Friday, 11 March 2016

Hurry Up Norman

Oh that’s good. Just this old bloke at the counter. I won’t have to wait long to get my prescription. There’s the pharmacist with his tablets. “Now just remember Norman,” she says to him, “only two a day. Morning and evening after meals.”
Norman? I think to myself. She must know him quite well. Righto Norman I think. You got what you came for. Off you go old chap. I’m waiting here right behind you. I have got things to do mate. Places to go. Quick as you can please. Oh no, What’s he doing? You don’t need to read the packet Norman she just told you how many to take.
“Sandra?” says Norman, “I don’t have an evening meal on account of I gets terrible indigestion if I does. Chronic it is, if I eat’s after four o’clock.”
Sandra? I think to myself, he knows her too then?
“Well, you will have to have something Norman,” she tells him, “even if it’s just a slice of bread.”
Norman is aghast, “Bread!” he says, Bread! That’s the worst thing I can have bread. Sit in me stomach all night that will. No, can’t have bread. Not at night, no. Not bread”
Norman looks over his shoulder and smiles at me. Right Norman you know I’m here now. Just pick up your tablets and go.
“What about if I took me tablet with a biscuit?” Norman asks, “I could manage a light biscuit. I have got some rich tea biscuits. What about if I have one of them?” He adds, sounding hopeful.
Yes, I think to myself. Yes, Norman. Have a bleedin’ biscuit with it. Now will you just go. Please. I am waiting.
“Yes,” says Sandra, “a biscuit would be a good idea. Just one shouldn’t give you indigestion Norman.”
There you are, Norman, I think to myself. Sandra thinks it’s a good idea. Now please bugger off and let me get served.
“Ooooh,” says Norman, “it don’t take much to set it off. I can’t even have a cup of tea after four o’clock. Heart-burn. Something chronic”
Norman looks over his shoulder at me again and smiles. He wants to include me in the conversation. I don’t smile back. Instead I glance away and begin to read a poster about breast feeding. Just take your package and go away Norman.
But no. Norman begins to describe to Sandra why he went to the doctor in the first place and why he has to have tablets. Something about fluid on his lungs. How one day he suddenly couldn’t get his breath
You won’t get your breath in a minute Norman because I am going to bleedin’ strangle you. Go Norman go. Poor Sandra she is too polite to interrupt you. She looks over at me, a resigned look on her face as Norman relates his tale of woe.
Eventually. “Well,” says Norman, “I can’t stand here all day chatting. I’d best be off. Bye Sandra.”
“Bye Norman,” says Sandra and she smiles at me. “Can I help?”
“I have come to collect my repeat prescription please. Name of Bain. John Bain.”
Sandra goes to the back of the Pharmacy. She searches the shelf where the prescriptions are waiting to be collected. She comes back empty handed. “It’s not here yet Mr Bain. Probably be here tomorrow afternoon. Sorry about that.”

Yes, yes I know. Serves me right. I should be more patient. Norman is probably lonely. Doesn’t get to talk to people much. Sandra is a saint. Yes, yes I know. I’m ashamed of myself OK. The strange thing is, I wasn’t even in a hurry. I’m never in a hurry until someone holds me up!


  1. I hate waiting in line. Unfortunately I am a person that gets someone telling me their life's story and I feel too polite to turn away and leave. You would really be upset to be behind me.

  2. Now I am feeling guilty. I can be a bit of a gas bag and will chat to all and sundry. I often have to apologize to the person behind me in the Tesco queue, and I am not even lonely. Just like chatting.

  3. Well I was half way through writing about my indigestion, which incidentally is brought on by eating bread after four o'clock, when I was rudely dismissed from the internet. No manners. Perhaps I should visit the dispensary where you are 'cause Norman and I seem to have much in common. Now, where was I... oh yes, the indigestion.... but really, John, do you really want to know about it. I could go on for ages about it, about the .... oh sorry, what was that? You're not interested. Oh my, whatever happened to friendliness. It's not every day we get someone to listen, you know.

  4. Very clever and well-written tableau, John. Next time I'm in that situation --and it is a universal one-- I'll think "hurry up Norman".