Performance day

The road when kids don't come naturally has its weird moments. Inconveniences, annoyances, mishaps. Today, a glimpse into a performance day.

6.50. It's the alarm. The weird time signals the oddity of today. I hurry to get into the shower — no soap for the third consecutive day. At least, not at the male member, it will ruin the results. Sperm fluid and cells are affected by almost anything that's not the bodies' product. Hence, no help from the misses either, saliva is even worse. No, as the sample needs to be clean, it's a man's job today.

7.03. I'm half-dressed. Lenses, check. Deodorant, check. Teeth? Sure, I'll give them a proper rinse. No lotions, another possible hazard to obscure results. Good, I've got to hurry.

7.12 I'm downstairs. Now, where's the plastic container with the red cap again? Did I put it in the closet in the living room, or...?

I know my wife's fully awake. She's politely staying in bed for me to do what I have to do. Produce millions of tiny semen at a precisely scheduled moment, to be delivered at 7.45 sharp in the morning glory of this cold Thursday.

7.14 The cup was in the kitchen drawer. Weird spot. I must have placed it there to keep it out of sight for our evening visitors yesterday. I tear it out of the plastic and put it in front of me on the table. Let's get to it.

For the third time, I read the instructions carefully. "Keep it in your armpit or trouser-pocket during the trip," so it stays warm. "Don't spill a drop." If so, mark it on the form. "Register the time of deposit." Did I withhold for at least 48 hours? Write your name on this label, stick the label to the cup. All these instructions, not the best way to get in the mood.

Do I use my imagination to do the job? Or,... Well. I'm on the clock.

7.26 I close the lid slowly and check; no spilling. Write down the time on the form. Sticker, check. Keep the cup upright; let's go.

7.34 It's cold in the car. I speed towards the general practice center. What should take me 14 minutes, takes me 8. I arrive at 7.40 sharp and park nearby on the street. Do you pay for a parking ticket at this hour? I'll take my chances.

7.42 Entering the practice takes me by surprise. I'm not alone here. The room is filled with people. Elderly mostly. The average age must be 70-something. Someone's coughing loudly with a deep rumble.

Now this stupid machine to draw a ticket and wait in line. Sure, but I'm in a rush. A little scroll in the digital menu takes me to "Semen-research."  That's it. Question: Before or after a vasectomy? Before, I guess? A paper appears with A025 in bold letters. I take one of the few empty spots next to a big man, the cup fiercely poking in my trousers. Someone surely must have noticed that bump sticking out?

7.50 I'm still waiting. What's everyone doing here at this time? We're at A014; this is going nowhere. I look around but can't find someone that seems in charge. My mind flashes back to the moment I had to redo my blood tests. There was a delay between withdrawal and research in the lab, so I had to do it over again. Would I have to do this again too?

7.53 *Bing* A025, towards desk 6. I'm glad. I look for a six somewhere; there are five doors. What? Am I in the wrong place? No, there's 1 to 5 on the doors. What!? "Over here," a voice mutters from behind a room divider. I'm in the right spot, but I'm having my consult in the waiting room!

"You're here for your semen-research?" she continues loudly. Oh my god, can't you scream that through the room women? There are other people here. "Yes," I stumble and swiftly comply by putting the cup on the desk when she's looking at her screen to confirm my ID.

There's little confusion on her face when she looks back, and she asks firmly: "Did you bring it like this?" I'm confused.
Me: "Yes."
She: "You didn't keep it warm?"
Me: "I did; I just took it out of my pocket."
She: "How long ago?"
Me: "Just now. 5 seconds."
She: "Really? Because if you didn't, it's useless, and you have to come back tomorrow with a fresh sample."
Me: "I. just. took. it. out."
She: "OK, fine."

She continues and places the cup in a styrofoam container that has a heating pad inside. Questions follow, but I'm already in the car in my mind. I am wondering why this felt like such a big deal. It's odd, sure. Even awkward at times. Especially the fact that I had to schedule my "performance" to be on time for delivery. That felt weird. But as no one seems to care, why should I? I don't even notice the elderly troop when I walk outside.

I come home to find my wife with a happy face that bears a question mark: "how was it?". "Did you have a proper wank this morning"? She laughs loudly and smiles from ear to ear after. We laugh. I love her when she's like this.  My wifey for life-y. I know we're going to get through this. She's got my back every time. But there's a surprise this time: she's got one question up her sleeve:

"Did you watch porn to do it?"