Monday, December 6, 2010

blood: Oh Christmas Tree...

"Why are you wearing shorts?"

Outside, snow was coming down like paper streamers. The sky was leaden and the technicians working the counter were appalled. Just looking at me made them cold.

"Laundry day," I said. This is my standard line when actually I don't much care what I wear on Saturday. It was enough to get my point through. They understood, but thought I was stupid for coming out dressed for a luau.

"You drove, right?" And I nodded.

"But I've got some errands outside," I said. "My family is getting our Christmas tree."

What I really love about the plasma people is no matter what I tell them I'm planning on spending my blood money on, they never flinch. Whatever I say I'm going to buy never seems weird to them.

"I've got to get my tree out of the attic this weekend," the technician said and checked my blood pressure. "I guess I bought it about ten years ago, spent almost a hundred dollars."

I nodded. "Sounds like you got your money's worth. The fresh cut ones run about 40 or 50 bucks. We go out every year. It's kind of a tradition."

"I like live trees, too," she said. "I just can't stand cleaning up the needles."

It is a common complaint.

"I don't mind the extra fuss," I said. "I wish they were cheaper, but we do pretty good. We always go with a budget."

In this case, my budget was exactly $52, the money from a single week of donating plasma.

We picked the tree out at the market. The snow was really coming down. I was still wearing my shorts. My youngest son found the tree.

"I like this one," he said and it looked pretty good to me. It looked pretty good to all of us.

I shelled out 40 dollars and bought a bunch of mistletoe to hang over doorways and to tie above the stalls in the bathroom at work.

Ho, ho, ho.

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