In which I TOTALLY dodge civic duty.

"Oh, sure. I can do that. Sign me up for 3 p.m."

Note the time is now, oh, 3:11 p.m., and that thing, that thing I insisted "they" sign me up for, I am not doing that thing.

Two weeks ago it was brought to my attention that My Place of Employment was hosting a blood drive. You know, blood. Which makes me gag. And also involves needles. And MY blood. And no cookie will reprieve me of the terror that is plunging a needle into my delicate, needle-shy, VERY ANGRY so stay away from them, veins. And a sticker? That says something like, "I saved the planet today," or some shit, that doesn't make me feel better, either.

But me? I cannot say no. Not to scary, intimidating "We need your blood NOW!" people, who ask ever-so-politely if, "Please, ma'am, please. Donate your blood. Save a life." OK, in reality, it was just a dainty, little woman in the circulation department, asking people to sign up to fill a quota, but still. People are dying in Africa, or something. They NEED my blood.

And I'm happy to report my blood is still safely coursing through my own veins at 3:18 p.m.

I've dreaded 3 p.m. all day, cursing myself for my inability to say, "No, no ma'am. I'd like to keep my blood and my gag reflex and also my paralyzing fear of needles to myself, thanks." WHY Krista, why?! Why must you be noble and good and try to save the world, one blood donation at a time? Why can't you just say NO?

But it's now 3:20, and The People have yet to find me. I don't know if the Blood Center has, like, blood patrol, or something, but I see the Blood Bus outside my window, and I know they were expecting me. I'm afraid people with needles and surgical masks and bags of foreign blood are going to come traipsing into the newsroom, hunting me down. "You had an APPOINTMENT! May God strike you dead! And also, before he does, we will suck the blood from your veins because, HELLO, people are dying in Africa."

I might just play dead.

My fear of needles began as a wee child, when taken for vaccinations I would scream like most hateful, evil children who are plagued with an ungratefulness for protection against polio, measles and rubella. "I mean, damn. Give me the mumps, just don't stick that needle in my arm, beotch, I'm 5-years-old. God."

And then I was 10-ish, and Mom once again dragged me, kicking and screaming, to City Hall to those Satan Worshippers With Needles for more. Mom. Really? Would it have been so bad if I had just gotten rubella? (I kid, I kid). But that time? I showed them, boy. I passed out dead, right in the elevator. Suckers. That's what you get for forcing your surgical needles into my poor, defenseless arm. I'll pass right out! I'll show you! Actually, I think they showed ME. I woke up to a couple slaps in the face and tears because, hello, I'm a giant wuss and that hurt and I hate you, Doctor Man!

Fast-forward to my junior year of college. I was a poor, poor college student, so I did the unthinkable. No, I did not become a stripper. No, I did not form an addicting heroin habit. I donated plasma. Me. Twice a week for an entire semester. I have needle scars in my arms to prove this. (I kid not). I found my comfort was in NOT looking at the needle. Or my arm. Or the doctor. Or to even open my eyes at all the entire time.

I took up plasma donation again last year. Hey, times were rough, man. I'm a poor journalist. Besides, I'm helping people in need. Good grief. But my final experience with plasma donation did me in last winter. I looked. I opened my eyes. And OHMYGOD I was not ready for that whole idea.

The plasma-sucking machine suddenly stopped sucking. The needle began vibrating in my vein. I'm thinking, "Christ. This is it. This is how I will die." And I looked down. OHMYGOD. I saw, with my own eyes, the needle in my arm, vibrating. I saw this. Look at me, I'm gagging just thinking about it...

So the needle is vibrating, I'm looking, and all of a sudden dark, red blood begins to ooze from the puncture hole (pardon me while I go THROW UP). Instantly, like, I wasn't playing, I wanted to vomit. I got hot. Sweaty. Pale. My mouth got all watery, and people, you KNOW how it feels when you're about to hurl.

The nurse ladies rushed over because, WHOA, this girl is, like, a ghost, and is that drool coming from her mouth? It was not pretty. They gave me a cold compress for my neck, and pumped me full of saline to chill me the Hell out. And then they took the damn needle out of my arm because PEOPLE, THAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE.

I grabbed my $20 and fled the scene. And oh, they missed me. Heck, I probably supplied half of Mexico with enough plasma to cure cancer during my tenure. Or something. They called. They offered $5 bonuses if I donated again. But, oh no, not even money can bring me back.

And this is why I totally dodged today's civic duty. I know. Un-American...