Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blood: Rise of the machines

Mickey looked at me and shook his head.

"So, they called me back first, but here you are."

I shrugged then leaned back in the chair. I couldn't explain it. I'd actually finished the intake before Mickey, but they called him back for the interview before me. While he'd been graded like a carton of milk, I'd sat in the lobby watching "Rushmore" on the flat screen along with a young woman who was here for her first visit.

She seemed nervous, though she'd brought a vampire romance novel to while away the time.

I waited and tried not to be annoyed about the waiting. Regardless of the order you arrive at the lobby or whether you're the first or the last person in a group to finish the sign-in portion, you get sent back to bleed at the whim and pleasure of the plasma center computer.

Of course, the wait is never very long, but that isn't the point. The longest I've ever had to sit in the lobby was about twenty minutes, but it gets irritating watching a half dozen people who came in later, go before you. Even if the picture on the television is pretty sweet, nobody wants to spend a lot of time here. You want to get it over with, but there's nothing to be done.

"I stopped coming in right at 8 o'clock," he said. "The computer was always down and then we're all waiting for one of them to come out there to jiggle a wire or something."

He sighed. "It was always a hassle."

"I usually clean my thumb with the alcohol wipe after I wipe down the headset."

He nodded. He did the same.

"You've got to wipe the headset down." Mickey shuddered. "Have you seen some of the people who come in here?"


He looked around at the milkers moving from machine to machine like bumble bees in a field of clover.

"One of these days it will all be machines and computers." He sounded pleased at the prospect. "They won't need any of them. We'll just come back here and stick our arm into the machine. The machine will get us with the needle."

Of course, they would still need us. They can't replace us.

"And we'd each get our own tv," he added. That seemed to matter the most. Mickey hates watching "Charmed" more than anything.

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