Every so often, I miss my self-imposed deadlines for my blogs. Why? Life gets in the way.
This week it was my off-the-cuff idea to volunteer for six hours at a vegan cafe near me. It's all volunteer run and connected to a vegetarian co-op (of which I was once on the board and ran the volunteer operations). I had the idea that getting out of my house and volunteering might be an enjoyable way to spend some of my time. And that going back to a familiar space would be pleasant. Ever since I lost a couple of gigs earlier this winter, I've been feeling despondent and I thought that getting out into the world and interacting with some folks would be a good idea to get my spirits up.
First off, the shift was six hours. Six hours. On my feet, cleaning dishes, cleaning the refrigerator, prepping food. Now this may not sound like much to some of you, but for this laptop jockey, six hours on my feet was a trial. Besides the length of the shift, the primary activity behind the counter is cleaning. Cleaning the counters, the dishes, the utensils, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I don't clean and I don't clean well when I do clean. Cleaning is not one of my skills. I almost take it as a point of pride that I don't clean. I am a woman who doesn't lift a dust rag or mop to clean a shelf or a floor, thankyouverymuchamen. (Before you look down your nose at me, I do live with people who clean, so my home is not dirty. It ain't sparkling, either, but that's ok by me, honestly.)
Secondly, it's the vibe. Vegan cafe inside a vegetarian co-op...you know the type of people who are going to be patronizing this sort of establishment: vegan/vegetarian, hippie-dippie, conservationist, eco-friendly, tree-hugging, anti-consumerist, hemp-wearing Bernie Sander's supporters. Now, truly, these lovely misfits are some of my people: they live on the margins in their own way and their beliefs and lifestyles are far from mainstream. But somehow in the seven years it's been since I've spent any significant time at the co-op, I completely forgot how extremist these people are. I mean, they seem as intense and convicted as gamers, but about the environment. Where's the VeggieCon!?!? It's truly not a balanced scene and I, for one, felt really, how do I say, alienated by the types of conversations that were going on. (Not to mention, I need balance in my life.) It was truly taxing to listen to a long discussion about whether or not freecycle or ebay was the right way to go with an extra kitchen appliance that they had acquired. I felt like my impatient mom and I just wanted to yell, "Make a decision!"
Lastly, it was the loss of what amounted to an entire day. I work more than six hours on the average day. But working these six hours in this way tired me out so thoroughly, that I didn't have the wherewithal to do any other work that day. And so I lost my momentum and sense of balance not only for that day, but for the rest of the week. It's been four days since then, and I'm just now starting to feel back in the saddle.
I give earnest thanks and kudos to the folks at the cafe who trained me that day and spent time trying to show me the ropes. I am sorry that I misused their time. But I am so glad to have been able to recognize - very quickly - that this idea was not a good one for me and that my time is much better spent investing in socializing with the people who are already in my life. Not to mention a plethora of other projects that I have.
Onto the next blog...