Friday, April 28, 2006
Could have just used my forehead
In case it wasn't common knowledge, I thought I would let everyone know that Children Are Evil and Must Not Be Seen in Public, and as a corrolary, No Mother Can Possibly Adequately Supervise Two Children On Her Own. *I* didn't know, so I thought I'd share.

Know how I found out? Because I gave blood today. With two short helpers along for the ride. I was planning to meet Willem there to hand off the prisoners, but he had schoolwork so we just went anyway. Stopped first to buy fresh new coloring books and crayons, life was wonderful.

We arrived at about 1:00, pretended to read the pamphlet that everyone pretends to read when they arrive, and then got our number: 76. And then we sat.

And sat.

And sat.

And then - they called a number!


Uh oh.

And then we sat for another ten minutes. Turns out that though there were 8 semi-private little curtained things to check in, there were only 2 people actually DOING check-ins. I don't know where the rest of them were. But not there.

So we sat.

After 68 minutes of sitting (I had decided we would wait until 2:15 and then go), there was a sudden influx of Red Cross employees, back from their leapfrog competition or whatever. And so, bang bang bang, things started moving. Which was good, because coloring only stretches so far. By this time, Emily was standing over by the two bouncers at the door - elderly ladies who thought she was just cuter than the most preciousest of the Precious Moments dolls - and Jacob was dancing his baby thing to "Crazy Train," because, really. Can YOU think of a more appropriate soundtrack for giving blood than Black Sabbath? Me neither.

So my number - which was written in 128-point font but was announced in 4-point font - was called, and there was much rejoicing. Emily decided she wanted to stay and continue sharing every embarrassing household detail with the bouncers, reminding me that I am *so* glad I haven't had her memorize her Social Security number yet, so I wandered into my own personal little curtained area with Jacob.

The Red Cross Check-in Lady - let's call her Cranky White Coat, for short - was not happy to see us. Her first comment to me was, "Oh, YOU'RE a brave one." I gave her my very best no-firing-neurons look and said, eloquently, "Huh?" She sighed and rolled her eyes and said, "Here with two kids. That's ....[uncomfortable pause].... brave." I just sort of shrugged and said, "Yeah, they'll be okay."

She started the check-in process and then, abruptly, and with no perceivable external trigger, said, "You know, there are other blood drives. Other times and places. You don't have to be here with the kids now." Ohhhhhhh, now the light dawns for me - I have offended her with my reproductive ways and she doesn't want my cute, quiet, well-behaved son near her. So I decided to continue with the benignly clueless attitude and said, "Oh, I'm sorry. Do you want us to leave?" Cranky White Coat got very upset very quickly - apparently I wasn't playing her subtle passive-aggressive game correctly. "NO. I never said that. If YOU'RE stressed out having TWO kids all by YOURSELF like that, don't take it out on ME."

Now I really was clueless, so I was happy I had started out acting that way. I hadn't realized I was putting off stressed-out signals of misery, and in fact I had thought that I was enjoying some quiet time letting my kids just be themselves. Clearly I was woefully misinformed about my own attitudes. Thank God she stepped in to straighten me out. So I said, "I guess I didn't realize I was stressed out. Would you rather I leave?"

"NO," she snapped, and started going through the check-in routine at speeds which would have made the Micro Machines man writhe in envy. "Inthepasttwelvemonthshaveyouhadsexwithaprostituteorotherpersonwhoacceptedmoneyforsex?" And she went from question to question without bothering to look or listen to my actual answers. So, clearly, I had to whip out the hard-of-hearing card to play along with my clueless card, asking her to repeat every third question. And - because I'm not that much of a sociopath - I feel compelled to insist that it was really loud in the room, with Black Sabbath serenading me from somewhere below Cranky White Coat's not inconsiderable derriere, with seven other check-ins happening nearby in semi-private but not soundproof little curtained things, and so on.

Then we got to the point where she actually had to *gasp* get near me. First was the iron check. She said, "I need one of your fingers," so I offered her my right index finger. She sighed, as though I just mis-added 2+3 AGAIN, such an imbecile, and very deliberately folded down my index finger and unfolded my middle finger. Which, by that point, I was more than happy to offer her. Especially because I'm pretty sure she used the largest, bluntest finger-pricking device she could find.

Then she had to take my blood pressure, and got mad at me because I was wearing a sweater. "THIS is going to make it hard for them to collect your blood." Well, gee, ever so sorry, I was under the impression that you could push the sleeve up. My bad.

It was at this point that she made an odd little notation on my super-secret personal information sheet (protected by a veritable fortress of a manila folder), and I realized she was requesting that the actual blood collector tap a vein in my forehead rather than my arm.

So, anyway. After that, things lightened up significantly. When it was my turn to actually bleed, I set both kids up at the long table with as many prepackaged Oreos and pretzels as they could eat, and they both sat there happily while I did my thing. I had planned on watching them closely the whole time, but apparently Cranky White Coat has minions, because there were at least three white-coated people standing in a straight line between me and the kids at all times. I figured I'd hear any screaming, so I just relaxed and continued to have blood pressure.

As we left, I counted: 5. Five. Five separate people came up and congratulated me for having such sweet, well-behaved children.

Take THAT, Cranky White Coat. May you never procreate, and if you do, may they meltdown in public on a weekly basis.