Was saying I’ll try to go to bed early Friday evening, meaning to do so around 11 PM, but it was almost 11:10 PM when I finished shaving and brushing my teeth and set the alarm and I still meant to read a bit, so it was just after midnight when I actually got in bed. That didn’t mean much though, since it was likely around 1 AM when I was either about to fall asleep or, at best, had just managed to sleep for a moment, and suddenly woke up with a start, my body likely wondering why am I sleeping when I should go eat. Checked the time, saw that it was 1:08 AM, got back to bed, tossed and turned, and worried about noises I heard, or thought I heard, from the computer, saw 2:03 AM when I next checked the time, decided to read another chapter and see whether that helped, since on the previous days reading in bed made me very sleepy, but still nothing at 2:25 AM, when I was done. Tossed and turned some more, saw 3:26 AM when I checked the time yet again and decided to go take a crap and move the alarm from 5 AM to 5:30 AM, saw 3:51 AM when I got back, still tossed and turned, but it may have been just before 5 AM when I finally managed to fall asleep, making those 30 minutes the difference between at least getting some sleep and none at all.
With the toilet matter out of the way, getting up at 5:30 AM was just fine and I was actually almost ready when dad came, an hour later. He had said he’ll come at 6:45 AM and my idea was to just get the metro card from him and go right out, but he said he’ll drive me to the metro station, so at 6:45 AM we were already leaving and I was at the station at 6:56 AM, though he drove rather slowly and I felt very unsafe, since it had snowed and the windshield was frozen and he could barely see through a small area at the bottom.
I was at the meeting place at 7:15 AM, but needed to pee again and knew there was a toilet on the other side of that road, in the park, so went past the parking lot to go there first… Only to find that toilet out of order. There was another one, not automated, next to it, but that might have been for bus drivers or something, since I saw many buses stop there, and I couldn’t open it. Knew there was another automated toilet in that park though, so kept going to look for it, but wasn’t sure which way it was and didn’t dare to ask a guard, so I just went deep enough in an area with thick trees and bushes and did my business there, and I don’t even think anybody passed by during that time. As for the automated toilets, saw somebody do something to the broken one while I was in the bus, but seemed still broken when we went past it, so he had probably just managed to close the door. Also spotted the other one as the bus finally drove away, and I don’t think it was farther away than I ended up walking, but it was in another direction.
Was back to the meeting place at 7:25 AM and took a seat in a bus, and it was a good thing that the guy who sat next to me never said a word after asking whether the seat was free. The problem, on the other hand, was that many didn’t come and the organizers waited for half an hour longer, the buses only leaving at 8:01 AM, so I could have easily slept half an hour longer if I’d have known. Only two buses left even so, and not even those completely full, since they said 86 or 89, can’t remember exactly, came, out of the 150 who had signed up. So the conditions were bad, with the cold and the wind and the hard ground in plenty of places, we had way fewer people than expected, and we were running late as well.
We got there at 9:28 AM and I had to go to the toilet again, seeing that there were just two, so there were quite some queues, and my two pairs of pants, undershirt and t-shirt, both tucked into my underwear, two shirts, sweater and jacket didn’t make it easy to do the business quickly, so I got out as quickly as I could and arranged my clothes better outside. Then I got a cup of hot tea and the sandwich that was the breakfast, freezing as I ate it, and during that time I also saw something that was rather rotten, by which I mean that some of the poor locals who were supposed to help came to ask for some food too and they were told that all of us volunteers will have to be served first and then they’ll see what will be left for them. While still quite questionable, that might have been understandable if everyone would have showed up, but when more than 40% didn’t come, they should have had way more food than needed for us and it shouldn’t have been a problem to serve those locals too right away. And since they didn’t, I was hardly surprised to see one of the organizers berating the locals later, saying that every single one of the trees they supposedly planted could easily be pulled out. Not that there’s any guarantee they’d have done better work otherwise, but that attitude definitely didn’t help them want to do anything.
Either way, the next order of business was to form teams, after getting the usual instructions, and since I expected to have teams of three again and I worked well when I ended up teamed up with a couple, I was looking for couples I could join, and had in fact noticed one of the girls I had been on the same team with last month at the Botanical Garden, who was now with a guy, and was thinking to stay around them and try to work up the courage to ask to join them when the time would come, though at that moment I only managed to ask whether I knew her from the Botanical Garden and walk away after she said yes. Also only noticed then that she had sat right in front of me on the bus. But it didn’t matter anyway, since due to the low numbers we were told to make teams of two, so all couples were already a team and I had to quickly switch to looking for a guy who was clearly stronger than me, because if I was going to be expected to dig we won’t be getting far at all.
Well, I was very lucky in that sense, and quite by accident, since when we were told that 20 people should go to each area, since there should be just about 100 after adding some of the organizers and those poor locals, people didn’t sit and count, just heading off in groups, and I joined the third one, then lost enough time looking around for others to take all the spades, since there were ten spades for each area. That meant I wasn’t going to be the main digger, but still left me without a teammate… Until I just looked next to me and found that I was standing next to a large guy whose face I actually knew from protests, though that was all I knew about him. And since both of us were just standing there at the top of the area while just about all the others were heading down, even though we had been told to split more or less equally, some starting from the top and others from the bottom, and he had a spade and I didn’t, we pretty much ended up forming a team without either of us asking, or even introducing ourselves for that matter. I mean, I still don’t know his name even now.
Since he had the tool and was also much bigger, he dug everything, and also obviously tried to break that hard soil, plus that much of the time he held the sapling too, and also helped press the soil, especially the last layer. So I was just getting the saplings, taking the markers to a bucket when he gathered several in his pocket, putting the saplings in the hole, breaking some of the softer ground a bit with my hands, pulling it into the hole and pressing the first layer and usually the second, though at times he helped with that too, and just trying to do my share with the third as well but often finding his foot in there before I could get up and press myself. Though it was, oddly enough, caught in a picture from the “official” album, my only attempt to dig was when he went to the toilet, when I barely managed to get through the softer top layer before he got back, having no chance to make much of a dent in the hard ground underneath.
There was a moment when he said that the ground won’t give even with his 110 kg pressing on the spade, at which point I said that my 50 would definitely have no chance in that case, but despite struggling he managed to get through that hard ground unbelievably well, and after that first line of markers that we had picked it was much better, the ground being significantly softer even when we just moved to the next line, and then mostly better, with some exceptions, when we went to the next areas too, the problems there being mainly roots and the fact that some markers were placed in something of a ditch, or in one case above a pipe. We could have switched areas earlier, since the organizers were trying to even out the groups and came quite early to ask for two volunteers to move from our area to another, but he asked me whether I wanted to move, I said he was the one digging so he gets to decide, and that meant we were too late, since others volunteered in that time and we continued there until that area was finished.
We were told to take a break, get some hot tea or coffee, before switching areas, so we did that, then continued the work, hearing the organizers say at some point that lunch was moved from 1 PM to 2 PM and it will be hard to get back to work after that, so that may be the end of the day, which actually proved to be the case. My teammate was obviously getting increasingly tired during that last hour too, but he kept at it, and I also kept doing what little I was doing, though my left knee was hurting more and more too, the pain again being that deeper, duller one, making it hard to even press the ground with it. Then again, it had started hurting even in bed that night, as I was tossing and turning, which is definitely a bad development, reminding me of how it was before I started taking those pills, which I haven’t been taking anymore for the past month. Nothing like it was just yet, but it may be getting there eventually if I don’t do something about it.
Another thing I think happened after we moved to another area is that I made a fool of myself when two women asked me to take a picture of them. It is possible that it happened while we were still in the first area too, but, either way, one handed me her phone and I immediately pressed something that switched to the front camera, so had to give it back to her to switch back, then couldn’t figure out how to take the picture, I guess because I was just tapping the spot instead of holding for a bit, then kept tapping different things, assuming the obvious spot was somehow wrong, and then trying to figure out how to get back until they got bored, saying they’re not models, and I gave the phone back mumbling that I didn’t know what I did or whether I did anything at all. And, of course, I hadn’t taken a picture at all, so she handed it back to me, pointing out where I should press with some frustration, and I said that was what I tried, but eventually managed to get it done that second time and was just relieved to get it over with. Did I mention I can’t stand touchscreens, and smartphones for that matter? But, while I’m at it, I guess I’ll also mention here that I took just a few pictures too. Poor quality, since I just had my phone and that’s all it can do, but at least I can use it properly… And it has a battery that can last for weeks and it should in itself last longer than most smartphones, or at least so I hope.
When we stopped for lunch, I was rather like a little dog following that guy, and after washing my hands with the water from that drum that was there, which was obviously freezing, my hands became almost completely useless, and with the gloves in a jacket pocket, I didn’t even want to put them in my pockets, since I’d just get at least one dirty again. Tried to put them up my sleeves and sit like that for a bit after my teammate said we should at least occupy seats at a table until we can get the food, but that didn’t help much and I was still just wondering what to do when, I guess seeing that I was just sitting there and not even saying anything, he even offered to grab food for both of us, which prompted me to get up and go with him, reminding him that they won’t give more than one serving per person anyway. Do find it unfortunate, to put it mildly, that so much plastic was used for such an environmental action, including stuff that’s not even recyclable, like all the wrap the breakfast sandwich was in or the foam the thing the main course was in was made of.
Either way, after accidentally grabbing more of those little bags with plastic knife and fork and a napkin, dropping one back and noticing when I got back to the table that I was still left with two, I had the real problem of opening the things. Did manage to open the thing the main course was in and then also somehow, after struggling with it for a while, managed to tear that little bag open, muttering that it sure is nasty when your hands are too frozen to be of use, but I just couldn’t manage to open the thing the salad was in. Had tried to do that before getting to the others and failed, then tried again after the rest and still couldn’t do it, so my teammate offered to help with that too and even though I was just getting ever more embarrassed I had to accept… And then started struggling to actually eat, cutting the meat from that chicken leg proving very difficult as well under those circumstances. Fortunately it was very tender, but that just meant I could get some of it off and I was pretty much just starting when my teammate finished, so he went to get hot tea for both of us, handing me the cup and telling me to hold it in my hands if I wanted to have any chance, so I tried to do that for a bit, holding it in one hand and using the other to awkwardly eat what I could… Until I just grabbed the bones and scraped off what I could, then cleaned them directly with my teeth, at least getting some benefit from the fact that I had washed my hands. At least it’s a good thing the dessert was easy to eat…
After lunch, we were gathering closer to the tents, for some shelter from the wind and at least a bit of warmth, and wondering what we were going to do, since we were all freezing. They did advise wearing a thick jacket and gloves, and a few did have their own gloves to wear when they weren’t wearing those given there, or even tried putting those over their own, but I thought my thick jacket would be too much and get in the way and just had my own gardening gloves with me, in case what they’d give would seem to offer too little protection, but since those seemed fine I didn’t wear mine, and those aren’t for warmth anyway, some even saying that they felt colder after putting on the gloves we were given than without them. Still, was wearing all those things I mentioned above, plus two pairs of socks, one of them thick, and my boots, and my woolen cap and the promotional cap volunteers could grab from there, both of them under my jacket’s hood. In spite of all of that, I was definitely cold. Did also have my hoodie in my backpack, but didn’t take it out, and at that point doing so would have just caused me problems for too little benefit, since we didn’t continue working.
Some did want to keep working, and I heard one of the organizers trying to convince the others to push for everyone to just get together and finish in half an hour or so, but apparently most volunteers wanted to leave and the suggestion to send one bus back with those and keep the other there for the rest of us was struck down, the organizers saying they’re not allowed to do that due to bureaucracy. So we gathered for a group picture and at 2:30 PM we were leaving, though it was 2:55 PM when the bus actually left, some taking their time to get back to it, plenty of them, myself included, due to waiting their turn at the toilets again.
Again following my teammate’s cue, grabbed a small water bottle before leaving, but nothing else, though I heard someone say she was going back to grab one more of those desserts and I assume plenty of others got more food, since there should have been a fair bit left. Didn’t stick around though, in fact rushing forward after telling my teammate that I had to “make a pit stop” first, so even though plenty had left before us, I ended up there ahead of plenty of others and didn’t have that long to wait. Also tried not to make those behind me wait too long, but my hands were still frozen and getting through all that clothing was hard. Not quite sure how I managed to unbuckle my belt, unbutton my first pair of pants and untie the second one, but I did manage it, even though it required some strange and sudden moves that kept making my backpack, which was just hanging from one strap, strike the door, so I wonder what the others thought I was doing in there. Then had to use both hands to make sure I could, well, aim and not piss all over myself, after which I had a brief attempt to get my clothes back in order, realized I had no chance to do that and just went out like that, covering that area with the other clothes at first, stepping aside and struggling to at least buckle my belt back while standing next to the toilets. Then I walked like that to the bus, with the belt holding my pants on and the other clothes hiding the fact that they were completely unbuttoned.
Fortunately, it’s not just that the guy sitting next to me still didn’t try to talk, but as I was digging through my backpack for this month’s National Geographic, which I had taken with me, he silently moved to a seat on the other side of the last row, which was the one right behind the one we had been sitting on, both seats on that side, as well as the one that last row had in the middle, somehow ending up free on the way back, though somebody had sat there when we arrived and we were all supposed to get back to the same buses. They didn’t even call names to check, though I saw the person who had asked for our names on the way there, writing them down herself and leaving me with the impression that she had written mine wrong, have a look at each of us and at the list, so maybe she thought she remembered us well enough to check like that and some had simply sat in other seats, leaving those free because of that.
Those two, including that girl I knew from the Botanical Garden, still sat right in front of me though, and they had the right idea, asking whether they could be dropped off much earlier and the driver agreeing. Admittedly, I needed a lot of time for my hands to warm up enough to manage to even partially button up my pants as I was sitting there, leaving just the top button like that, this happening quite some time after nausea forced me to stop reading, but it would have saved a fair bit of time if I’d have gotten off along with them and the one other person who joined them, since traffic forced the bus to pretty much just crawl after reaching Bucharest. The driver stopped in front of the hypermarket that’s close to the metro station they mentioned, but it’d have been easy to get to that station and then take the metro, even if I’d have had to switch later. But since I didn’t, and still stayed even when more got off at a later point, it was only at 4:35 PM that I got off, when the bus stopped right in front of the metro station that’s close to the parking lot it had left from, leaving us all there so we won’t all waste a few more minutes and then have to walk back anyway. It took us 20 minutes to cover the distance between the previous metro station and that one. I could have walked that distance in about that same time, if not even less!
Once finally on the metro, I calculated that by 5 PM I should just be able to get to the location of the announced protest for that part of this park which plans list as space where pretty much anything can be built, and which was just surrounded by a fence, the gaps in the existing one being repaired and the previous entrances being closed off. And I did get there at 4:55 PM, but even though the event was listed as being between 2 PM and 5 PM and I see reports that about 100 people attended and a petition was signed, I couldn’t find anyone still there at the time. Considering the weather, that’s understandable, but I still say that the protest was way too early, and definitely shouldn’t have taken place on a day with other events that people interested in the environment were likely to attend.
Either way, that left me just walking back from there, and I passed through this nearby supermarket before coming up. Spotted an interesting yogurt that was discounted due to expiring soon and was thinking to just grab some coins and rush back down to get it, since I hadn’t taken any money with me, but once I was inside I gave up on that thought. Didn’t need it anyway, and I was too tired, and still cold too. Also, the big toe from my right foot hurt quite badly, but it stopped hurting since then and there’s no bruise either, though I definitely expected to see one when I looked that evening. Oddly enough, after checking the time each step of the way until then, I didn’t just when I got back, but I guess it was a bit after 5:20 PM, since it was 5:26 PM when I got to my room.
Started writing this Monday and at first meant to finish it that night, but I wasn’t anywhere near, so I’ll be adding some stuff that happened after that day now too, in fact writing this part Tuesday night, before returning to the part about the planting. Meant to try to write earlier Tuesday too, but between being so tired and the cold, crawled in bed and caught some more sleep in the evening, after waking up early again to go to the dentist. Not that my body didn’t still tell me I had catching up to do for Saturday, since despite actually sleeping a lot both Sunday, when I felt absolutely crushed, and Monday, I still didn’t feel like I had recovered after that day.
Since they have discounts for those who come before the afternoon, the appointment to have that chipped tooth, which I was told was actually a chipped filling, fixed meant waking up at 9:45 AM, to be there an hour later, and at least this time I didn’t have to wait much. The doctor was entirely new though, at least for me, not being any of the three that had worked on my teeth at this clinic so far, nor the other one I saw there once. The boss, whose patient I should have been now, was actually there at the time, and she stepped in for a moment to ask how I was doing, though I obviously couldn’t answer at the time, but the next opening on her schedule was apparently a couple of weeks away. But this should have been simple enough, replacing that filling, though I couldn’t figure out what she charged me for, since the price was almost twice what I expected.
The price may be something to ask about, or for dad to ask about, if I still won’t manage to get myself to do so, but more important is for the work to be done well and to last, so let’s see how it’ll go, with this and with what will be done next, since she said she saw a small cavity on another tooth and wants to fix the tooth behind the one where the filling had chipped now too, since she says that may be why this one broke, and either way that one was probably chipped at least twice over the years, and in fact when she had a look she first assumed that was the one I was referring to, but I didn’t bother with it before. She also stressed the need to remove the tartar built up, and my remaining wisdom teeth, but they always say that and I’ve been ignoring them so far, though now she also said there was a small cavity on the wisdom tooth in the upper right too.
After coming back from the dentist, I grabbed the recyclables and went to Carrefour and Kaufland, getting a few things from each. The issue was that the cabinet I put the stuff bought from Carrefour, and also my gloves, in when I went to Kaufland didn’t work again, and I had actually noticed it as soon as I locked it, since it didn’t seem to work as it should have and I tried to enter the code again immediately in order to unlock it and it didn’t work, but there was no point to ask the guard to help then, so I just bought what I meant to buy, tried again after that and then asked, though I ended up saying the drawer didn’t work, prompting the guard to say they don’t have drawers and almost making me freeze… And when I said what code I had set, he asked why didn’t I just use four identical digits so I won’t make mistakes next time, ignoring anything I tried to say and just insisting on the advice to just use four identical digits so there will be no mistakes, apparently convinced it couldn’t have been a malfunction even though he didn’t even check. And then he started talking to someone on the phone and opened the cabinet without saying anything else, or checking that it really was my cabinet in any way, so once again I could have taken anyone’s stuff.
One last thing I’ll mention is that two things broke Tuesday. First, I took my thick jacket that day and as I was leaving Kaufland and zipping it back up I found myself with the pull tab in my hand, and can’t figure out whether it came off or broke, since I can see no way to fit it back and no obvious torn edges. It’s possible that there was another part in between it and the slider and that broke and fell and I couldn’t find it there even though I looked around, just in case there was such a part, but either way, I can just move the slider directly, so that shouldn’t be that much of a problem for the moment. My bedroom door’s handle is, on the other hand, since this evening I just felt, and heard, something snap as I was closing the door and the handle on the outside is hanging quite loose since then. At least it’s the one on the outside, so if it breaks completely I may be locked out and have access to tools, not locked in, but it’s troubling either way… And it’s also strange, since this also happened to the bathroom door recently, and if in that case I thought it probably had something to do with the work dad did there, in case he hit or forced it in some way, that can’t be an explanation here, and yet two door handles failed in a similar manner just a couple of months apart, after having likely been here since we moved in, which I believe was in ’92, if not even in ’91, since I don’t think they’ve ever been changed.