My head aches. From head to toe is a close second if I don’t act fast. 


Present Day


Standing at the back of the Pick-up Only line I imagine  this is what it must feel like to time travel. I’m perplexed by what’s going on around me.  The world seems foreign and hostile, and so very bright. And I swear it’s louder than my swing through last week in search of multi-colored bandaids (no characters!).  


I wait my turn and psych myself up for the question train. 


There are three people in front of me. Four against one cashier. I try not to take deep breaths behind my mask. I’ve had only coffee and a cheese stick so far today. Okay, and a handful of chocolate peanuts.  Whoever thought fluorescent lights were a good idea never had a migraine or a hangover. Or time traveled. 


The young woman at the counter standing between me and relief has a gray head scarf and neon green nail polish. She greets me and starts her script. 


“Last name?’

I tell her. Throb. 

“Has your insurance changed?’

I answer “No”. Pulse.

“How many prescriptions are you picking up?”

I tell her. Now the nausea kicks in. If I take my Maxalt in the next 10 minutes this will abate. 

“Ok, let me see if we have it ready.”

I tell her I called ahead. She looks for my magic medication in the little white bins along the opposite wall. 

“Ok, here it is. What is your birthdate?”

I tell her behind my mask. 

“I’m sorry. What was that?”

I say it again louder, raising my blood pressure and suffering for it. 

“And are you still at 123 Main street?”

I nod. 

“It looks like your copay has changed. Did you know that?”


I shake my head handing her my credit card. I’d unholstered it upon entering the queue. Anything to move this along. The dull ache and me wait while she types, and then types some more. The time warp and query train is over.  She hands me the bag with a waterfall of documentation stapled to the front.


Pass Present Day to a Better Identity 


I’m next in line and I notice a familiar logo for Journey AI. The line moves along with purpose, like there are sick people in it.  I get to the counter and smile at the young woman. If I was 100% I would have winked since we both share a love of vedant shades. My homemade manicure is grass green.  I take out my phone, open the Journey app, and scan the QR code. A notification pops up that my prescription is ready, without the silly questions. I’m already verified in the app.   Another friendly notification tells me that my copay is now $2.  I tap to accept the charge. Then the app tells me that everything will be alright and hugs me. Not exactly, but you know what I mean. Technology can be our friend.  


She gets my attention and says, “Here’s your prescription,”. She smiles, taps her nails on the counter rhythmically and tells me,  “Feel better.” I’m about to. She hands me the white bag that crinkles as I take it. Gone is the receipt parade flapping in the wind.  All that juicy data is where it should be — secured and verified. I’m gone before my migraine goes into overdrive. 


Journey can’t cure a headache but it can treat the sting of silly questions.

Sheryl Headshot

Storyteller and translator of technical jargon. BA in English from UC Riverside.