Tuesday, 3 January 2012
A Misunderstanding at the Pharmacy
I spoke to a cashier and explained that I had some drugs to dispose of.
"Are there any controlled drugs in there?" she asked.
And that is where the misunderstanding arose. Perhaps I wasn't listening properly, perhaps I'm simply rather dense, but for whatever reason I thought she meant prescription drugs.
"Oh yes," I confirmed, "lots. In fact almost all of them are."
Her expression changed. "Are they all yours?" she asked, head cocked and one eyebrow raised.
I wondered if this was on a par with airport staff verifying that you've packed your bags yourself, so I nodded firmly. "Absolutely. All mine. Every last one."
"I see," she said, looking me up and down. "Would you just wait here a moment?"
She retreated to the other side of the store to consult with a man in a white coat I took to be the pharmacist. They eyed me with quizzical expressions and whispered furtively to each other, while I waited politely with my carrier bag of drugs.
It was then that I realised I'd made a bit of a mistake. My bag was full of prescription drugs, generously dished out by GPs to anyone presenting with a bit of an ache. Controlled drugs are something else entirely. Controlled drugs are those designated as such under the Misuse of Drugs act. The heroin substitute Methadone, for example.How foolish of me to have misunderstood. No wonder they were looking at me with interest. I was quite sure I didn't look like a smack-head, but head-to-toe Boden is fitting camouflage for a barbiturates habit.
No big problem, of course. A minor misunderstanding which, whilst demonstrating my lack of intelligence, would be easily rectified. A few strides over to where the pharmacist and cashier were talking, a swift smile and a "gosh how silly of me - of course I meant these are merely prescription drugs. See?"
So of course that's what I did, isn't it?
I ran away.
Even as I write this I'm at a loss to explain what on earth was going through my head, as I legged it down the personal hygiene aisle, sashayed past the nappy section and burst out through the automatic doors, my carrier bag of perfectly legal drugs banging against my legs. I can only tell you that what I felt standing there in the store with my bag of drugs was akin to the way I feel when I spot a police car in my rear-view mirror. Instantly and irrationally guilty.
I have no idea what the pharmacist thought and I am unlikely to find out, as my chances of ever setting foot in Boots again without a heavy disguise are extremely slim.
I sloped home with my heart pounding, in need of a Valium. Fortunately, I had several at hand.