Selfishly Giving The Gift of Life

Our story begins with our hero walking into the crowded waiting room of the local American Red Cross office. He has a 7:30 appointment, but quickly realizes that he probably won’t be taken on time. Every seat in the waiting room is full as he approaches the desk and accepts the obligatory “What You Need To Know Before Donating” packet of information from the 107 year old volunteer. He quickly scans the notebook pages pretending to read. He’s donated blood many times before, so none of this information is news to him. He notes with mild interest that there seems to be new questions regarding Mad Cow disease and visiting England in the past 25 years. England, apparently still sore about that whole Revolutionary War fiasco 230 years ago, has been exporting Mad Cow disease to the States. I turn my packet back in to the volunteer and look around, mentally counting how many people are ahead of me. Fortunately two of the waiting room denizens appear to be there as spectators for a young lady who is having trouble maintaining her state of consciousness while donating. I settle in to a recently vacated chair and open my cell phone to play a game to pass the time. The two elderly volunteers, Ma and Pa Kettle as I’m beginning to think of them, lean on the desk making small talk with each other and anyone who makes eye contact.

To my right a young woman speaks up, “Excuse me, but I had a 7:00 appointment and I’ve been waiting a half hour.” Pa Kettle responds with the usual platitudes about how busy the day has been and that she’s next on the list and will be taken ASAP. The young woman, who’s voice seems to get more grating each time she speaks responds, “Well, what’s the point of making an appointment if no one is going to be seen on time? I might as well just walk in whenever I feel like it.” The rabble rouser’s husband/boyfriend/lap dog chips in, “They always book more appointments than they should because a lot of people don’t show up.” Again Pa Kettle attempts to placate them, but the young woman is undeterred as she relates the story of her tardy dentist and how she won’t schedule with her doctor on a Monday because of all the weekend illness people who back up the schedule on Mondays. Her lap dog of a husband, apparently eager to stay on her good side in hopes that the lack of blood will make her loopy enough later that she’ll actually deign to have sex with him, again pipes in with his brilliant theory about overbooking. Pa Kettle offers to let her fill out a survey after she donates. She continues to whine. Like some sort of philanthropic Rainman, lap dog boy again restates his position on their scheduling policy. Pa Kettle tells the woman that he’ll include her comments on his end of day report in the “customer concerns” section. This exchange goes on a good 10 minutes as the rest of the waiting room watches, our heads bobbing from side to side with each volley as if we’re at a tennis match. By now I’m tempted to raise my hand and say, “Excuse me,” pointing my finger directly at her, “if I’m ever in an accident don’t give me her blood. I’m pretty sure it’s spoiled.”

11 responses to “Selfishly Giving The Gift of Life

  1. Oh dear. I'm surprised she didn't simply leave. I would have. Its true that no good deed goes unpunished but forcing people to wait that long to donate blood seems ill advised and counter productive. Whilst whining is not fun to hear / watch – I can understand her displeasure. She should have voted with her feet instead of moaning – it would have been far more effective.

  2. i'm impressed that the blood bank is so busy they can't keep up. wish we had that problems around here! i try to stop in as often as i can, but i'm frequently rejected due to my borderline iron levels.

  3. HAHA! That would have been an awesome moment.

  4. Please tell me you said that! 🙂

  5. If you actually said it, you probably would have had the rest of the room cracking up, and the girl giving you dager eyes.

    You should have totally said it! 😀

  6. Oh, you totally should have said that! If I had been clever enough to think of it, I totally WOULD have said that. Scarlet can back me up 😉

  7. I had a friend who would call from the blood bank to let us know to meet him at the bar. He called them “good deed/cheap drunk” days.

    God, how I miss him.

  8. wuts wrong with spoiled blood? u just hv to warm it up a bit. LOL!


  9. I bet everyone was thinking the same!

  10. Hehehe too funny! Good on you for donating!

  11. That is just fantastic. I'm donating blood today and I intend to watch the interactions with the 107 year old volunteer VERY closely.

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