I participated in two civic duties in the last two weeks, both of which I consider highly important.

The first occurred Oct. 23 and took a total of 10 minutes out of my day, which isn’t long for making sure that I am participating in one our most important civic responsibilities — voting.

I wish I had some pithy story to tell about stuffing my selected candidates into the ballot box, but I really don’t. The task was simple and I managed to get in and out of the polls without any problems.

I drove to my polling location, which I truthfully could have walked to if I didn’t have to work. I walked into the facility and was greeted by volunteers who told me where to go.

That was followed by more volunteers taking my voter registration card and handing me a ballot.

I suppose I could say I was stressing out about filling in my circles. The last time I had a Scantron-like paper in front of me was when? I don’t know — maybe college, because I did pass up my civic duty of voting in the primaries. My ideologies don’t fit into the mold of either prominent party, so why should I declare myself one or the other?

Well, one reason would be more choices, but let’s not get into that. If I had it my way, the candidates wouldn’t have parties at all and they would focus their political efforts on the people — not along Republican or Democrat lines.

In the voting room, I did manage to take the wheelchair-accessible stall, but I am young, and bending down to fill in my circles for my preferred representatives didn’t cause me any back problems.

Then after the final circle, there was the walk to the box, dropping it in the slot and grabbing a sticker. Easy enough.

The second civic duty took an hour out of my day, but that is only because I like to talk. The actual time it took me to donate blood was maybe 20 minutes.

It took about 12 minutes to check in and answer several questions pertaining to my whereabouts during select time periods, my health and the partners I have had. Most of these questions you answer twice, but to me it is a small price to pay for possibly saving someone’s life.

The time actually spent donating blood was eight minutes max. Of the three friends who were on the same donation trip as me on Wednesday, I was the first in and the first out. What can I say? I answered my questions the fastest.

Filling up a pint bag isn’t that hard, and if you are used to donating like I am, one of the hard parts is knowing when you have been stuck with the needle.

The part that normally gets me, though, is the iron testing process, when they draw a small sample of your blood from one of your fingers. This often feels like a bee sting, and I typically jump out of my chair or cringe like I am being lashed with a whip. But this time it was slightly less of a pain.

Apparently, there have been advances in those finger pricking devices. At least that is what the nurse told me, and it didn’t sting nearly as bad, so I am OK with that.

The next hard decision I have to face is which arm to draw the blood from. The left, which may hinder future steering depending on soreness, or the right, which may hamper the use of my stick shift. I typically pick left.

Overall, the decisions in both cases were easy and hardly painful.

And on top of all of that, apparently the blood I donated is going to soldiers who are injured overseas.

Contact Mason W. Canales at mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7474


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