Last week I went to my local Red Cross to give blood. It’s been awhile since I’ve donated and the only reason is that a volunteer called me to make a date and time due to a blood shortage.
“Hello Mr. McClain this is the Red Cross and our records show that you’ve given blood in the past and currently we have a blood bank shortage. We were wondering if tomorrow at eleven o’clock would be a good time for you to donate at our Hubbards Lane office since you’re unemployed.”
I must have heard that last part wrong. Being out of work does strange things to your imagination.
I walk up the front desk and the guy in front of me says he’s way early for his appointment. The girl gives him information to read and says they’ll call his name when they’re ready. He walks away and I walk up, standing directly in front the girl.
She’s looking at something on her desk, not noticing me at all for about twenty seconds. I start to feel like an apparition and look down to make sure I’m visible and clear my throat which startles her. She apologizes and gives me the binder to read.
Giving blood use to be a simple affair as I recall they would stick you as soon as you walked through the front door and, BADA BING, you were finished and out the door. Now you sit in front of a computer and click on answers to a series of questions, some of which surprised me.
‘What political party do you belong to?’
‘Who did you vote for in the previous presidential election?’
‘Have you currently or in the past ever been associated with communists and/or socialists?’
‘Are you unemployed and do you feel like a ghost?’
I’m finally led to a chair by a guy who looks like Bela Lugosi and as I’m laying
there I notice there’s a fan nearby with dust and cobwebs covering the back of the wire cage. I’m thinking this can’t be very sanitary sitting close by with a needle in your arm.
My bag fills in five minutes flat and Bela comments how fast I was. I walk over to the snack table where there is an elderly man in his volunteer vest. He gives me a knowing, almost creepy smile and asks me if I would like some orange juice. This man attended Ole Miss College back in the days when William Faulkner taught there and has a first edition copy of “As I Lay Dying” signed by the author.
At least that’s what he told me.