the only thing you feel. You return because when you walk in the door and it cuts you again, it's the only reminder you're still alive.
The only reminder you're alive.