Every year, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) holds a blood drive at school, and every year I swear I won't donate, as I hate needles-- especially needles intended to suck blood from my veins-- with a fiery passion. (I can't even watch the vet give Q his annual vaccinations; Q just looks at me like, "Seriously? They're petting my head and telling me what a good boy I am, and you can't even hold my paw?")
But every year, usually the day of the blood drive, the SADD sponsor, a fellow teacher I have great respect for, sends out an e-mail which basically says: "The students and community volunteers have signed up in droves; the faculty has not. You all suck. Get down here." And I feel guilty, and I end up in the gym during my planning period with a photo ID and a book, prepared to sacrifice time and fluid for the cause.
This year was no different. I meandered down to the gym, picked up a release form from a former student, who was running the sign-in ("You're donating, Ms. Ros?" she asked. "Awesome!"), and sat in an empty spot on the bleachers to answer the dozens of yes/no questions about any and all medication and trips out of the country I've been taking.
I finished quickly (it was a lot of "no"s) and glanced around the gym. And lo and behold, divine providence intervened, for who was standing at the mandatory refeshment table with a juice box? LG.
I waved, and he waved and made his way over to me. "Just getting started?" he asked.
"Yup," I said, and gestured at the blue gauze on his left arm. "You fnished."
"Yup," he said.
"I really hate doing this," I confessed. "Needles and me-- not friends. Last time I gave blood, it took them half-an-hour to find a vein, then once they stuck the needle in, it turned out they hadn't found the vein after all."
He seemed surprised (oh, God, I hope it was surprise and not "grossed out"), and I'm sure I would have come up with a wittier addendum to that little anecdote, but at that moment, one of the volunteers tapped me on the shoulder. "You ready?" she asked.
I sighed and steeled myself for what was to come. LG grinned at me. "Good luck," he said.
Sigh. I floated after the volunteer and barely noticed when she pricked my finger for-- what is it? Blood type anaylsis or whatever.
In the end, it wasn't so bad. I mean, the part where I had to sit with a former student to the left of me and the SGA president to the right of me, all of us answering questions that began with, "Have you ever had sex with...?" kind of sucked.
(I mean, what if I had had sex for money, or had sex with someone who had at some point had sex for money, or been in prison in the last ten years? Would I just have to lean in and whisper, "Um... yes. But don't let it get around"?)
Anyway, once we got to the blood-donating part, it was actually fine. They found the vein on the first try (yay!), and I totally freaked out a group of students who were watching my terrible grimace of pain when the needle first went in (hee!).
And when it was all said and done, I walked out of the gym with purple gauze around my right arm like a badge of honor. See, I can be a good citizen, too! Even if it's just once a year.