I wasn’t nervous at all this time. It was my third time doing this, and I was becoming somewhat of a professional.
Laura and I got out of bed at 4:50am. I rubbed my eyes and clumsily stammered to the shower, standing inside for a while trying to wake up under the extra hot water. Rising at 4:50am used to be a daily thing for me, but it is no longer part of my routine and has gone back to being a challenge. But there was a 40 mile drive waiting for us as soon as we got dressed, and we had to leave early enough to beat any morning traffic so that we could get all the way to the other side of the city and make our appointment at 7:15.
It was IUI day.
As we pulled into the office parking lot, we passed two of the nurses walking in to start their shift.
“We’re so early we beat the staff,” I said to Laura. It was 6:50.
“Let’s sit in the car for a while. I don’t want to look like a jackass,” she said.
We sat in the car for 20 minutes listening to terrible radio stations. Laura fooled around with Facebook on her phone. I stared at the dying autumn foliage around the parking lot and noticed a house at the top of the hill behind the office that I couldn’t see on our earlier visits as it was shielded by the fullness of the now naked trees. We joked and took bets on how much the appointment was going to cost us this time, and I answered a couple Amazon emails.
Eventually a car pulled into the space next to ours and a couple about our age got out. The man was wearing pajama pants and a hoodie.
“This guy got dressed up for the occasion,” I said, and started to open the door as they walked away, thinking their arrival meant we could also enter the building.
“Don’t follow them right in, wait a minute. I don’t want to look like a a jackass,” she said.
Nicki Minaj sang something about starships and my brain cells committed suicide one by one.
“Let’s go,” I said. And we went.
The waiting room was the same as ever – neatly stacked garbage magazines, questionably vaginic paintings of flowers and pea pods decorating the walls, and a slideshow of successfully-birthed baby photos punctuating the stillness of everyone’s awkward silence. Nobody talks or looks at each other in the waiting room of a fertility office, and you can’t play the “I wonder what she’s got” game because you already know. All that’s left is Us Weekly, vagina flower art and that never-ending digital rotation of smiling infant faces that is supposed to be encouraging proof of the office’s success, but constantly reminds you other people have babies and you don’t.
They called my name and I headed back. I greeted the nurse like an old pal and walked chest-up, man-style. Like I said, I wasn’t nervous this time. This was my third time doing this, and I was becoming somewhat of a professional. But it was my first time at this location, so if nothing else I was excited to see what amenities they provided to facilitate the harvesting of my crop.
The girl at the lab window gave me a clipboard with a piece of paper to fill out, explained all the things I already knew about the process, and provided me my newest sterile plastic cup in which I was to deposit the fruits of what exists behind my loom.
“Once you’re done just bring it back here. If you don’t see me, ring this little bell,” she said.
I really hoped she wasn’t there when I was done so I could ring the bell.
At this time, as I headed towards the door to Masturbation Room A*, a briefly embarrassing feeling of SHE KNOWS WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO IN THERE came over me. But it was nothing compared to the weird way it felt the first few times. After all, this was my third time doing this, and I was becoming somewhat of a professional.
And what’s a professional always have, other than two balls full of little olympian swimmers? His camera.
The room was nothing special. I immediately noticed the lack of an erotic watercolor on the wall, and was thoroughly disappointed. A true lack of class.
But holy goat-choking crap, look at that chair! If someone needed to collect sperm from Jean-Luc Picard, this would be the seat they’d give him. This thing is straight from the bridge of the Enterprise, or at least the bridge of the porn spoof of Star Trek, and way cooler than the seats in the other places. Just look at that high back and those armrests. I sat down, draped my arms across the rests and spoke to the television: “On screen!”
Nothing happened. I figured there must have been a problem with the computer system and decided I’d check it out manually.
At first glance, the “materials” table seemed quite like the other facilities. A quaint little cathode ray TV with questionably sanitary buttons, a DVD player and a stack of not-so literary selections all on top of a $29 wheeled wire rack from Target.
If you’ll notice by the one mangled-looking page sticking an inch from its side, someone had torn some pages out of the Leann Tweeden issue. This concerned me, and I decided to not investigate this stack of paraphernalia any further.
The DVD available for my enjoyment was also sub-par. It wasn’t the gross hardcore industrial warehouse human thrusters hammering away at warp speed like the women’s hospital had offered. It was more like… like… a softcore Playboy DVD of plastic women rubbing their boobs.
Sorry, I spent like 10 minutes trying to come up with a metaphor but just didn’t find one. So that’s basically just what it was. Boobs.
The last thing I noticed was a small box on the wall with a bell-shaped button. It looked like a soap dispenser, but was on the opposite wall from the sink.
What happens if I push that? What would I need assistance with? Does that girl from the desk come in here and jerk me off? She had a bell. This thing has a bell. Maybe it summons her?
I didn’t have the courage to find out. I figured I didn’t need her anyway. This was my third time doing this, and I was becoming somewhat of a professional.
After deciding it probably wasn’t in my best interest to spend more than 4-5 minutes jerking around in this room without actually jerking around, I put away my phone, stopped taking pictures, hung up my coat, sat on my paper-covered captain’s chair and got to work.
When all was said and done I had soiled yet another plastic cup, put it into yet another white paper lunchbag, and handed it to yet another woman I don’t know.
And I didn’t get to ring the bell.