SF Cabs, the Hall of Injustice, Mace n’ Corkscrews, and Becoming a Medical Test Subject
Yesterday I had to take a cab ride out to the Hall of Justice (which sounds a lot cooler and a lot more heroic than is actually the case) and it proved to be nothing short of amazing. Hailing cabs is one of my few and limited talents. On maybe a couple occasions it has not worked as expected. Like the time the cabbie angrily threw my umbrella at me through the rear window, or the time Vanna and I had to walk through the misty Santa Barbara morning looking like two soggy slags. The nice people at Carrows called us a cab.
Well, I waved down this cab right near the courthouse. I got in and realized I was in a movie. Had to have been. The cab driver was wearing a black leather cowboy hat with a matching black leather vest. And the soundtrack to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly was blasting over the stereo. I kid you not. And he drove like a madman. I thought to myself, for sure, this is the way I am going to die…in some crazy cowboy’s cab. That would just be the way I die. When we finally stopped and I was paying up I told him I liked his music and he handed me his cell phone number in case I would like to request him specifically.
The Hall of Justice, like all government buildings these days, makes you go through a metal detector. I had to take off my big leopard belt and then the guard asked me if I was carrying a corkscrew and could I show it to him, please. Of course, I grabbed the other set of keys with the mace attached and he flipped out and told me I couldn’t come in. And they don’t do the courteous thing and just hold it. He told I could hide them someplace outside the building and then just hope they’re there when I get out. And lucky for me they were there where I left ‘em—in some bushes. There is nothing as awesome as carrying mace and a corkscrew. The two-prong attack is probably the most effective.
So, I sort of thought to myself, I need to make me some quick and easy money. I like making money basically just so I can travel. I ran through Craigslist’s “Etc.” job listings and thought I found what I was looking for. I could be a medical test subject. I have asthma and so I found a PAID asthma study and emailed them for more information. It was all good until I got down to what exactly would be required.
In a span of 8-12 weeks, I would need to go in to have blood drawn, my lung function tested and an EKG on three separate occasions. Then, in an 8x8x8 room, I’d be exposed to some ozone gas and then made either run on a treadmill or ride an exercise bike for 30-minute intervals within a 4 hour time frame. 17 hours later, I would need to return for either some breathing test or some horrible procedure called a bronchoscopy.
“As part of this visit, you will have an IV placed in your arm and you will be given medications to relax you [this already sounds bad]. The back of your throat will be sprayed with a numbing spray [again, not liking the sound of it]. A small, flexible plastic bronchoscope tube (about the diameter of a pencil) will be passed down your throat and into your lungs. A number of samples will be collected from your airways…Following the bronchoscopy procedure nurses will monitor you for approximately 2 hours. You will need to be accompanied home by an adult companion.” Oh holy hell. That is just yucky. I like the way it casually describes this procedure. Almost like a spa visit. You will be relaxed and numbed and then a gnarly tube shoved down your throat. And the compensation for all of this? $1,100.00. It does note that you will receive a lesser amount if you don’t complete all your visits. I don’t think I can do it, though I feel Hawaii a-callin’ me.