So today is my Saturday even though yesterday was Wednesday. Even though it seems like it was a month ago, last weekend was a long weekend with that whole Labor Day thing going on and then I worked my regular hours on Tuesday. Yesterday I had the day off but worked second shift so I could do software upgrades (it’s what I’m paid to do, fortunately) and then I had today off. Tomorrow I start four days in a row of work so today is Saturday and then tomorrow is Tuesday because I have next Tuesday off.
This new version of on call week for me is much more confusing then just sitting up in bed all night and paying homage to the Motorola pager gods. I actually prefer this version of on call week much more than the previous version, but I’m still happy this only comes around every three months or so.
I was rather productive on my day off, catching up on e-mail, shipping a computer I sold on ebay and listing another that I want to sell. This is all in an effort to keep the budget in check with the recent purchase of the iPad. I’m still loving the iPad, by the way, and I am quite pleased by my return to Mac allegiance.
The other day I noticed that it had been a year or so since my last HIV test so I decided to go ahead and grab a number at the county clinic today. Last year I was number 5, today I was number 2. I drove to the other county office building to accomplish since that’s where they were doing to the HIV testing today, whatever day it is.
I had a really good discussion with Shirley, the counselor and woman that conducted the test. It really boggles my mind as to why people don’t bother to get HIV tested, regardless of their level of promiscuity. It’s a really easy thing to do and as a gay man who watched several of his friends die from AIDS in the 80s and 90s, it seems like the right thing to do.
This is how it works here: you go in, grab a number and sit on a hard chair. They bark out your number and you fill out a modest form. Then you go back to a hard chair. They bark out your number again and you sign the form that says whether you’d like to confidential or anonymous. (I always choose confidential). More time in the hard chair, this time with a photocopied pamphlet on how HIV is transmitted, and then the number is barked out for the third and final time. You sit and asked to sign one more sheet that says you won’t commit suicide should the results come out to be positive, for it could be a false positive and further tests would have to be done for a positive positive. I signed and then my finger was pricked. A few drops of blood on the stick, a drop of special solution and then Shirley started the timer on her leopard skin covered iPhone. We need to wait ten minutes for the results, and that’s when Shirley and I discussed my sexual history over the past six months. What seems mundane to me sometimes evokes wide eyes, I wisely decided not to talk about the goats or swinging chandeliers this time, but I’m frank with my discussion and she goes through the importance of safer sex no matter what and I oblige. She’s right and I always do my best to follow the safer sex code to the letter, goat notwithstanding. During the conversation I am always scanning Shirley for any hesitation or nervous glances at The Stick, but she keeps her cool. Ten minutes are up and then she tells me my results. Since I didn’t know what indicated what on the stick, I asked her to explain and now I know what to look for on the stick in the future.
In today’s world it is important that each and every person, even if you’re 100 years old and doing things that only century old people can do in the bedroom, get tested for HIV. It’s easy to do, damn near free and honestly, the responsible thing to do.