Yesterday I took one for the team, suffered for the masses so to speak. I went to donate blood. I am Type O, most beloved of all blood types, universal donor and I made my way to the little shop of horrors on the corner, the regional blood center. I have a paunchy waistline but my veins are skinny and slippery. Put a needle in there and the vein will move aside, smart little fellow. My poor nurse tried both arms with no results and she was sweating and blubbering by the time we finished. My arms were sporting golf ball-sized lumps and my bloodletting companions in the other reclining chairs were wincing. There I lay with ice packs the size of bricks in the crook of each arm. "I certainly would not make a good advertisement for new customers," I murmured to poor Barb, the nurse in this messy story. Just then that very person, a new customer walked into the circle and her eyes automatically locked on my bruised arms. Her nurse began stuttering, "oh this is uncommon. This rarely happens. This is most uncommon. It never, never happens." And wasn't that illogical because the situation was actually happening.
And then I go swimming. Marge* walks in, that swimmer of goat-like appearance and uncertain sexual orientation. She struts across the deck of the pool like a horsewoman, all butt and thighs. She glances over at me but I keep my eyes straight ahead. I have had enough conflict and complication for the day. I am eleven minutes from finishing my routine and that means I should be able to shower while Marge remains in the pool. She always swims a full thirty minutes and she is a religious athlete not unlike myself.
You don't get out of the pool until the clock says you can get out.
I won't need to deal with her probing eyes while soaping myself. My time is up and I shiver my way down to the dungeon locker room and head for the toilet. And then, what is that, I hear Marge's flat nasal accent. She is in the locker room and this is incredible, does the jury need any further evidence? I am being stalked by a serious athlete woman who is willing to cut short her exercise routine just to see my naked wrinkled old lady body. I enter the group shower stall with my Aveeno soap and Marge joins me shortly. The snow storm outside the locker room window is howling and scary and I leave hurriedly. When I get home I will eat grilled cheese sandwiches and sip good Kentucky whiskey and it will require more than one. Cheese sandwiches, I mean, heh . . .
*see "Marge at Large," November 2011