Peggy goes to the Q. Diagnostic Center:
The whole way over to Towson, her car is borne aloft by the wings of angels, and it seems to park itself in the giant garage, where a team of valets waits to detail the Corolla in the 4 minutes she will be away from it.
She steps into the lobby as a man in a big red coat and snappy uniform hat holds the door for her. An elevator attendant has the car ready for her to step into. A sofa is in the elevator for her to rest while she rides up four stories, and then she steps off the elevator just as a smiling employee holds the door, offers her a nice cold water and takes her right back into the blood draw area, which has opened long before the scheduled 7:30 start just because.
Robert Wagner, wearing a velvet blazer with a silk scarf and shirt, is there waiting for her with a dozen mixed roses. They chat amiably during the 13 seconds it takes to select a vein and draw enough blood. As she leaves the room, Celine Dion music is on the radio, and Peggy wafts back to the car on an ocean breeze of love and good feeling. On the way home, cars seem to part like Moses and the Red Sea, and she is home in minutes.
Mark goes to the Q. Diagnostic Center:
Every nutball between here and Towson is out this morning, making left turns from the right lane, pulling out of Dunkin Dognuts with a Bavarian Creme in their right hand and a Mocha Chocolata YaYa in the other while steering with their knees, and speeding like it's Indianapolis. OF COURSE the person pulling into the garage ahead of me miscalculates how to pull up to the parking ticket dispenser, so they have to get out and take 20 minutes to get their ticket. Once parked, I get in the elevator and get to the blood center at 0704. Minutes later, a lady comes along to be second in line, but she asks if I am in a hurry because SHE has to go to work and it doesn't look like I have to. And then along comes a senior couple, and the lady starts jawing with them about how there didn't used to be a bench to sit on but now there is and her daughter moved back in with her two kids and a baby and the dogs and she had to teach her daughter how to roast a turkey so they did that yesterday and for Thanksgiving she is making the Lithuanian side dish that everyone loves so much, and also a pie, but pumpkin this year because apple is too sugary, and we had a pecan pie and we were going to freeze 1/2 of it but we kept eating until there wasn't enough to freeze and isn't a shame about Joe Flacco.
They run through every vegetable, appetizer, side dish and entree that has ever been served at any Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, because I have to fast, hearing about great heaping plates spilling over with turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy does not bother me a bit.
The receptionist opens the door at precisely 7:30 and we file in. No phlebotomist is around, but she walks in at 0733 with a cheery greeting for her coworker ("What you opening early for?" "I didn't!") and five minutes later calls me back with this pleasant invitation ("Clark! Room 1!").
"In The Air Tonight," the most deadly horrible of all the awful songs in the Phil Collins canon, is pounding off the walls and into my ears as I sit gently upon the Throne Of Blood. The phlebotomist can't get enough red stuff out of my right arm and mumbles that I need to drink more.
Finally! Just what I've been waiting to hear! And from a medical professional, no less. I go home and take her advice.