Saturday morning, I went to the Red Cross to donate blood. My body, however, had other ideas. For the first time, the iron in my blood was surprisingly low. Before a draw, the technician takes a small amount of blood and drops it in a liquid-filled test tube; if the blood drops to the bottom within 15 seconds, you have plenty of iron.
My drop of blood didn’t, um, drop.
The tech had to take more of my blood and run it through a machine. I turned out to still have enough iron – I wasn’t at the cut-off where I couldn’t donate at all – but soon after, when my phlebotomist stuck me with the needle and tube for collection, barely any blood flowed into the bag before starting to drip and, eventually, stop. (The phlebotomist had to adjust my draw three times during this to try to get the flow going. She did this gently, though.) My body wasn’t giving up blood that day. Contrast that with last time and you’ll see why this surprised me.
The sort-of good news is that since my draw Saturday was so minimal – less than a quarter of a regular donation – I can wait maybe a week-and-a-half and do this again, next time with (I hope!) enough iron to make it worthwhile.
After that, I treated myself to lunch (Produce Row Café in the Central Eastside Industrial District), then drove up to OHSU to catch up on some work. Then groceries, then home, then NAP. I was tired (y’know, the tired you call “tarred” and not “tired,” ‘cause you can’t pronounce more than one syllable in a row).
By 7:30, I had enough energy to go out again, driving to a hole-in-the-wall bar and club in Northeast called The Dunes. (It’s enough of a hole-in-the-wall that it isn’t marked on the outside; its mailbox and address don’t even face the street.) As bars and clubs aren’t my usual scene, here’s the special reason I went there: an artist, singer and writer named Dame Darcy was performing.
Dame Darcy has a demented comic book, Meatcake, which she writes and draws in a kind of Victorian-woman-off-her-meds style, a swirling explosion of fantasy-esque sketches and cursive writing, all very dense so you have to read oh so closely. It’s funny, sexy, deranged stuff, with characters like Strega Pez (a woman who, instead of speaking, extrudes from her neck large Pez-like blocks printed with the words she wants to say), the perpetually horny Wax Wolf (who once hid inside a snowman, then when one of the female characters approached it wondering why the odd-looking snowman was there, burst out and grabbed her chest while yelling “Tits ahoy!”), and a person-who-writes-stuff-down named Friend The Girl. I first saw Dame Darcy’s illustrations for the Caitlin R. Kiernan novella In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers, and that led me to Meatcake. She also poses for old-style photography, costumed to look like, say, a mermaid romancing a sailor, and she has an encyclopedic knowledge of sea shanties and 18th-century murder ballads. Her Goddess name would be Eclecticus, y’know what I’m sayin’?
As for the show…gee, if I keep taking this long to write, I’ll be up past 11. So there’ll be a Part Two, written when I bloody well can. (And I did! Here’s Part Two!)