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blood bank

blood bank

well, i met you at the blood bank
we were looking at the bags
wondering if any of the colors
matched any of the names we knew on the tags

Let's just get this out of the way: yes, I've thought about meeting someone at a blood drive. I'm there a lot, and when you have a social life like mine (which is to say, I don't really enjoy being social), this is as good a place to meet people as any. Barring a year where I was banned for getting a tattoo, and the few odd times where my iron was too low, I've been donating as regularly as possible (every 8 weeks or so) since 2008. I have always felt this was the right thing to do, before I understood what vocation was, even. I have good blood, it doesn't hurt, I'm not afraid of needles, so why not? In the same vein (sorry), I'm registered to be an organ donor. I'd be happy to meet someone who felt the same way, or at least pitch the idea, and get them thinking about it.

you said, "see look at it: that's yours
stacked on top with your brother's.
see how they resemble one another's
even in their plastic little covers."

This town I live in is small by most standards, a little green bead in a necklace made of hilly green towns. We don't have full-time firefighters or EMTs, but we have a lot of dedicated volunteers. I know a few from each town through work. They'll generally host these events in their facilities, or a local church, sometimes the school gym. It's wildly unsanitary and very 1950s, but at some of the drives, senior citizen volunteers will try and force-feed you egg-salad sandwiches. I'm touched, but I pass, because food poisoning. 

and i said, "i know it well.
that secret that you know that you don't know how to tell
it fucks with your honor and it teases your head
but you know that it's good, girl
'cause it's running you with red."

When you sit after in the "recovery" area, where they give you juice and junk food, there's a ton of informational gossip, if you keep your mouth shut. and I do, because everyone knows my family, and if I volunteer who I am (NEVER PUT YOUR LAST NAME ON THE STICKER), there are questions. I don't like questions. I always leave as fast as I can, and the staff gets worried you're going to pass out in the car. 

then the snow started falling
we were stuck out in your car
you were rubbing both my hands
chewing on a candy bar

You see the same nurses over the years. I remember a few - the left-handed ones, the ones with crazy accents (the Russian lady, who warned me there was going to be a "leetle preek"). The week of my 26th birthday, I got a nurse who told me about her 26th birthday party, where she somehow wound up clubbing with 50 Cent. She then urged me to go to a bar and find a man in uniform in order to celebrate my birthday properly. At one of these drives they have enough volunteers so that when you sit up, an elderly gentleman will take your arm and steer you to the refreshment table. Sometimes it feels like you're the one holding them up.

you said, "ain't this just like the present
to be showing up like this?"
as the moon waned to crescent
we started to kiss

I don't know who my blood goes to, I don't need to: this is just another way to serve my neighbors. You give blood, the body makes more, you give again, life goes on, in more than one way, for more than one person. 

Part of the reason the JWs won't donate or take blood is that they believe evil can actually be transmitted through the blood. If your donor was a sinner, that sin can be passed to you. Funnily enough, even though this doctrine is fairly new to them (1940s), the ancient Greeks and medieval Europeans  would have basically been on board with this. I have neither the time nor the inclination to get into the topic of original sin nor yet the real presence, but: from a Lutheran standpoint, receiving someone's blood, for your health, is the least of your worries. 

and i said, "i know it well.
that secret that we know that we don't know how to tell
i'm in love with your honor, i'm in love with your cheeks
what's that noise up the stairs, babe?
is that christmas morning creaks?"

Giving blood has become a fixed point in my life, comparable to only a couple of other routines - church, my chiropractic adjustment...Everything can be completely stressful, out of control, unpredictable: when that needle is in my arm, I have to sit still for 15 minutes. I have to be calm beforehand. It takes time.

I find the really good things in my life are the ones I have to be present for. 

and i know it well, i know it well
and i know it well, i know it well
and i know it well, i know it well
and i know it well, i know it well
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Theology in Diverse Community

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Childish Lawkeepers