At lockdown’s very apex of misery, when all the novelty had passed and the sun wasn’t shining, when nothing was open and you couldn’t even remember what it was like when things were, Mr Z went into town to give blood. He came back high on his own genius. He had left the house with a legitimate purpose, and had had seven or eight conversations. Someone gave him an orange Club. He dined out on what he did for weeks, so long as you call telling me multiple times about the two separate people who gave him an isotonic drink “dining out”.
So, obviously, then I wanted a go, but whenever it came to making an appointment, a mysterious force stayed my hand: they call it “guilt”. I should have been giving blood regularly all my adult life, because I have a weird blood type, totally unreactive – anyone could use it. For all I know, a raccoon could use it. It’s weirder than just O negative – it has a variation so rare that, when my sister was born, she was one of only five known weird-blood carriers, and they made a documentary about her, two Russians and two people in Texas. Then I was born and had the same thing, but that’s not a documentary anybody needs to make twice.
Sadly for raccoons and all the injured people, the first time I went, I took against all the questions about sex, which struck me as rather judgmental, even though I could see perfectly well there might legitimate reasons to ask how many partners you’d had in the last three months. Maybe I was just scared. Either way, it was 1994, and I stalked out and never went back, so that’s a quarter of a century’s absolutely premium blood that went unharvested. Of course I feel bad.
Anyway, I swallowed all that and went to give blood. By that time, lockdown was over so there was very little frisson, but I still got a Club, and three weeks later, I got the call. They weren’t interested in my variation and Netflix wasn’t biting, but O negative is still a priority blood group and they wanted to book me every 16 weeks in perpetuity.
“Did you seriously just do that,” asked Mr Z, “so that you could have more premium blood than me?”
“Yes,” I told him. “What of it?”