Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blood: Training

We stood outside the locked, glass doors and waited. It was after 8 and they should have had the place opened up, but the lobby was dark. A sign hung in the door said, "Closed Monday For Training. Sorry for the inconvenience."

"Do you think they just forgot to unlock the doors?"

He looked at me and frowned, took out his iPhone and dialed the number below the plasma center's hours. It took a while for the call to get routed to an operator.

"Hey," he said. "We're standing out here in the parking lot. Are you opening up or not?" He listened and frowned. "But that is not what your sign says. It just says Monday." He listened and shook his head. "So, you're telling me you don't want my plasma." He huffed. "I drove an hour to be here."

She hung up on him.

"They're only taking appointments," he said. "Did you make an appointment last week?"

I shook my head. First, I'd heard of it.

Grumbling, he stalked off, got in his beat-up minivan and drove off. I kind of hope he didn't drive an hour. Two hours in that thing would dig pretty deep into the 21 bucks he got for the first donation of the week.

I picked up my phone and called, asked what was going on.

"We're in training this week," she said.

I looked at the sign. It said Monday.

"All week?" I asked.

"All week." She could give two shits.

"So, you will reopen next Monday?"


Well, that does simplify my week. Of course, that's 52 bucks I was expecting that I won't be getting --maybe more. There was some sort of bonus for donating twice a week this month. I hadn't missed.

Other people were pulling onto the lot as I was talking to the woman and I thought, you assholes. How many people count on this to make the rent, to cover their groceries and you do this at the end of the month? How many times over the last couple of months have I relied on it to soften a rough patch? More than I like to admit.

They treat us like cattle about half the time. I noticed this early on and it's why I still call the phlebotomy technicians "milkers." They'll talk over us and sometimes look at us like we're subhuman, like there is something defective in our personalities for allowing ourselves to be here --other than the fact we're broke. All of us are broke. Some of us are drug users. Some of us are prostitutes or ex-cons or welfare cheats. Some of us are liars and they don't care. Many of us, however, are not, but to a man, we're all just trying to scrape by.

I thought about this and almost unloaded, but there was no point. She'd just hang up on me the same as she did the other guy. Besides, she was the wrong person to talk to.

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