It sucks to be sick. Just ask famous interweb logger Gwen. But it sucks even worse when you're sick and you make a public spectacle of yourself, as I did this evening.
I woke up with a horrible cold this morning. My head was a cinder block. All day I resisted taking medicine, because NyQuil is the only thing that works for me and I didn't want it to put me out in the middle of the afternoon. Finally at around 9, I decided to give in. I went to the medicine cabinet and lo, there was no NyQuil to be found! I never think to replace it when it runs out, because by then I'm usually healthy. This is known as "poor planning", or more colloquially as "being fucking retarded".
Since I was sick, I was dressed in my most comfortable, least presentable clothes - the purple t-shirt with the stretched out neck that shows a tuft of classy chest hair and the black gym shorts with white paint stains. The composition of "sick clothes" can be seen in this handy chart:
Despite my appearance, I felt like shit and I was just NOT going to change to run to CVS for NyQuil. I thought to myself, "I know exactly what I'm getting, I'll go to the self-checkout lane, and I'll be gone in 2 minutes flat before anyone can see me, point and laugh."
Yeah, not so much.
I approached the self-checkout machine and scanned the NyQuil. The wrong price came up, so I didn't want to complete the transaction. The machine, in its best HAL 9000 voice (if HAL 9000 were a screeching undersexed housewife), yelled "PLEASE PUT YOUR SCANNED ITEM IN THE BAG! PLEASE PUT YOUR SCANNED ITEM IN THE BAG!" The barked orders were accompanied by a beeping of such fanfare and volume that for a second I thought I had hit three cherries on the Double Diamond machine. The manager had to come over from the register where she had seven patrons in line to reset the self-checkout machine. So far my plan to go unnoticed was working brilliantly.
Undaunted, I made a second attempt to scan the NyQuil. The machine, clearly having lost patience with me, immediately started yelling again. "AGE RESTRICTED PURCHASE! AGE RESTRICTED PURCHASE! ASSISTANCE IS ON THE WAY! DO YOU SERIOUSLY GO OUT IN PUBLIC LIKE THAT? DON'T YOU HAVE ANY PRIDE?"* The sirens whipped up their frenzy again, and above the patrons in line a collective thought bubble formed that said, "Why can't that homeless guy work the goddamn self-checkout? I just came in for smokes and Lost starts in ten minutes!" The poor manager had to come over again and confirm my age. Apparently, you can't buy cold medicine in California unless you're 18 because so many cold medicines are ingredients in crystal meth, and because crystal meth is California's third-largest export after porn and malaise. I find this law highly illogical, as I would guess that 97.5% of crystal meth makers are 18 or older. Besides, if someone under 18 is a drug kingpin, I don't want to smother the entrepreneurial instinct in such an industrious young person. That's the kind of thing America was built on.
After the manager took my hair for DNA analysis and determined that I was at least 18, I was allowed to pay for my medicine and slink out the door just ahead of the glares from the rabble still waiting in the human line. On my way to the parking lot, I passed a guy begging for change outside the store. He took my hand in his and slipped me fifty-six cents. I kept it.
* I may or may not be paraphrasing the self-checkout machine's remarks