On Tuesday I mustered up the courage to give blood in one of the Red Cross's Blood Mobiles. Normally I don't do Blood Mobiles because the space limitation makes me feel closed in. I walked up the van's steps at 10:30am; there were only a few workers and maybe one donor inside. I saw a worker sitting on one of the beds as she ate a disgusting-looking salad (it was slimy with dressing). The whole thing just seemed unhygienic to me. Luckily I did not have a free hour (at that time). "We'll be open until 3," she said as I left. "Sorry, I meant we'll be here until 4!" she corrected herself. Sure enough I did not return that afternoon.
Anyhow, I saw a sign advertising a blood drive on Wednesday in the Stern Center ballroom, a much better location for the space-sensitive types. I got myself psyched up to give, so much that I forgot about my deep-seated fear of needles (the only good thing about this is that I am guaranteed to avoid certain addictions) and blood. As much as I tell myself not to give away my weakness and ask the nurses to be gentle (they should be trained to treat all donors gently, I think), I cannot uphold this facade of security when push comes to shove. "Please be gentle," I told the nurse as she cleaned my finger for the pre-test. "With the finger prick?" she asks, clearly confused.
"Friends" was shown on the large, LCD televisions for the donors. I appreciated that. As I was giving blood I laughed strangely and randomly, probably only because of my condition. My behavior and attitude changed rapidly, so much that the nurses and even other donors may have thought I was having some sort of freak experience. I made my way over to the canteen and contentedly sipped a diet coke. I was about to leave, when to my surprise, a nurse on break sat down with a drippy salad like the one I had seen in the Blood Mobile the previous day. I must say that I felt bad for the guy sitting nearby in the process of donating his plasma, who surely must have seen that gut-twisting salad being eaten.