Saturday, October 2, 2010

blood: scar tissue

"What, no hippie book today?"

"No," I said and held up a copy of "Imperial Bedrooms" by Bret Easton Ellis. "No, this isn't about starting a commune."

She smiled and had no idea whatsoever what I was reading. She just wanted to say hi. After 32 visits to the plasma center, I'm now a regular and since I bathe, don't come in drunk or high, don't appear to be fresh from a prison chain gang and don't act like I'm a good candidate for a restraining order, they're trying to make me into a character in their ongoing drama.

This is completely reasonable, since they are all characters here.

"Right or left arm?" The milker asked me.

As usual, I said, "left."

She sat me at a recliner that, unfortunately, was facing away from the big screen tv playing "Walk The Line." I haven't actually seen the film and had just caught enough of it out in the lobby to be sort of interested.

Everybody else had a great view and seemed completely enraptured, including the bleeder come to stick me, which is always a little nerve wracking.

"No commune book today?" She asked.

"No," I said and again held up what I was reading. "Just this."

The milker looked over to her co-worker.

"No commune today."

"Oh, too bad," the girl said. "We were both hoping to join."

And this, I thought, could be flirting, except it isn't. At best, they were gently mocking me, which is sort of annoying when you want to believe that attractive strangers might flirt with you. That stopped a while back. Time to move on.

Anyway, I considered explaining what the book was about, how it was a sequel to "Less Than Zero," and go into how much fun that is --not to mention the rest of Ellis's catalog, which is largely for masochists, but I wasn't up for the contempt.

If I was so damned smart, what was I doing here?

It was an argument I could not hope to win.

Meanwhile, the milker assigned to me, looked at the scar in my elbow sourly.

"This vein sucks," she said.

"I'd switch to the other arm," I told her. "But that vein is crooked and last time I tried it, that hurt --a lot."

She looked at me. Her friend and fellow commune enthusiast was interested, too.

"Who did that"

"I don't remember." Though, I did. She just wasn't visible at the moment and I don't speak ill of people who might be sticking me with needles.

"Was it a man or a woman?" She asked.

"A woman," I told her, the truth, though neither of them seemed happy to hear that. They'd both been complaining about some other milker, a guy, who neither of them trusted. I didn't catch the name and they didn't seem interested in passing along the information a second time.

"How bad is my arm?" I asked.

She shook her head, frowned.

"It's got a bunch of knots and lumps from the scar tissue. The vein is hard."

I nodded. This will only get worse.

"Will this become too difficult to get a needle into?" I asked. "Is this going to eventually stop me from donating?"

She shook her head.


But she seemed to be saying it was going to make it more likely that getting stuck would hurt.

It doesn't matter. I'm good at that.


Steven Allen Adams said...

Plasma centers really are rife with interesting stories.

primalscreamx said...

Yeah, I need to branch out. Maybe I should start doing lunch at Manna Meal again.

eclectic guy said...

Sedaris has Santaland Diaries. I'm sensing a simalar chapter in your book. The Blood Diaries?