On the worst day, the day when I could not so much as whisper, I went to Whole Foods seeking throat drops. Ok, yes, I was secretly hoping they had a Magic Pill that would suddenly restore my voice, my health, my attention span, and my 18-year-old figure. But I was ready to settle for cough drops.

After flailing about in the expensive soap and “nutritional supplements” aisles for awhile, I was approached by a helpful Whole Foods employee.

“Can I help you find something?” she asked.

I gestured meaningfully at my throat while moving my mouth silently. I assumed this was the universal sign for “I want cough drops”. But I was wrong.

“You can’t talk?”

I nodded yes.

“Should you have a pen and paper?”

Shrug. Sure. I nodded. She started off in the direction of the help desk, chattering cheerfully about this and that and how awkward it must be and why didn’t I carry a notebook, etc. We reached the desk and she handed me a paper and then said she didn’t have a pen and she’d be right back. I took a pen out of my purse and waved it at her retreating back.

She returned, pen in hand, and was happily impressed with my ability to produce one from my own purse. Chatter, chatter, “Oh good, you found a pen, etc. Now I can help you…WAIT! Can you hear?”


Really? Did you just ask me that? We’ve been having a conversation for ten minutes, and your side was entirely spoken.

“I have laryngitis,” I wrote on the pad. “I want cough drops.”

“OH! All the throat medicines are in aisle blah blah blah.”