|The heart with a mind of its own.(Be present.)||The mind with a heart of its own.(It's past.)||The dream that is your waking life.(Go there now.)|
The Vampire Story
Yeah. Well, so you have to get up at seven thirty in the morning on a Saturday, which you don't really want to do. You really do want to get the vampires from UBS off your back about the blood they want, you know, the O negative vein of gold that you have been cursed with by your AO mother and your BO father. And the vampires are calling your house, like, six times a day and they really want to draw your blood and so you ignore them because when you DO go down to donate blood, they're all, like, "Oh, yeah...great...whatever. Thanks for coming," in that same bored voice that they use to ask you all those questions like have you ever had a major transplant or have you ever used intravenous drugs or have you ever visited any one of a number of countries that they list off like one of those tours where you see ten countries in seven days from a bus filled with old people in bad travel clothes and those funky hats that people wear when they are playing tennis, those ones that are just elastic and that bill like from the baseball caps but harder and shorter. You know.
So, you wait in the little area where they put you when you are early for your appointment and you look over the weird little snacks that they have there, you know, the weird little hermetically sealed cookies that are all spongy and filled with some type of sugary adhesive and that popcorn from god knows when and that "juice" that's really supersweet Kool-Aid. They don't even have those cookies anymore. You know, those cookies that were vaguely peanut butter flavored and all sandy and designed to crumble all over the front of your shirt and be not too sweet and which you always see as snacks at conferences and stuff. They don't even have those.
So then they call you into the little interview room. And I'm a big woman and the woman who is going to stick me is a big woman and we're like thirty freshmen in a phone booth in there, all, like, trying to go for some school record. But she's pretty cool. Her hair is bleached blonde and she, like, has it cut in this bobbed style that I like a lot and I want to tell her so, but she's cooler than I am, so I don't say anything, and then I notice her fingernails which are all bitten away, down below the tips of her fingers so that the nail ends and then there's all this skin and then her finger ends and it makes me wonder about whether it's some kind of habit or if it’s genetic or maybe the habit is genetic. And she's pretty cool, all telling me about this woman who she has to turn away every week because her hemocrit is always too low, and I'm, like, hemocrit is the iron content, right? Duh. And she's all, like, yeah. And she tells me how she told this woman to go home and eat a lot of fish and come back next week, but later in the day because your hemocrit is lower in the mornings. And she's going through that list of questions, and then she has to put down that I was treated for high blood pressure and then she has to put down about the Zoloft and the trazodone and then she goes back to the questions, and she's actually not using that "I've said this so many times that I've memorized it and I'm going to just go ahead and hit the N key before you even anwer the question" voice. She’s actually using a normal voice, like we’re having a conversation, and I can even make out some of the words she’s using. And most of those things I haven’t done. I haven’t had a transplant or blood transfusion ever. And in the past twelve years I haven’t visited any African countries. And I’m not giving blood in order to get a free AIDS test. And I do know that I can give someone AIDS if I’m infected even though I have tested negative. And in the past six months I haven’t had an accidental needle stick—oh, wait. Oh, yeah. Except I have had an accidental needle stick. Two weeks ago. Yep. Yeah, I was being stupid and not paying real close attention and I stuck myself with the needle that we use to draw samples into the syringe before we inject them into the FPLC. I couldn’t recall if I only had DI water in the syringe or if I had a purified sample of the stuff in the syringe (stuff being the mouse fibrosarcoma protein that we are looking for) so I tried to explain all that except I really, you know, couldn’t. So she types for a while and then she pulls down the big red notebook and starts to look up “needle stick.” She says she just wants to be sure and I’m, like, yeah, no, I totally understand. So she reads it and then says, “Mice aren’t farm animals, are they?” And I’m, all, like, well, not officially, but I’ll bet there are one or two mice on one or two farms out there. (Which I don’t say, I only think it to myself, because it’s not a dumb question, its just one of those “I need to follow the rules, only I don’t know what the rules are” kinds of things.) So then she says she has to talk to her supervisor. So, she leaves the room and goes to find her supervisor and I stick my head out of the room to tell Max, who is waiting patiently, about the situation here, and he tells me about this woman who is behind him (not far behind him, but like, actually right behind him) and how she got bit by a dog and how she had to get rabies shots and then they wouldn’t let her donate for a year. And I’m all, no way.
Then she comes back and tells me that they’re probably going to have to put me on some kind of probation or something. And the supervisor sticks her head in the room and tells me about how they need to “research” the problem and they’ll call me. I’m feeling all rejected by this point, though not too bad because when I got out of the shower at eight-o-five, I had sat down on the edge of the bed and said to Max, “I’m not going to give blood today.” And we both had thought that I had meant that I wasn’t going to go to the appointment, but, no, I had decided to go, and then this happened. The blonde woman put me on a thirty day “animal stick” probation and made me sign this paper which basically told me the same thing.