Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bleed me

People are awfully nice to you when you’re giving blood.
They use foreign sounding phrases like “May I please…” and “Is it ok…”
All this while doing things like jabbing you with a pin.
Slapping the inside of your elbow to find a vein to stick huge fucking needles into.
Asking you to pump harder with your wrist (never thought anyone would be telling me to do that).

I read somewhere if you lose more than 50% of your body’s blood, the damage, the sheer shock to the system is irreversible, even if it’s replaced after. And I’m wondering whether it’s my life force draining from me into a plastic bag that is affording me this moment of clarity. Whether some kind of cellular death is endowing me with a period of rare insight:

The blood bank is like the tax receipts department of the government.
All smiles and helpful nods while they bleed you.

In fact, giving blood is perhaps the best way to bleed.
You can have a gallon of blood gushing out of your skull courtesy of some blunt force trauma and you’ll be told to wait.
But give blood, and you’re ushered into a nice waiting room with magazines.
And as O-type blood ran from me, I found death and taxes to be a perfectly natural pairing.

When I finish, the nurse smiles and carefully – almost lovingly – carries the 450ml pouch and sets it in a tray with its own code number. She gives me a donor booklet with the date of my first deposit. She even rushed to hold the door open for me.

“Thank you, please come again.”

Just like the tax department.

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