I just got back from blood donation number 93, and I once again find myself thinking of... that place. The Place. The Place To Which I Should Have Gone Tonight, If The World Were Just. That place.
I only got to go there once, to the permanent blood donor clinic downtown. I had been curious about what a permanent clinic might look like, so I booked an appointment and headed down. It was like... the promised land. It was what all clinics should aspire to be. It was an air conditioned room a few storeys up the building. Rather than fold out modified lawn chairs, it had Lazy Boys, comfortable chairs in which to sit- nay, recline- as one bled out. There was a large flat screen television with news or sports on or even a movie on. And after the donation, ah, after, they had cookies. Not some brand of cookies you had never before heard of wrapped in packs of four three years ago, but fresh baked cookies donated from a local bakery. You could even smell them, they were so fresh. There was a little kitchenette where they prepared fresh tea and coffee for the donors. It was... delightful.
I decided then and there this was the only way to donate. From now on, I would come to this place to bleed. No more sweaty windowless gymns, nor church basements, nor crowded malls where the occasional shop lifter would tear through the clinic in an effort to get away from security (True story). No. This was the only place for me from now on.
As I was leaving that place I merrily walked up to the secretery to schedule my next appointment. I asked for an evening appointment so I could go after work.
"I'm sorry," the secretery told me. "But next month we're changing our hours and will no longer be open in the evening."
My world crashed around me. How could I donate, or even live, without a large flat screen? I could not go back to stale, teeth shattering cookies. This was a tragedy. It was worse than if I had never come to this place. All other clnics would be dark in my eyes from henceforth, and the old cookies ashes in my mouth. I had been permitted a glimpse of a better way, only to have it taken from me even as I reached out to grasp it. I was Tantalus, and Tartarus surrounded me.
Melodramatics aside, I do miss that clinic, although I still give wherever and whenever I can. Some things, some very few things, are more important than cookies. But, if there are any politicians out there reading this blog, if you were to promise to give money to blood services so they might extend the hours of that clinic so poor labourers like myself might be able to get there in their off hours, it would go a long way to earning my vote.