Friday, July 9, 2010

Blood: Tuesdays and Saturdays

I'm going to visit my mom this weekend. Among the many wonderful features of being consistently underfunded (broke) is that when your mother lives two hours away down a toll road, you don't go and see her nearly as much as you like. It makes it even harder when you work seven days a week.

As luck would have it, I ended up with today (Friday) off and had an elaborate plan to make the trip to Virginia. All I had to do was do my second donation (bleed) for the week, take the 26 bucks and it was almost enough to make the trip down. I figured if I juggled a couple of things next week, I could squeeze the rest out with my first donation (bleed) next week.

For those of you just joining or those who need a reminder, when you donate (sell) plasma you get paid based on the number of times you've donated in a given week. You are allowed to donate twice per week. The first time, you get twenty-one bucks (thanks to their new cash checking fee payment policy). The second time, they throw in an extra five dollars.

It's an incentive to bring you back at the end of the week --though, not much of incentive.

The rules state you can not donate more than once in a 48 hour period. You also can't cheat and go donate somewhere else then come back and donate again. Twice a week is a hard rule. You can show up higher than a kite. You can forget to bathe. You can even show up looking like you've just had your ass kicked, but you can only show up twice.

Until this morning, I didn't realize the schedule I have to observe is set in stone.

I checked in and for once the computer read my fingerprint on the first try, but then it rejected me and informed me that I needed to speak to one of the staff.

An elfin supervisor with a pierced tongue said, "I'm sorry. You can't donate early. You can donate late, but you can't donate early."

I tried to piece it together. Basically, if I wanted I could come in on Wednesday then Saturday or Thursday then Saturday, but never Tuesday and Friday, which makes no real sense.

"You can come back tomorrow."

"I was planning to go out of town," I told her. "To Virginia."

"Oh, the beach?" She brightened up.

Looking at her like she was a complete idiot, which she was, I said, "No, it was gas money to go see my mom. I haven't seen her in six months."

"Oh," she said. It hardly fucking mattered. This was not her problem. Her problem, judging by the number of employees clustered around her and watching us, was to make sure I didn't flip out in the waiting room.

I haven't seen anyone do that yet. Apparently, it is a possibility --something to look forward to.

She smiled and told me again, "Well, you can't donate early. You can only donate late."

I shrugged. Whatever. Another rule to remember. I turned and walked out.

"See you next week."

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