Saturday, February 16, 2008

No Blood for Oil

I'm having an OUT OF THE PAST moment. Alas, it does not involve Robert Mitchum. Today, as in just now, I received an email from my ex-boyfriend, The Mexican. His message was cheery. He talked about how he's a partner in an art gallery, how much he and wife hate their Brooklyn loft, and how much he enjoys being a dad.

Like I could really give a shit. No really. Out of all my boyfriends, he's my least favorite. And it's not because we had a bad breakup. I've had bad breakups with men who are now some of my dearest friends. It's because he's a passive-aggressive twat.

His email began with him asking me to identify a house in a Stephen Shore photograph from 1975. In a post script he let me know that he hadn't forgotten about my request for pictures that he had taken of my dearly departed dog.

My dog died two years ago.

I'm confused and, therefore, annoyed by his email. This is the problem with passive-aggressive people who regularly lie by omission. You really never know what they're up to, but you're sure you'll be ticked off when you find out. Did he really need validation that Stephen Shore probably stood in my front yard to take the picture of the house in the photograph? Was that really preying on his mind? What I really want to do is write back, telling him that I don't care about his life, and would he please just stop being such a coward and just tell me what he really wants. Because what he really wants probably isn't architectural verification.

But of course that wouldn't be nice.

Instead, I write him back the briefest email I can that still sounds charming. I thank him in advance for keeping on top of the dog pictures.

And now I'm kind of mad. I'm not mad at The Mexican. I'm mad that being nice has made me mad instead of happy.


Yesterday I donated platelets, which are the sticky bits in blood that make clotting happen. I started donating platelets last year after I realized that so many important people in my life are still alive because some stranger donated blood.

I'm a terrible candidate for donation. I have to take iron suppliments in order to donate because I'm always verging on anemic. I have "tiny plumbing" so it's hard to get the needle into my vein. I have super low blood pressure so it takes me forever to drain. I faint at the sight of blood.

I hate donating.

But I keep showing up at the blood lab in Sherman Oaks every two weeks, because I know if I don't make it a habit, I will quit going. And I refuse to quit going because important people in my life will still need blood in the future.

There are good rewards to donating platelets. The blood lab knows that even people who are writing blogs about being nice won't put up with a three hour procedure which involves being strapped to a chair and stabbed with needles, without an occasional perk. Since it's illegal to pay people for their blood in California, the lab gets numerous corporations to donate $50 gift cards for free movies, icecream, coffee, restaurant dining, groceries or gas. For the last year I've been paying for my gasoline with my donor gift cards. The deal I made with myself is that I am only allowed to buy gas with those cards. It forces me to really be good about my driving--I'm trying to cut back on car usage for environmental reasons. "My blood for oil!" I think to myself, whenever I'm at the filling station. I'm helping my fellow man and the environment at the same time!

Yesterday, I go up to reception to pick up my gas card and discover that they've discontinued that premium. Apparently the lab is doing all sorts of FDA studies and as a result, they've become even pickier about what they can give away. This is when I discover that one of the premiums is for utilities. The lab will send a $50 check to the utility of your choosing. I happen to have my internet cable bill in my purse.

"My blood for high speed internet!" really doesn't have the same ring to it.

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