Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Machine Overlords

It's after dinner and my body is currently doing it's own version of Battlestar Galactic, and I'm pretty sure the humans are going to lose this time. The pain is epic, but this is the pain that I have learned to live with because, short of just having my inconsiderate lady bits removed, there is very little I can do about this. Once, every thirty days, I will drink more wine then usual, curse the physical discomfort and carry on. So, you know, a day in the life of most women.

As I exited my favorite comfort bar, it occurred to me that I had no chocolate. Chocolate is a most sacrosanct reward for the suffering of all women and the thought of having to go through this without chocolate was sacrilege. 

Chocolate must be acquired. 

Fortunately, I knew of a pharmacy nearby where I could stock up on the sweet surcease to ease my body and this, then, established the trajectory of the evening. 

In the far too well lit store, I stood out, too well defined in fluorescentes, in front of a chocolate display. 

50 percent off chocolate: the display read. 

"Yes, please."

I proceeded to grab a solid handful of chocolate.

Ask for the additional 1.00 dollar off coupon at the counter. 

"I will!" 

Having thanked the small sheets of paper willing me towards cheaper chocolate I eschewed the self pay and proceeded to a counter. 

"The chocolate told me to ask you for a dollar off coupon."

The lovely young girl behind the counter paused for a minute before her eyes, wide, suddenly pointed to a big red machine. 

"Oh, no, not me. You ask the machine."

"I want the chocolate. Just tell me who to ask." Because I am in pain and because I don't want to deal with life I'm ready to give in, but she is sweet and kind and wants to help me.

"Just come over here. What's your number?"

Of course, as soon as she asks a rumbling earthquake of pain hits my body and so through gritted teeth I rattle of digits and hope she catches them all. The red machines stands there, like a sad cousin to Robot, rather then decrying danger, instead spitting out coupons for cheaper chocolate. 

We walk back to the counter together and she processes my rewards, bringing the total cost down from 40.00 dollars to 17.00. Clearly, a worthwhile venture. She rings me up and I dutifully insert my card. 

"Do you want to keep the other coupons?"

The red machine had spit out a number of coupons, but I just assumed the coupons were for the chocolate so I looked at the young lady rather perplexed, having just come down from the most recent round of thrashing pain. 

"I don't know, what were they for?"

She looks at the paper slips in her hands. She looks down. She looks at me. She looks at the paper. She looks at me. 

"Uh...two dollars off tampons, a dollar off a bottle of wine, two dollars off pain killers, and a dollar of pads."

We make eye contact over the counter. I hold it a moment too long. How can you not?

"So, clearly our machine overlords understand what is happening in my body right now."

We laugh for a moment, but she stands there awkward with the slips of paper. 

I smile at her and break the tension. 

"Which brand?"

"Any, it's general."

"Well, it's clear I can use them."

I take the stack of slips and slide it in my bag next to the large, less expensive stack of chocolate and laugh merrily to myself as I walk out the door on my way home. 

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