Had to get a blood test, and my Maury-loving doctor’s office sent me an order to go back to their office, not a lab, which I’ve never seen before. So I’m instructed to go to “the back” and a receptionist sort of, lethargically gestures in a direction, so I start walking. It gets darker and darker. Windows and the connection to the outside world disappears, and is replaced by a twisting corridor with towering angular shelves of files on either side, ready to tip like a German expressionist film. I do not understand how it was possible to fit this floor plan within the confines of this building, that was endlessly unfolding like House of Leaves. I finally reach one lone metal chair facing a scale and sit down. I’m sitting there silently, in near darkness for a few minutes, when a doctor appears out of nowhere and asks if I’m there for bloodwork. “Yes.” “Oh, then you need to go to the back.”
WHAT IN THE FUCK? HOW WAS I NOT IN THE BACK.
Again, he offers no indication of where the back is, so I just walk… forward.
Have you ever seen an all edge brownie pan? That is how I imagine an aerial view of this office. I’m not exaggerating like my Dad does when he can’t find his way out of a parking garage and proclaims that this experience was an ordeal, this building could be utilized for Minotaur sacrifice.
It gets better.
Eventually I hear a faint din… that grows to a murmur… that grows to the wordless sound of thousands of human beings transformed into an undulating rabble rabble-ing mass… that grew to a chorus of vuvuzela.
Someone is watching soccer.
I poke my head into a doorway, unsure if the room is occupied, or if I’m interrupting someone’s much needed lunch break.
This is way too familial to be directed at me. I take a step back, to make way for whomever is behind me.
“COME IN JUNIOR!”
A man whose incredible size is only matched by his INCREDIBLE TERRIFYING ENTHUSIASM beckons me forth.
“SIT DOWN! SIT DOWN!” he directs cheerfully.
I sit down in one of those high school classroom/torture device looking chairs with the folding arm rest for drawing blood, and tell him my name so he can look up my lab order.
“OH! EASY! EAAAAASY! WE CAN DO THIS NO PROBLEM!”
He sits at the computer cart, seemingly satisfied my paperwork is routine enough he can fill it out while watching Russia vs. Portugal which is streaming on a 13″ laptop set on a file cabinet in the corner of the room. The stream was of impeccable quality. I wanted desperately to know what site he was using. He seemed open enough to ask, but it felt weird acknowledging the presence of the stadium of Russians in the room.
“THIS IS OUR FIRST TIME TOGETHER, YES?”
“Yes, I haven’t had any other blood drawn today.”
“NO, NO, THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME WITH ME?”
I WAS GETTING BETTER SERVICE FROM THE GUY STREAMING PORTUGAL VS. RUSSIA ON A LAPTOP THAN FROM ANY OTHER MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL I HAVE EVER SEEN.* He wants to know me. He wants me to know him. He knows his customers and knows I am not one. He wants to give me the experience, his blood drawing experience, which he sold like he was Magic Mike. That’s what this interaction felt a bit like a totally non-sexual Magic Mike. “You’ve had blood drawn before, but you haven’t had blood drawn from me, and I am the master,
He claps to himself and returns to the computer cart, a man dressed business casual appears in the doorway holding a urine sample cup “WHAT’S UP CAPTAIN? HOW DID WE DO? YES, YES, SET IT RIGHT THERE CAPTAIN! HAVE A NICE DAY.” The Magic Mike of phlebotomy just congratulated a man, sincerely, on his ability to produce piss. I am watching Russia vs. Portugal on a laptop inside a maze of filing cabinets surrounded by cups of pee-pee.
Finally it is my turn. Magic Mike ties my arm off and hands me a stress relieving star fish to hold, which is nice. “ARE YOU GOING TO BE OKAY?!” Needles are one of the few things I am not afraid of, but every time I’ve had blood drawn a medical professional looks me in the eye and comes to the conclusion I am about to freak the fuck out. “NO, SORRY THAT’S… JUST MY FACE. I’M FINE.” Magic Mike pierces my heart, and the walls of a vein in my left arm with a tiny needle. Blood collects in a plastic vial. I try not to look, I don’t mind the sight of blood, I just don’t like anything ugly, and the blood that comes out during blood tests is always ugly-ass maroon and brimming with the risk of seeing fat separate out and oh my God that stream is so crisp. Is there a logo I can identify and search for later?
God damn. It’s not like I want to draw out my own bloodletting, but I really wanted to know what that site is. Magic Mike yells “GOOD JOB!” at my face, then holds his arm out for a high five. My first thought is, oh shit, he is one of the many people who see me without make up and think I’m fourteen, but this man has access to my medical records… open… on his desk. It is just his sheer enthusiasm for his job. So I high five that motherfucker back.