Hey, guess what I did yesterday? A GOOD DEED, that’s what. The Law Firm has teamed up with the United Way and offered employees an opportunity to volunteer at several places around the city. I picked the Food Bank, not really for any great reason other than it was one of the few that offered an afternoon shift.
Here’s a fun little side note: The day that I went up to the Scary 28th Floor to sign-up for volunteering, I was strong-armed into also filling out a raffle ticket after I purposely tried to leave without entering. But then how weird would I look if I openly communicated the fact that I didn’t give a shit about the stupid raffle? I already look weird enough without doing anything, so I sighed and filled out a stupid red raffle ticket.
And of course, I was one of the winners. I was notified by email to please go up to the 11th floor to claim my $10 gift card for the in-house cafe on the 19th floor. I’ve worked here over 3.5 years now and still have not ever gone to the stupid On 19 cafe thingie, so I didn’t want the gift card. Besides, since my shift is so stupid, they’re already closed by the time I’m ready for a feeding.
So I ignored the email.
And then I ignored the next email.
And I swear to god I had intentions of replying to the third email, which by then had nothing in the actual body and just a terse “Please get your gift card” in the subject line, but I forgot. I was just going to say that I wouldn’t be able to use it and that they could just give it to someone else, but you know how it is when you’re about to do something and then you get a push notification letting you know that Apu is done feeding the octuplets and then you get sucked into your Springfield for the next 20 minutes. (Thanks again, Brandy, for getting me hooked on Simpsons: Tapped Out!)
Last Wednesday, I came to work and there was an envelope on my keyboard with the stupid gift card inside. I laughed and ran out to tell my work friends Lauren and Chris about how my passive aggressive method of living had FINALLY worked in my favor! Man, I really felt like I beat the system, you know? Until I opened up my Outlook and saw that I had received a group email from the same lady letting us know that we had to go up to her desk the next day to claim a t-shirt for our volunteering day.
After all that, I STILL had to go to the stupid 11th floor. Lauren was kind enough to go with me, since she needed to get her t-shirt too (we were scheduled to volunteer at the Food Bank on the same day). Little did I know that the Gift Card Lady was going to be crossing names off a list, so when I grabbed a t-shirt and tried to leave, she was all, “Wait! And you are…?”
I mumbled my name and she kind of paused, eyes flickering in recognition, and then proceeded to scratch my name off the list.
“Do you think she knows I’m the same person who rejected the gift card?” I asked Lauren.
“Well, she doesn’t forget anything,” she replied honestly. And I mean, that was just one day ago at that point.
I just don’t know, you guys. Sometimes I feel like I’m really making headway into this whole “Adulthood” thing, but then there I go taking eighteen giant steps back. Oh well.
Volunteering Day came and I had to come to work a little early, but I didn’t mind too much. I was really happy that Lauren was going and she promised she would be my buddy for the day, even though Amber2 wanted her to ignore me and potentially get me lost and/or killed because Amber2 is mean!
I think there were nine of us from my department, plus a bunch of other people that I don’t know. Maybe 30 of us in all? Enough that we all fit into one of those stupid little shuttle buses with absolutely zero seats to spare. Lauren and I got stuck sitting in the dork-reserved front seat, which was totally lame until we realized there were a box of flares at our feet.
“Not now, Erin,” Lauren said. “On the way back, I promise.”
The Food Bank is in Duquesne, and because of fucked up Pittsburgh traffic, it took us 45 minutes to get there and the driver, who was kind of a dick, totally passed up the entrance and seemed annoyed when literally the whole bus was like, “YOU WENT THE WRONG WAY AND NOW YOU MUST TURN AROUND.”
Once we met the volunteering coordinator and got a brief run-down of the facility, we were split into three groups to begin our two hours of labor. My group consisted of Lauren (thank god), Jeannie, Other Erin, A-ron and Rachel, and then three other girls from different floors.
We were handed over to Steve, the foreman (I guess that’s what he is?) who would be supervising us for the afternoon. Basically, we had to sort through boxes of food and re-box them based on if they were cans, glass or plastic. Each box had to be around 40 pounds, and we had to obviously check expiration dates and the conditions of the product. (I say obviously but we all know I definitely would not have been checking that shit if I hadn’t been told.) Like, if the tops of cans were “compromised” to the point where a can opener wouldn’t be able to go around it, we had to chuck it. I mean, if I was basing this on my own can-opening skills, I’d have had to pitch every single can I pulled from the box.
And we had to also check for dents. Some dents were OK, but some were not. Steve’s explanations were pretrty vague. I wanted to see a Powerpoint, to be honest, but instead we just constantly asked him, “STEVE!! STEVE!! WHAT ABOUT THIS ONE!?” the whole time, so maybe next time, Steve will consider drawing up some slides of various dentings.
He probably went home feeling like I do after a day of Chooch chanting, “MOMMY. MOMMY. MOMMY.”
“I can’t tell if this is seriously that hard or if we’re just really overthinking things,” I said out loud.
But by the second hour, we were basically canned good-sorting pros. And I was really thankful that I chose to do something so Erin-friendly. Some of the people in my department volunteered at a place where they had to make SANDWICHES. You guys, I can barely make my own sandwich. I really don’t think I would have been able to do that.
I’m also glad that the Food Bank didn’t require us to ladle anything because I don’t know how to use a ladle. If we go to a salad bar and I want soup, Henry has to ladle it for me because my wrist is really weak or I just don’t want to do it, I can’t remember now.
I had to toss a huge container of Nutella because the seal was slightly broken. If I had brought my purse, that bitch would have gone home with me, for real. Spoonfuls of maybe-contaminated Nutella for everyone!
One of my favorite pasttimes is forcing myself to have crushes on people, and Steve was definitely my target yesterday. It made those 2 hours zip on by. It’s basically just a lateral move though, considering he works in a warehouse and drives a pallet jack. Just like Henry.
(Speaking of pallet jacks, when we first walked into the warehouse, some guy zoomed by on a pallet jack and I cried out, “Haha, that’s the thing that ran over Henry’s foot!” but no one in my group knew how hilarious that story was to me when it happened a few years ago, so it was kind of awkward when absolutely no one responded. I suck at knowing my audience.)
Everyone was running around taking pictures of each other for our department’s website, but all I gave a shit about was getting Steve’s picture. I wasn’t leaving without it. I made Lauren get in the picture with him so maybe he would think I was less weird. I don’t know why I cared about looking weird to him though after he shared with us a story about how he drank bad Pepsi when he was a kid and got explosive diarrhea.
He was so entertaining! And he told us that we were way better than the other group who had volunteered from The Law Firm and I really like winning, so that made me feel fantastic. He said they couldn’t figure out how to stack the empty boxes. What assholes.
The three ladies who aren’t from my department are clearly my new best friends after two hours of squinting at cans of tuna together—that’s how friendship works, right?
On the shuttle ride back to work, we found out that our co-worker Rachel insisted that all of her boxes weigh in at EXACTLY 40 pounds, which actually isn’t that surprising if you know her, but damn was I glad that she wasn’t at my end of the table, where the motto was, “Eh, that’s close enough.”
Meanwhile, the three ladies who sorted canned shit with me, Jeannie and Lauren went back to their own People on the shuttle, like we hadn’t just shared a special afternoon together even though I had to remind the one lady of my name at least 5 times, and now I just feel dirty.
“How was it?” Mean Amber2 asked when we returned to the office.
“It was fun!” I said. “And I even got a new boyfriend.”
“Oh, I didn’t catch that one!” giggled a Different Barb Than The One I Always Blog About.
“Either did he,” I said, and then she laughed. Because you know, that’s what people here do when they talk to me, OK?