Thursday, December 4, 2008

~ the stigma of the booth

I don’t like speaking of my enslavement to spasmo-nemigron. In my shame, I even give it a nom-de-plume. I like to think of myself as a whole person without the inclusion of the controversial Bentley compound, but currently I’m not. The equation – at this time - is incomplete without my 9am sublingual dose ... and my diet vanilla coke ... and my copy of the Age ...

Polly’s school is just behind the Pinewood shops. After their children have gone in, many of the mothers mill in the courtyard before breaking up to go their separate ways. Some use the opportunity to go shopping. A few of these go shopping at the chemist where I acquire my spasmo-nemigron, and where my wife acquires her spasmo-dromoran.

I wonder how many mothers recognise the austere booth at the rear of the pharmacy for what it is? Well, one actually works there, but she takes her responsibilities seriously and appears unprejudiced. Neither of us have spoken openly with her about it, but she had no obvious reservations about leaving her daughter at our house for Polly’s party; if she considered us ravening drug fiends, might she not have had second thoughts?

It’s the other, less informed parents that need watching. B--- is a single father who also sups at the evil well of spasmo-dromoran. He tells a cautionary tale.

After he was recognised receiving his dose by a parent from his son’s school, the word spread among gossiping mothers. It wouldn’t have been much of an issue if they had merely shunned B--- - who is bearded, shabby, alternative and an unnatural fit for any suburban socio-parental bloc - but the pall of fear and prejudice also descended upon the innocent son.

I wish I could give you more details on this, but my memory fails me. Also, there may have been an element of paranoia, plus the school involved was Wesley, which may have skewed the parental reaction away from the mean ...

Earlier this week, my wife was seen emerging from the pharmacotherapy booth by the mother of one of Polly’s more obscure classmates. Who knows what the repercussions will be? One thing she has in her favour is her excellent grooming. Only on particularly bad days does she even come close to resembling a hollowed-out, slack-featured, opioid dependent Piltdown woman. The problem is the junky who exits the booth before her and the one who scurries in after.

Often, these are the characters who give the game away, who make the purpose of the booth all too evident. Some, but not many, are indistinguishable from the general clientele. Some are grey shadows, barely noticeable even when you look directly at them. Others lurk in attitudes of extreme discomfort, casting glances of suppurating evil about the store. Others, in faded track-suit pants, runners and beanies give themselves away sartorially. Others speak in loud voices, warmly greeting strangers like friendly drunks, pontificating on subjects of which they are entirely ignorant ...

Who knows what the average customer thinks of this, passing through the chemist on a casual visit ... It’s hard to look at it subjectively after visiting this and other similar booths on thousands of mornings. Do I look any better than my peers in this mournful sub-set of society? Perhaps someone out there can tell me. All I know is that the best way to solve this problem is to take a blade to my nemesis, to finally slip the manacles of my indifferent slavemaster.

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NickH said...

Fuck 'em, Sam. Honestly, what matters is your health and not what the rest of society thinks.

The irony is, if people did look down on you, they might like to know that the alcohol they consume at the races, the pub, the football, and on Xmas day etc is a (largely non-medicinal) drug, as is caffeine and of course nicotine.

I understand where you're coming from re: school issues, gossip, and ignorance but you're good parents to Polly by the sounds, so hopefully this would be seen for what it is: a health issue, not a moral one.

Terry Wright said...

I do not miss those days!

Watching over my shoulder incase my wife's cousins see me or a work colleague.

I am so glad I get a pain prescription now and just have to put in my script once a month with a weekly pickup. It's amazing how different the staff treat you when don't have to go to the booth to get you opiates.