The Human Blood Is Going My Way

On occasion, San Francisco cab drivers will ask where you’re going to see if your plans match theirs before they give you a ride — maybe they’re returning the cab, or picking up a fare someone has called in. A cabbie pulls over, determines that I am headed his way, and unlocks the doors.

I climb in back to find two large, white boxes taking up the seat. “Sorry, do you mind?” the cabbie asks. No, I say, not at all, and shove one of the boxes over to make room. The box has a strangely even weight to it, and I read the label.

“Is this blood?” I ask the driver.
“Yep,” he says.
“Human blood?”
“Oh,” I say. “Oh.”

I imagine us getting in an accident, and the ambulance arriving to nonsensical amounts blood. Biblical blood. Carrie blood.

“I would think they’d have a… specialized vehicle to transport this.”
“Nope. They have a contract with us. Saves them money.”

I swallow hard. I wonder if the blood is still warm. If it’s packed in dry ice? Or just in the medical equivalent of some ziplock baggies? “The Blood Cab’s here! Just throw it in a box and stick the label on it. They’ll figure it out.”

This seems awfully casual, don’t you think? Is there a black market for blood in the city? I mean, do they keep careful track of who has the blood, or does it mostly show up where it’s supposed to, because? I guess, what are you going to do with a bunch of ziplock baggies filled with blood? Unless you’re a vampire.

Crap. This cab is a vampire food truck. When I opened the door to climb in, it was like that sandwich chain that pumps out the artificial smell of freshly baked bread. The Creatures of the Night Who Lust for Human Blood were all like, “Dang! Where is that coming from? I could go for some warm O+ in a zippy bag, you know?”

At about lunchtime, we arrive at the DNA Lounge, a windowless, after-hours nightclub that’s hosting BSides SF today. BSides is a convention of information-security enthusiasts who are probably as uneasy about sunlight as I am about using the wifi in their presence. Why is everyone looking at me? Onstage they are holding a handcuff-picking competition. I do not mention that the food truck is out front.

A few hours later, the door flaps closed behind me, and I squint against the late-afternoon sun. I’m starving, so I decide to get ramen downtown. I go to hail a cab.

On second thought, I’ll walk.

12 thoughts on “The Human Blood Is Going My Way

  1. My boyfriend lost his job several years ago, right before the economy tanked. He was out of work and picking up odd jobs for about 18 months. Guess what the best paying of those odd jobs was? Yeah. Blood delivery. We now own a smallish cooler with a biohazard emblem on the side. A “souvenir” of sorts. No one at potluck picnics ever dishes up from our cooler. Funny, that.


  2. It’s pretty likely that I would have gotten instantly-queasy if I was sitting next to a box of blood in a cab. And now I’m left pondering if there really is a black market for blood….


  3. In a previous life, I was a flight attendant. Commercial planes are sometimes used to transport organs. That stuff does not go in the cargo hold. I’ll never forget the first time I saw a box in the cockpit with the label “Human Eyes”!


  4. My baby got a blood transfusion after major surgery recently, and I never thought about how the blood got there. Strange. Even stranger, though, is knowing that the blood hanging on the IV pole was in someone else’s veins before being dripped into my baby’s veins. So weird.


  5. My baby was sick recently and they sent us home with a poop collection kit that we were to send back to the hospital. They gave me a phone number to call and an account number so the driver knew where to deliver it. An hour or so later, a cab pulled up to transport the poop back to the hospital. Now I wonder if anyone had to ride with it!


  6. My MIL lives in a rural area and is part of a sort of volunteer organ relay network that helps transport donated organs to the recipients. I never knew she did this until one day she was casually talking about bringing a cooler with eyes to a hospital 100 miles away. She’s cool like that.


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