This morning I got a call from a nice young lady named Ashley or Brittney or something, I don’t remember. She works for the American Red Cross, in their vampire division.
I occasionally give some of my blood to these folks. I think the last time I did so was about a year ago. I know… I have more than I need, I can make the stuff without even trying, and it’s just plain selfish for me to hoard it… Leave me alone already! I don’t like being poked with needles. Soon I’ll probably capitulate to my social conscience and donate again, but this must happen on my own terms. In my defense, I’d note that I’ve never made a withdrawal from their bank, so I should have a positive balance, although I don’t get statements from them to verify that.
|You just feel a little sting...|
Like what you'd get from a giant robot bee with a 2" long steel stinger.
The trouble is, they have my contact info. I give it to them every time I donate, thinking it’s required. You know, in case they get back to the lab and find my blood is infected with some horrible, deadly virus. I’d kinda like them to pass that info along. It occurs to me that the Red Cross is the only entity, besides my wife, to ever succeed in getting both my phone number and some body fluids from me. No, I take that back. The Air Force got both, and a lot more. But I’m not in the habit of giving either of these things out to strangers. I’d like that to go on record.
So now, every time the supply runs low, Hailey or Jessica or Amber calls or sends an email to ask if I’ll stop in and give a pint. My wife has it easy. They don’t want her blood, because it’s potentially (she insists I include that modifier) infected with mad cow disease. You live in England for two years in the early ‘90s, and you get a lifelong exemption from donating. It’s like wearing a wreath of garlic cloves around your neck.
Here’s the part that made me go, “Um… WHAT?!” Crystal or somebody calls this morning around 9:00, and I’m still in bed because I work swing shift and sleep in late. In my semi-coherent state I explain that no, I cannot come in tomorrow to let them drain me. My schedule is full. (This is true… not that I wouldn’t invent an excuse if necessary.) So she says, and this is an exact quote, “Okay, hun. Thanks anyway. We’ll catch you next time.” Hun? Did she just call me “Hun?” I’m sure I heard right and she said “Hun.” She sounds 19 years old, give or take three years. I’m thirty-eleven. I’ve been married 16 years. I have four kids, a mortgage, and a minivan, forpetesake. She’s barely old enough to vote, and I’m overdue for my midlife crisis.
If you are a waitress named Flo who recently celebrated the birth of her first grandchild, and you’re serving coffee to a slightly younger truck driver in an all-night diner, and he’s a regular there… then it is okay for you to address him as “Hun.” I don’t think Tiffany has earned that right with me. I only wish I’d had the presence of mind to reply, “Alright, babe. Call back anytime.” My mental agility must have been impeded by morning weariness and the thought of getting stabbed in the arm.