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07/16/2004

Freaking the mundanes

When I was younger, Lordy, was I bent. I will spare you the details except to say sheepishly that the labia piercings seemed like a good idea at the time.

Although I am now older and significantly more staid, I can still claim a delicate camber. It's mostly on the inside; the only external hint is my occasional inability to resist freaking the mundanes.

It's shamefully juvenile, this impulse to shock the normals. When I was younger it took many forms that embarrass me now to recall. (Waiter in Reston, VA: I apologize. I thought the tablecloth was longer. Audience in Cincinnati, OH: Look, the movie was really boring, okay? Elderly couple in Philadelphia: It was a snakebite. No, really! I swear.) But since I am now a grown-up, a mature adult, I have put that kind of wanton indiscretion firmly behind me.

Mostly.

Sometimes the urge resurfaces. I went to the lab a few evenings ago to have blood drawn before an appointment. The phlebotomist was a young woman, a college student of no more than about 22, whose first question was, "Is this your first baby?"

Must...resist...temptation.

I did okay with that, simply smiling and answering that it is. Well, it's our first pregnancy to attain fetushood. Close enough.

"Wow, you have a nice little scar on your elbow. It's a perfect target. I guess you donate blood a lot, huh?"

Don't do it, Julie. Do not say, "Well, I did when my blood wasn't teeming with fertility drugs or polluted with methotrexate." Do not tell her how many times that vein has been used.

"Yes," I said, smiling blandly at my husband, who does in fact donate blood at every opportunity, looking pointedly at his unscarred inner elbow.

"So have you thought about what you'd like to do the nursery?"

Wonder what she'd say if I told her, "Well, I'd like to put a baby in it, if I can manage it." Shut UP, Julie. Smile, you asshole, and say you haven't decided.

"I haven't decided," I told her.

"Ah. Do you know if you want a boy or a girl?"

Yeah, I'm thinking girl. If it's a boy I'm going to expose the little bastard on an icy mountainside. ...the FUCK, lady?

But, no, I only said, "Either is fine, as long as it's healthy."

I was proud that I'd resisted the temptation to spook a well-meaning young woman who was only trying to be pleasant. I think my iron determination made me look a little bit grim, because she said apologetically, "I'm just trying to distract you from the needle and the blood."

"It's okay," I told her brightly, hoping to make her feel better. "I'm used to needles. It's not nearly as bad as the ones in the belly!"

I guess I'm not as mature as I thought.

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