The base refill pharmacy is staffed mostly by volunteers; all they do is look at your ID card and get the last four numbers of the SSN needed, go to the shelf and find your medication, and then hand it over. Once in a while they ask for your Yellow Card, a non-issue sort of thing that identifies whether or not you have other insurance.

Most of these volunteers are retirees, and they approach their duties seriously, but they're friendly enough. At the very least if you say "Hi" you get a hello in return.

But there's this one guy...he's about as old as Methuselah and moves with the speed of an arthritic snail. He's on oxygen and carries the cannister in a sling on his back, and he's a bit of a grump. But he's entitled; I'd be grumpy if I was that old, trying to read teeny tiny print, handing out pills to all those Get Off My Lawn people.

It was just my luck that he was at the window I wound up at today. I said "Hello," not expecting an answer, he called me "sir." I blew it off, no big deal. It happens. He shuffled off to find my meds, and I waited. And waited. And waited a bit more. I was wearing a mesh motorcycle jacket and was more than a little warm and was sweating, but that was all right. I should have taken it off.

When he came back he asked to check my yellow card. Fine, no problem; I pulled it out of my wallet and showed it to him, realizing as I handed it over that it had expired in March. That's not a problem; they'll still give you your meds, but they want you to get a current card for No Obvious Reason.

He pulled the forms from behind the desk, and asked "Do you have a wife?"

"Um, no," said I, trying not to sound snotty, "but I have a husband."

He paused, holding onto the papers. "But you ride a motorcycle."

"Yes." I clicked my fingernails on the top of my helmet, which was resting on the counter.

"You're a woman."


"But you ride a motorcycle!"

Clearly, he could not comprehend that it does not require testicles to maneuver two wheels. And apparently, my lacking them meant that I could not have the forms required to obtain a new Yellow Card, as he pulled them back and put them away.

I shrugged it off, grabbed my meds, and walked away before I made his head explode.

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