I spent the day inside, nibbling at things I needed to do, annoyed by still being sick. I dawdled and cleaned, and picked at notes, and watched the sun go down.

Sometime after dark, I went for cough medicine. My cough had gone from productive to just a dry hacking so went the six blocks to the still open CVS. After taking a moment to see if my anger at the large homeopathic remedy section would trigger dormant pyrokinesis, I grabbed a bottle of cough medicine and I went to check out. Went to self check-out. Scanned. Warning pops up “Age verification required”. Oh? I waited and scanned the store. People were popping in and out, making purchased via self check-out and returning into the night. I looked around, checked the aisles for anyone with a CVS shirt on, nothing. There was a contract security person and I was left to ask him “does….. anyone work here?” He replied “Someone will be here” but in that way of it being aspirational rather than knowing. There was a genuine moment of “am I in the clean but barren future where the only people in the store are the security and the customer?”. We stared at each other for a moment and a CVS person with a coat on came in. She seemed harried and was wrapped in clothing like she’d been brought in for a special occasion. She entered some command on the console and my purchase completed without issue. She muttered “last thing I thought I’d have to do age verification for”.

She hurried back out and I wondered if she was returning to the CVS Personnel Central Distribution Hub to wait the next event requiring human attention. I crested the door and my post-human tomorrow shattered. She had been taking a smoke break with the other cashier. From tyranny to freedom.

Max was out of antibiotics for his Lyme disease treatment so I drove to the vet and found it closed. Being in an affluent area of lower Bucks, there were no less than five places within 15 minutes with “pet care” or “veterinary” in their name and I drove to the closest which was about 6/10ths of a mile away.

They didn’t have any prescription medication but the store attendant recommended I contact CVS who sometimes allowed one to get emergency tablets. So I called.

Me: I’m looking to get two doxycycline tablets for my dog.
Them: What’s the name?
Me: Of me or the dog?
Them: You.
Me: Terry Robinson.
Them: Weight?
Me: of me?
Them: The dog.
Me: 86 lbs.
Them: Would it be under another name?
Me: His name is Max but he, being a dog, rarely visits CVS.
Them: We can’t help you then if we’ve not filled the prescription before.
Me: I just need two tablets to tide him over until tomorrow.
Them: We don’t have dosage instructions.
Me: That’s on the bottle. Two 100mg twice a day.
Them: That’s not enough.
Me: They antibiotics and I don’t want to miss a treatment and create some super strain like the TB that comes out of Russian prisons. I just want two. It’s not like he’s on oxycontin and I’m going to grind these up and snort them off of a mirror or resell them to school kids.
Them: We can’t help. I’m sorry.
Me: When Super Lyme hits, you will be. Watch for ticks.

I next called another vet and they gave me two tablets after I gave them the info of the prescribing doctor and telling them my dog was brown. I’m not sure why that fact was included, but it seemed important.

I returned to CVS to pick up my passport photos and in the meantime I’d found a 2 dollar off coupon on my phone while in line.  I hit the register and I informed the clerk I had a coupon and presented the barcode that was clearly visible on my phone screen to which he responded quizzically.  He summoned his 20-something manager with spiked bleach-blonde hair and a sweet tribal tat on his arm who told him “scan it”.  It scanned and the manager did his little “damn it worked” dance and then looked me in the eye saying

Him: We can’t take it, all our coupons have to be submitted to the manufacturer.  We can’t submit your screen.
Me: But it’s a service coupon.  The manufacturer is CVS, so you.
Him: We need a physical coupon.

I thought for a second and came up with a plan; I’d take a screen cap of the coupon, email the screen cap from my phone to the CVS automatic printing processor, wait a few minutes, collect my print, pay for it, and get a hard copy of the coupon on beautiful photopaper to save me $2.00 on my passport photos. Hazaa!

iPhone: $299, CVS express remote printing service: $1.70, delaying the whole line to save 30 cents through an egregious application of technology: priceless.