So there I was, trying to perform my civic duty and show a little altruism by going to donate blood tonight. There was a mobile clinic conveniently set up in one of the local schools, and they were staying open until well after dinner to allow as many people as possible to show up and donate.
The plan worked. There were lots of people in line waiting to generously donate, which was not something I was expecting. Not in such numbers, anyway. I mean how many other crazy, work-driven individuals must be out there that want to give away their precious body fluids? Certainly they would elect for more reasonable times that allow them to spend the evening with their families? They actually found a cunning plan to get around that by bringing their families with them. That’s right donation by clans. I guess it has been a while since the last time I gave blood (the stone age), so it’s only appropriate that I am not fully up to date with the current practices for this region.
None of this would really have been a problem had it not been for a gastronomic misjudgement at dinner. I chopped up a honeydew melon for dessert. It was good, sweet, and very, very juicy. I lost track how much I gobbled down, but it was probably more than half. Had the clinic only been a quick in and out, there would have been no problem whatsoever. As the lineup had me sitting quietly in a chair trying to come up with witticisms for Twitter for more than an hour and a half, the truth about the melon’s liquid content began to sink in.
It’s not that the bathrooms were that far away. Indeed, they were only a thirty second walk outside the spacious gym we were set up in. It’s that as I watched time slowly crawl by, I began to develop the irrational belief that if I left just then, a drove of numbers would be called, and I would miss my turn. The concept of being relegated to a longer wait while my wife was wrestling my toddler to sleep back home left me anxious to hang in there.
As the minutes pressed on, so did my bladder. Eventually, I caved in. It turns out that I had the time, and the need, to swing back to the place where so many of us met sad fates in our scholarly youths. Indeed, another gentleman my age joked that the last time he had been in a school washroom he had been dodging bullies trying to push him into the urinal. Time does change things. But not much. I was tempted to push the man in, because he was taking his sweet time at the only spot in the diminutive washroom.
Three rushed visits to the washroom later, my number was called. I quickly found out as I was going through this second round of screening that I was ineligible for donation because of a temporary medical condition. Shoot. I just spent an hour and a half to get that news? Oh well, I guess I’ll head home to spend some quiet time with my wife before going to bed.
When I reach the front door, I can see my kid sitting in the couch, munching away on apple slices and watching one of his favourite shows. My wife looks up. “I tried. Three times. He won’t sleep.” She explains. “Your turn.”
I guess this night is one of life’s little paradoxes.
Thankfully, the fourth time was the charm.