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I have often wondered if cheese would be the death of me. I have always assumed its awesome gooey goodness would clog my arteries and I would be snuffed out suddenly by a heart attack. I never thought cheese could nearly result in my death through starvation.

On Saturday morning, I set my alarm just so I could do some Christmas shopping at the mall before the parking lot swarmed with idiot drivers. No such luck! I knew it would be dangerous, but I also knew that the closer it gets to Christmas, the more dangerous it will become.

I dressed lightly. I packed lightly. I wore comfortable shoes. I mapped my route in my head, and armed with my list, I entered the fray. I shopped.

After two and a half hours of price comparisons, strategic planning, and browsing, I was fatigued. It was time to refuel before the final push. I made my way through the congested corridor to the cramped food court at the far end of the mall, and lined up for my juicy cheeseburger. I bought my cheeseburger and after 5 minutes of aimlessly wandering the perimeter, I scored a tiny table for two. My whole body ached. My blood sugar was so low I was positively giddy. I unwrapped my burger and inhaled deeply…

I could have cried like a 2 year old at my tiny table in the middle of the food court, frantically rifling through my purse for Lactaid. After Little Guy was born, this bona fide cheese devotee became lactose intolerant. One (jagged) little pill stood between me and my cheeseburger!

The nearest drug store was at the other end of the very large mall.

So, I wrapped my steaming burger in an empty blue Best Buy bag and hightailed it. I practically ran down the hallway, expertly weaving between strollers and blank-faced teens staring at their cell phones. I tore into the drug store, scanning the overhead signs. Aisle 5 – “Incontinence” and “Seasonal” – I hope they aren’t related, but that’s a it seemed like a good place to start. Nope!

I startled the pharmacy assistant with lovely brown, “doe” eyes. She must have sensed my urgency and grabbed the pharmacist, who led me straight to my quarry.

One cashier was open and she was knee-deep in a complication return. Seven other people waited impatiently in line. I dashed back to the pharmacy, startling the assistant again and blurted out, “can you please ring me through? I just want to eat my cheeseburger…it’s in my bag!” I could feel tears starting to well up in my eyes.

***

I skipped from the store, catching a jealous look from the guy I kept passing in the aisles of the drug store ealier. And I collapsed on the nearest bench. I popped open my pill bottle and chewed up my one. little. pill. And I ate my cheeseburger right there in the middle of the mall, as wan-faced passersby stared and salivated.

Sesame bun. Crisp lettuce. Salty bacon.  Beef patty. Gooey cheese.

***

After I wiped my mouth and leaned back, sated, I realized I now had a new problem…I needed to pee and the nearest bathroom, was at the far end of the mall…right next to the food court.

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