May Meds, Math and Mayhem

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photo: alexas fotos

I went to the pharmacy yesterday to pick up my prescription, tablets which cost $8 a box. As I was allowed to buy a maximum of 5 boxes, I did just that. I queued, paid with my credit card, took the boxes and left. And, no, silly me did not check the charge slip, which explains the mayhem that ensued.

You see, my credit card requires a signature for purchases above $10. The fact that I hadn’t been asked to sign anything for a $40 purchase only hit me as I was halfway down the escalator to leave the building. Upon checking the receipt, I found that I had been charged – you guessed it – $8 for all five boxes.

Dilemma! Go out the door (the car was right there!) and no one would be any wiser. Or go back up and pay the full price. I will be honest to say it was so tempting to head right out – I would have saved $32 and, I mean, who would have known?

I went back up.

There were two others ahead of me and so I queued – again. When it was my turn, the cashier was supremely confused at my explanation. “Did you not want 5 packs, then?”

“I want all five.”

“You’ve got five, haven’t ya?”

“Yes. But I paid for only one.”

“So?”

Believe me, it was really tempting then to just leave. “So I was charged for one box but I have five boxes.”

At which point the manager sauntered over. I retold my story. By this time there were three people behind me in the queue, all listening with great interest.

He glared. “So you tryin’ to pay for the other four you took?”

Hmm … that didn’t sound exactly right. Took?

“I didn’t take the other four. I came back to pay for the four boxes your cashier didn’t charge me for.”

“Oh.”

Yes. Oh.

“Lady,” said the gentleman behind me. “Just take your stuff and run. I’ll swear I never saw you.”

“You shouldn’t have come back!” chipped in the lady behind him. “I’d have just kept going. They don’t even get it!”

I checked with the third person, just so she didn’t feel left out. She cackled. “I say go. Not too late. I’ll hold them up if you like.”

Eventually, the manager got it. The cashier got it. The cashier also got it from the manager but that’s another story.

I paid the full amount and left. I will always cherish the support these total strangers offered. But I think I’ll go to some other pharmacy next time. And check my receipts before walking off.

Who knew it would take this much effort to right something?

What would you have done?

THANKS

Excuse Me! ~ Acts of Kindness #21

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I’ve been a bit remiss in the kindness department lately. I created this blog to acknowledge and thank the folks who have shown kindness, either to me or to someone else; then I got distracted with the sheer enjoyment of reading the wonderful and diverse blogs, and writing about all sorts of other things.

Fortunately, my attention hasn’t been completely skewed. Some writers have advocated carrying a notebook around to jot ideas and observations. Thank goodness I took this advice! I’ve been writing down acts of kindness I’ve observed and I’m happy to share three of them today. I’ve also developed a fascination for notebooks as a result, but that’s another story!

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I was having lunch with my BFF when we were startled by a man running past our table shouting, “Excuse me! Hello! Excuse me!”

In a foodcourt of casually dressed patrons, a man in suit and tie stands out. When that man runs and yells, everyone pays attention.

Turns out, he was running after an elderly man who had left his table but left his wallet behind.

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I was at the bus stop near my place of work, and people-watching while waiting for the bus.

At the traffic crossing, everybody was hurrying to beat the lights. Right there, in the middle of the crossing, a woman suddenly stopped. There were quite a few annoyed glares as she was effectively holding up pedestrian traffic, and getting herself bumped into.

She went back to an elderly lady going in the opposite direction, and who was carrying two shopping bags. She took the bags from her and walked with her to the safety of the other side.

Flower 16

I had just entered my building when a middle-aged lady stopped me to ask if I’d seen a man in a black shirt go by. As it happened, he did indeed pass me moments ago.

“He dropped his keys!” she said, holding up the bunch and peering up and down the street. “Where’d he go?”

There was no one in black. The only possible place he could have disappeared into was the bank. Another man approached. “You looking for a guy looking for his keys? He’s in the bank.”

Off went the middle-aged lady to return said keys.

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DAILY PROMPT ~ SKEWED

THANKS

Musings Without Parallel

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When I saw today’s prompt, I heard a Voice.

Not just any voice … but the Voice of my primary school math teacher intoning #32 of his Math-isms: Parallel Lines Never Meet.

Which got me thinking about all the “parallels” that have crossed my path: there’s the mighty 38th Parallel, parallel sequences in music, parallel plots, parallel imports, parallel bars, parallel circuits … There are parallel universes, parallels in history – though there are, of course, events and circumstances that remain unparalleled.

Which then triggered the memory of Tom, the boy at the back of the class, who had raised a fascinating question: “If parallel lines never meet, how come we got squares on waffles?” My unparalleled memory (in the worst way) prevents me from recalling the teacher’s response, but I do believe Tom received detention.

Which leads me to the one thing I have never liked about parallels – the parallelogram. I’ve never understood it. If it’s nice and straight and right angled, call it a square or a rectangle or an oblong. If it’s all slanty, with weird angles that students are eternally condemned to calculate the external angles of, call it a rhombus or a diamond or a kite or something other than a parallelogram. I even had to check its spelling and pronounciation before plonking it in this post. If you have a spare moment, try saying ‘parallelogram’ three times fast.

I have no idea what the point of this post is, beyond establishing that parallel lines can intersect other parallel lines and then we get the points. And angles. And waffles.

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DAILY PROMPT ~ PARALLEL

 

THANKS

Family Man ~ Act of Kindness #17

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April is the month of my father’s birthday, so I’ve decided to post one or two stories about him. I can’t verify any of these, but folks still talk about his exploits. He, on the other hand, pretends they never happened.

Years ago, when he was considerably younger, my father cycled to work. On this particular evening, he was cycling home when he heard an almighty crash behind him, and felt a warmish whoosh. He remembers panicking because he had no idea what had happened. He thought if he moved, whatever it was might happen to him too.

It was the scream and the thud that made him alight and turn around.

In the uncovered drain that still runs alongside the road, lay a young girl who had been hit by a car. The car, which had been travelling in the opposite direction, had been hit by a bus (the crash my father heard). The impact sent it across three lanes to hit the girl, who had been walking on the pavement, just steps behind my father. The car was upside down several metres away.

My father has never said much about what happened next, only that others checked on the driver and the passengers in the bus. The terrified girl (let’s call her Anne) kept crying and asking him to call her mum, so he got the number and went knocking on the doors of nearby houses (cell phones were a rarity then). He’s referred to this as the hardest call he’s ever made because he didn’t know how to soften the news, and he felt the mum’s anguish down the phone.

The emergency vehicles arrived and the casualties were attended to. Because Anne’s mum had yet to arrive, my father rode in the ambulance with Anne, after ensuring that the police officers would update her mum. I remember my father calling home from the hospital, then being really late for dinner. He was also missing his bicycle which, to this day, no one knows where it went.

I remember coming home from school about three weeks later and finding a family of five in the living room. It was Anne, her parents and siblings. She had a cast and healing bruises but was recovering well.

Turns out, the family had returned to the accident site to talk to the homeowners in order to locate my father because all they had was his name. Eventually someone told them where they thought he lived.

Anne revealed how he’d climbed into the drain to sit beside her after making that call, and kept her calm by telling stories about nothing in particular. It had meant the world to a frightened young girl, and the parents had wanted to thank him personally. His reply? Anne needed someone and she reminded him of me.

Today, our families still get together on festive occasions. There are grandkids now, and Anne’s mum still tells the story of how Anne first met the kind uncle.

 

THANKS

O Happy Day

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photo credit: arshad pooloo

It was just one of those days where the sun glowed from its perch on cloud nine and the clear blue sky proclaimed itself to be the seventh heaven. The palm leaves whispered their joy while the sea waved its blessings to the crowd on the beach.

The mum twinkled in her diamonds, the dad delighted with the turn out. The in-laws-to-be beamed with pride at their new status-to-be.

The string quartet joyously heralded the bride’s arrival. The attendees rose, peering, peeking, and then thrilled at incandescence of a young woman in love.

She floated to the dais and smiled, flushed and radiant.

And the groom turned green.

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DAILY PROMPT ~ RADIANT

 

THANKS

Three Days, Three Quotes Challenge ~ Day 3

Here I am at Day 3 of the challenge!

It would have been so easy to download three quotes and present them as a fait accompli. But I realised this little task has made me think about words that have made a difference in how I live my life. So I do thank the incomparably hilariousย An Irish Procrastinator for this opportunity for some overdue personal reflection.

To participate, I had to:

– thank the nominator

– post one quote each day for three consecutive days

– nominate three bloggers each day to continue the challenge.

This is my quote for Day #3:

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picture credit: sharon mccutcheon

I’m nominating the following bloggers to participate:

~ย ย Beckie’s Mental Mess

~ย  Mad Cap Dog

~ย  saRitzy

Please don’t feel compelled in any way to participate if you’d rather not.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

THANKS

Three Days, Three Quotes Challenge ~ Day 2

Yesterday, the fabulously funny Irish Procrastinator zinged a challenge my way to participate in this Three Days, Three Quotes challenge. I was to:

– thank the person who nominated me;

– post three quotes, one a day, for three consecutive days;

– nominate three others to do the same each day.

Being in a spectacularly zen mood (long weekend ahead and all) I accepted. Thank you so much, Irish Procrastinator, for getting me off my butt to do something fun and meaningful … wait, I’m on my butt writing this. Hmmm.

Today is Day 2, and here is my quote:

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picture credit: 1982wh1982

I’m inviting the following three bloggers to participate:

~ Repeat After Me

~ mydaisydaze

~ forgottenmeadows

If you’d prefer not to take part, that’s completely ok. Enjoy this quote.

Have a blessed weekend, everyone!

 

THANKS

Hard To Swallow

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picture credit: kenky

I’ve swallowed pills and tablets of every colour chemistry can conjure up.

I’ve swallowed gruesome liquids in colours that defy description.

I’ve swallowed food the wrong way.

I’ve swallowed my pride.

I’ve swallowed my words.

I’ve even swallowed a tall tale or two.

But I absolutely, totally, 100% refuse to swallow Bird’s Nest Soup.

Why? Because it is, literally, the nest of a species of the swift (Aerodramus fuciphagus). A swift is not the same as a swallow, but as the Chinese word for the swift and the swallow is yen (็‡•), I’m taking the liberty of dove-tailing the two.

Back to the nest. Yes, nest – a bird’s home for laying eggs and bringing up baby birds. This nest, unfortunately for this particular swift, is made of its saliva and shaped like if you cupped one hand, and sized about 8cm across.

The nests can be found high up in caves in parts of Malaysia, Thailand and even Bali. Once it was discovered that these nests were edible, hunters climbed up to pry the nests loose; if harvested before eggs are laid or hatched, they were clean and easy enough to prep for sale. Because it is a lucrative business, artificial nesting boxes are now used to farm even more nests.

It is believed that consuming the nests is good for health, beauty and longevity. Indeed, it is a delicacy served at auspicious occasions like birthdays and Mother’s Day. I’m not sure anyone realises the supreme irony of destroying a mother’s home in order to gift it to another mother.

Today, the nests can be bought in bottles and gift packs, ready-cooked in rock sugar, honey or any variation of sweet or savoury preparations. The biggest importers are said to be the US, China and Hong Kong, where a bowl of Bird’s Nest Soup can cost up to US$100.

I was offered this soup while on a tour in Thailand and did think it looked intriguing. It resembled a bowl of translucent jelly-like oatmeal. Then I asked what it was …

Nope, didn’t touch it then, and still not touching it now. It’s not the saliva that I find hard to swallow; it’s the fact that it’s somebody’s home.

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DAILY PROMPT ~ SWALLOW

 

THANKS