Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I've found a new career and it's high time I let you all in on the fun.
As I sat alone in the chaotic waiting area as much as I wanted to I couldn't ignore the thick irony stink that filled the plasma bank. Squeezed between two large individuals (one who was reading Soap Opera Digest) I became a sponge and let the sights and sounds (and smells) sink in. All I really should have to write about the first couple that stood out is "K Swiss." Says plenty, right? Not when they are worn by an obese woman with a black eye and bruised arms sitting next her skinny redhead boyfriend wearing a professional wrestling t-shirt, it doesn't. I was completely enthralled by the abusive body language they used toward one another when all of a sudden the technician in room four yelled for "Reuben." A long-haired man unfortunately resembling Creed lead singer, Scott Stapp, stood and my world fell apart. Tumor. The largest protruding tumor extended from the underside of his right arm; it might as well have had a mouth, eyes and a nose, come to think of it, maybe it did. I was in the middle of estimating that it was about the size of a large grapefruit when I heard a lady behind me talking about a potato diet she was on. Naturally, my ears perked. She explained to a friend on the phone that she tried the fruit and vegetable diet, eating nothing but Popeye's red beans and rice and collard greens (fruit and veggie diet?), but didn't see any results (shocking). The potato diet however, was her new beginning; potatoes three times a day, cooked any way she liked, and she had already lost four pounds in one week.
After hours of waiting for a background check, a physical exam and blood tests I at last was taken to the actual plasma collection section. I joined dozens of people sitting in reclined chairs and staring blankly up at television screens. To close one's eyes is prohibited as are hoods, sunglasses and using a cellphone in the plasma zone. This wasn't a problem for me, the tall plastic containers filling with the yellow to amber plasma proved entertainment enough for me. Today I observed that Native American plasma often has a greenish hue and Mexican plasma yellow. My fellow Caucasians and I boast a pinkish plasma. Today mine looked like a Big Stick Popsicle, fading from amber to pink to yellow; delighted was I.
The plasma bank is located in a strip business/shopping development in Tempe. To get a feel for it I should tell you that it's surrounded by a Check into Cash, Labor Ready, Los Favoritos Taco Shop and an armed forces recruiting center.
Since my initial visit I've gone back two additional times. I've been preached at and yelled at, but mostly, eye contact and verbal communication are completely avoided. I'm sure it's best that way.