(No phlebotomists were harmed in the production of this story).
Last week, there was a Red Cross blood drive in my building. They were slammed with people all day (a good problem to have – too many donors), and I was the second to last person. By the time I got there, the staff was getting a little punchy.
So while I’m at the interview station (“Have you exchanged money or drugs for British beef since 1977?”), one of the technicians comes by to fix a computer issue and, I swear to Og, gives me “elevator eyes”. Now, I am wearing a (relatively) new suit and have somehow managed to get through the day without spilling curry on myself. I am basically as good looking as I get, but that is not much. I am wearing the one tie in North America that my wife, my clothier, and I all agree is a nice tie, which Elevator Girl comments on: “That’s a lovely tie”. This is unusual for me, in the same way that snowballs are unusual for Hell, and Cubs are unusual for World Series.
You may know, or maybe your friends have told you, how in a particular magazine’s letters department, they always give offhand descriptions of out-of-this world gorgeous people. “Sally was a simple country girl with blonde hair, blue eyes, a tiny waist, and a guarantee that she won’t turn into her mother in twenty years. Also, big knockers.” Well, my description would read something like “kdeus was a middle aged, middle weight, medium tall sort of fellow with a special gift in a certain department, as long as ‘a certain department’ means ‘back hair’”. So having an attractive young lady look at me once, let alone twice, was enough to bump my blood pressure a few points.
Halfway through the preliminaries (did you know they don’t use Copper Sulfate to test your iron level anymore? Goodbye, little blue vial.). Misha (the technician) comes back, LOOKS ME OVER AGAIN, and says “You have the loveliest brown eyes”. The interviewer considers writing “aflutter” in the block for my pulse rate.
I get to the Recliner of the Little Pinch, and, alas, fate separates me from Misha; I am in the perfectly capable hands of Samantha. She asks me to verify my name, and I ask her to verify hers. I think I’m funny, mostly because I am wearing the unanimously approved tie. Samantha is as pleasant and attractive as Misha, and I am baffled at my good fortune. I verify my donor number and Samantha asks me to roll up my sleeves. Now I have been around the block, chased a few skirts and licked my share of peanut butter (a la Family Guy), but nothing prepared me for:
(Samantha) “Mmmmm, you’re huge! Misha, come look at this”
(Misha) “Oh, my. That’s juicy”
(Samantha) “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one that big”
(the third technician, a very friendly middle-aged lady with a thick Puerto Rican accent chimes in) “You always get the little ones at the end of the day. The ones who take forever to finish.”
(Samantha) “I need to see the other side, too… Ooo, that’s just as nice!
(Misha) “Which one are you going to do?”
(Samantha) “That big one right in the middle.” (Brief panic, then the realization that, apparently, there are a variety of veins in the inner arm) “I’ll just pull the skin tight?” (Haven’t you done this before?)
(Misha) “Yeah, that should do fine”
At this point, prick my finger and I could fill a bag from across the room. Nobody makes noises like that on my account. I’m much more the “That was nice. Would you like some breakfast?” kind of guy. The chance of me hearing “Mmmmm, you’re huge” is slightly less than the chance of me hearing “Hail to the Chief” when I walk in the room. Ladies and Gentlemen, my phlebotomist thinks I’m SEXY.
In addition, by this time, several people have commented on my awesome tie. Misha has sent text messages across the country, summoning Red Cross personnel away from natural disasters to come and look at my tie. I am actually a little uncomfortable with all the attention, so I point out that the guy next to me (a military person in uniform with ribbons, etc.), though he has no tie, does have a Commendation Medal with the Operational Distinguishing Device. It’s a pretty high award, so chances are he’s got a story to tell. And now that news of the tie has gotten out, there are enough people around to start a cult. His technician, not wanting to be overshadowed by the girl-whose-guy-has-the-tie-that-ends-world-hunger, jumps on the “hero” theme with both feet. This is also her opportunity to torment the intake folks, who have little to do now that the day is winding down.
(Puerto Rican lady) “Oh, my goodness, a real hero right here! Are you comfortable? Can I get you a Pepsi? Chris! Get my donor a Pepsi!” CHREEZ!!!
Except with her accent, it sounds like “Get my dotteropacksi!” which confused the hell out of both of us (donors) until, after repeated requests, Chris brought her donor a Pepsi.
Well, a few more appreciative moans over my veins and moons over my tie later, and I am eating chocolate chip cookies and drinking orange juice at the canteen. Altogether, my most satisfying blood donation experience to date. I may never be rich, and I will probably always refer to my 20’s a “Back when people thought I had potential”, but phlebotomists dig me. It’s a niche market, sure, but I know where I’ll be in eight weeks.