I like being a regular.
I like that when I go into Chipotle in my building, they know they need to change their gloves before they make my food to avoid flour contamination.
I like that when I walk into two different Starbucks, they know my name and my order without my having to say anything. And I have a complicated order (Venti non-fat, no-foam, 140 degree vanilla latte. Yeah. Really.).
It's nice to be a regular. There's something comforting about it. Welcoming.
But sometimes I don't want to be. And sometimes the familiarity becomes a little too, well, familiar.
Sometimes I don't want to be a regular because I actually want to order something else, but they've already started making my usual. And I don't want to hurt their feelings by saying I want something else. (Yes, I do know that that's ridiculous. I am an overly sensitive person who is overly sensitive for others as well.)
But then there's the level of familiarity.
I go to the pharmacy by work with some frequency because I am a super unhealthy person. The pharmacist there knows me by name. He does me favors like give me a dose of whatever it is before it's filled if it's going to take a while. He even gives me a cup of water to take it.
I am a regular at the pharmacy.
He's a sweet guy - kind of grandfatherly - which is nice given how much he knows about me just from filling my prescriptions.
Last week when I went in to fill a prescription, I said, "I bet I'm your least healthy customer." And he said, "No, but you are my prettiest customer."
Okay, kind of sweet.
So I go back the next day - yes, the next day - and he asks how I am. It was about a million degrees outside, so I said, "I'm really hot," and he said, "Well, that's not always a bad thing, now, is it?" with, you know, that
look on his face. He got my drugs then said, "I always like it when you come in."
And now I'm a little uncomfortable, so I sign the privacy thing and leave.
This past week, I got sick for the millionth time this year. One of my many doctors was kind enough to call in some anti-nausea medication for me. I went to fill it. He took one look at my greenish pale face and handed me over my pre-dose. He told me when to come back, then said, "I'll look forward to seeing you again."
I went to work. And a couple of hours later, I left again.
I wanted the rest of those anti-nausea pills. But a) I wanted to take as few steps as possible and the drugstore is past the parking lot, and b) I didn't feel like seeing the pharmacist again.
I called in a refill for something else the next day.
I didn't want to pick it up. My drugs were just sitting there in their little bin with the pharmacist waiting for me to come in. I finally went at the end of the day yesterday because I had no other choice. They're closed on the weekends and it's downtown.
As he's getting my prescriptions, I commented on how nice it was outside, and he said, "Yeah, I've been watching out the little portal window. It looks beautiful."
He hands me my prescriptions then says, again, "I always like it when you come in." I say, "Thanks. That's nice." I sign the privacy thing. I swipe my card; sign the electronic panel. As I'm about to leave, he says, "You always brighten my day when you come in."
I said, "Thanks. That's nice," again, and "Have a good weekend," and left.
I walked outside and told my friend who was waiting for me how the pharmacist creeped me out. But then I started thinking about it. He said some things that made me uncomfortable. But, really, how bad can it be to brighten someone's day? He stands behind that counter all day, every day, dealing with people, with insurance, with doctors, and yet I've never seen him without a smile on his face.
There are people in my life who brighten my days. It doesn't generally occur to me to tell them. I should.
I am a regular at Chipotle. I am a regular at Starbucks. And I am a regular at the pharmacy.
I like being a regular.
Most of the time.