On January 20th I decided to celebrate the American version of democracy in a very low key, personal sort of a way.
Friday morning I went to the city for various boob squishing procedures. The radiologists always have trouble reading my pics, so I make multiple visits and this time finally concluded with a squooshy sonogram. Thankfully the imaging center I frequent is one of those that go to almost creepy lengths to make you feel all special and cared for. (Why do I keep turning down their offer of a warm robe? Is it some sort of left-over puritanical, Protestant distrust of things that feel good? Or is it because it sounds like how you might be greeted at the Playboy Mansion? Or both?) Even though I spent triple the time there that I'd intended, I still felt up to pursuing my Celebration of Democracy.
I drove across town to the blood donation center.
I donate blood on a fairly regular basis, but it's always, every single time, been at a mobile blood drive. A drive with an actual driver. In an RV.
I have one of those semi-rare blood types, so they normally ask me to do one of the oil change donations where they siphon out a lot of blood, strip it of the good parts, then squeeze it back in. It usually takes about 45 minutes, start to finish.
This time I was going to the headquarters building in the city. It's a really nice place! Lots of lushly comfortable recliners, flat screen TVs mounted high on the walls, buckets of snack food and pyramids of juice boxes and water. (Only one of the televisions was tuned to a news channel. And that was not Fox. And they were all muted.) I'd even received a text message directing me to complete a preliminary health screening online so I could save 20 minutes during the on-site screening process. (I'd also avoid that litany of "No. No. No. No. No." to all those questions about my sexual and travel history.)
While waiting in the screener's office, I noticed a sign with info on platelet donation. I asked her about it. "Oh! I was just about to suggest that," she said, after verifying my blood type. "Do you have some time? It takes a little longer, but we're experiencing a shortage of platelets and it would really help us out if you can do it."
"I've got lots of time. Why not?"
Before long I was ensconced in one of those comfy chairs, feet up, swaddled in warm blankets and squeezing a liquid heat pack because I was sitting next to the air conditioner vent and my delicate digits might get chilled. I was happy.
I stayed happy for the next three hours.
The vampires were all atwitter about my ridiculously high platelet count and wired me up for a triple donation. "It will take a little longer," they warned. I had no where to be. I said ok. I did just fine except for that bit when my feet started cramping. They gave me some calcium and put my feet down so I could work the cramps out. Then I almost fainted, so they put my feet back up.
And then brought me more juice boxes. And snacks. And told me what a good person I was.
It was like being in kindergarten again. In a good way. I am all but sure there is a gold star beside my name in their database. I'm hoping to show it to my mom at "Meet The Phlebotomist" night.
At one point during the process, an administrator and the tech who did my paperwork held a low-voiced conference within earshot. "They wanted us to get at least six platelets today. With the four we have coming in later and the one you turned," a head nod in my direction "we're going to hit the goal. Good job!"
"The one you turned."
I'm the one she turned.
Wow. I'd been turned and I hadn't even realized it. Emperor Palpatine would not have been impressed. He would find my lack of resistance...disturbing.
But then I looked down at the snack in my hand, and laughed.
The dark side really DOES have cookies!