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Botanical Garden, Longer Run, Protest, Recycling Kits, Being Uncomfortable

Made it through last week and into October without needing to add more of those old book reviews to make room for more personal posts, but that was the end of the line, so I had to throw one here to allow this post, and may well have to do it again for the week’s second post. Then again, if I stuff everything in another long post now, I won’t even have what to add in a second personal one, and a Sunday update at that, so unless I’ll end up just posting that I have nothing to post, or just something about one day, I’ll need to either see about another brief “New Finds” post, which would actually be great and also mean I won’t in fact need another one of those reviews, or fill some survey or something.

Since I mean to stuff everything in this post, I’ll go in reverse order, starting with yesterday, when I went to the Botanical Garden again. Hadn’t set the alarm, but a call, probably someone doing a survey again, woke me up at 12:57 PM, so I didn’t answer but the timing was good, letting me take it easy before eventually leaving, a bit after 4:15 PM, running to the metro station. Walked quite slowly after getting off the train though, so I was at the gate at 4:55 PM, since I had listed myself as coming at 5 PM, just to be there for two hours. Considering the rain that actually started shortly after I left, and the coming wind as well, I probably only wasted that time, the only useful action likely having been to weed, but it did seem that it had been done well enough and I didn’t even really think about it.
After having a quick look, I decided to fill a bucket and get a rag and wash the benches, getting back to the gift shop at 5:45 PM and grabbing a rake before asking the guy who was there whether the closing time was still 7 PM. When he confirmed that, I took a wheelbarrow as well and started raking on the second alley, the one to the left of the central area. Was slow and thorough at first, then went to the end and the much more difficult terrain made it impossible to do it like that anymore, so I did what I could until I checked the time and saw 6:40 PM when I still had a fair bit, so I really rushed that last part, took the leaves to the proper spot and made it back to the gift shop at 6:50 PM, washing my hands and face and rubbing some dirtier spots on my shirt, since I had taken that white one and the running pants this time. Didn’t make much difference for the shirt though.
Was leaving at 6:55 PM, but I wanted to use the other exit, which I knew existed since others had been using it. Didn’t know how to get to it though, so I tried to go one way… And ended up facing the dog that I should have remembered is in that area that’s past the greenhouses, around the “Historical Garden”. Actually seem to remember that there were two there, but now I just saw one, yet it was quite enough. Heard threatening growls and barking and a moment later it rushed at me, as I was all alone in that area at that moment. But I did it pretty much by the book, holding my backpack in front of me, with the other hand held up in front of me as well, ready to bend down to shield my legs with the backpack and slowly backing away, staring at it the whole time. It quite clearly meant business, growling in that manner and alternating between matching my steps, keeping a certain distance, and briefly stopping before rushing at me a few seconds later, but never getting really close and eventually giving up after I got back out of that area.
Walked back after that, going another way to get around that area, and as I was doing that a girl asked me whether there was a closing time of 8 PM, and I hope I didn’t give her wrong information when I said there was, but that you can leave up to an hour and a half later. Quite sure of that second part, it may even be two hours, but the closing time may be the same as the gift shop’s, so 7 PM now. Either way, after that I ended up behind the greenhouses well enough, but can’t quite say what I did from then on, since I was trying to “read” the paths, looking for those that seemed to lead to an exit, and somehow ended up turning completely around and indeed reaching an exit, but the one I knew, not the other one. Can’t even say whether that means I succeeded or completely failed in orienting myself, but I can say that the whole thing just meant that I lost ten minutes, reaching that exit at 7:10 PM, while normally it’d take five to get there from the gift shop.

After that, even though my shirt was still dirty, I walked to the Auchan from that area, getting there at 7:30 PM and back out at 8:05 PM. Did find that cat food that I couldn’t find there otherwise recently, but it looked different now and the quantity had also been reduced, from 100 grams to 85, and I wonder about changes to the ingredients as well, in which case there may be problems if we keep buying it. So I just had a look at that, then only bought some sour cream, being given 268 grams when I had asked for about 150, the person there seeming so certain of trying to give me around 250 grams that I’m sure she had actually thought I had asked for that much. And I didn’t complain, since I’ll be using it anyway, though the fact that the scales didn’t take the weight of the little plastic thing into account did bother me a little. Did put back the teas I had also considered buying though, since I couldn’t make them fit in the budget at the moment anymore, and then used the self-checkout, which Auchan has at that location as well, without any problems. And then came right back, running again after getting out of the metro here, walking in at 8:45 PM. Had considered going to the Carrefour and Kaufland from that area as well, the main target being Kaufland, where I meant to check the changes they had made, supposedly in order to reduce the use of plastic, and to see whether I really could use my own bags for fresh stuff, but it had already started raining a little when I got out of that mall that Auchan is in, so I gave up.

The first thing to say about Tuesday happened just after 3 AM, so midnight GMT, when I posted my little giveaway on the GOG.com forums. There are few entries at this point, extremely few if I only count completely valid ones, one game not having a single one of those yet, but I’m accepting them until 11:59:59 PM GMT on October 7, so I’ll see what will happen until then, and if that game will still have no completely valid entries I’ll decide whether to ask for more entries, possibly from those who had made valid ones and didn’t win anything, or send it to the Community Giveaway.

Slept badly again that morning, waking up about every hour, about 1:15 at most, mostly to pee despite not having made mamaliga that night and only having one tomato in the salad. Actually, went to pee each time, just in case, even when the reason for waking up was that dad’s alarm rang or I received an SMS, or when it had to do with what I was dreaming. And I did dream a lot, and it was quite interesting, and sometimes I was disappointed that I couldn’t see how the dream continued, as I was unable to pick any back up where I had left off. But I kept getting back to sleep, at 12:40 PM setting an alarm for 2 PM and only actually getting up then, since the plan was to run but wanted to leave no later than at 4:30 PM, so still had plenty of time, and I ended up leaving at 4:15 PM anyway.
The idea was to run 16 kilometers again, getting over ten for the first time since the half marathon, not counting the night run, since there had been plenty of breaks then. And the target was 1:18, with all laps in less than 16 minutes, which I thought was what I should be able to do after all this time, that estimate being proven correct, even if sector three of lap four worried me, so I had to push on lap five, and on its last sector in particular. But that went well enough, and the time was 1:17:51, with sector times of 4:24, 5:00, 5:53, 4:30, 5:01, 5:54, 4:34, 5:10, 5:58, 4:37, 5:08, 6:06, 4:33, 5:09, 5:54, making for lap times of 15:17, 15:25, 15:42, 15:51 and 15:36. Yes, I did only look at the seconds, so I have no exact times.
The forecast was listing a high of 28-29°C, actually around 4 PM, but when I left I saw 26-27°C reported, and the wind wasn’t a problem either. Some joints bothered me a bit at various times, but the one actual issue had to do with the fact that there were plenty of people in the park. Had to weave and take the long way around plenty of times. Slowed down a lot and had to go from one side to the other and back to get through groups forming a roadblock on sector one of lap one. On sector three of lap one I had to briefly stop and sidestep when a guy got off a bench and only looked and stopped when on the path, right in front of me. People going in opposite directions had almost formed a roadblock as I was going under the bridge on sector one of lap three and a cyclist was also coming from the opposite direction and making for the one space that was left, so I had to briefly stop and step aside so we won’t run into each other. There were two moments on sector three of lap four, first another cyclist, who also had a child with him, looking elsewhere and coming right at me as I had another deer in headlights moment and didn’t know which way to go even though the entire rest of the path was clear, only briefly stopping and sidestepping as we almost ran into each other, and then two old women stopping just as they were about to pass two other old women, to talk to them, and forcing me to again briefly stop and struggle to squeeze past them. And on sector one of lap five a few guys stopped ahead of me and one suddenly decided to head to the boats just as I was about to go around them on the inside, again forcing me to briefly stop in order to avoid running into him.

Sunday I went to buy some things, the urgent thing being that kind of cat food which was cheapest at Auchan but which I could no longer find there recently. So I left just before 4:15 PM, taking out the paper as well and meaning to use the free bus to go to the other Auchan, but ending up waiting until 4:35 PM and eventually walking there, having what should have been the next one drive past me just as I was about to get there. Either way, since I didn’t find that cat food at that location either, I grabbed a few other things and went to the Kaufland from that area. Tried to not go around the parking lot again and ended up walking longer, since I ended up behind it, following a sign, and there’s no access from that side, so I had to get back out and then simply go through it. But at least I found 11 pieces of that cat food left, though one of them was soiled, so I bought the other ten, and those may be the last ones containing the old amount, considering what I mentioned I saw yesterday. Also got some other things, including a few apples, deciding to cheat on those a little, making up for about two thirds of the price difference on those spices.
Well, that came back to bite me when I decided to try using the self-checkouts again. I should have realized it, but I somehow didn’t, just waiting for one that also allowed cash payments to free up and then first trying the “multipack” option, seeing that it did indeed only refer to certain packs and asking the employee whether that meant you really had to scan every single item if you had more of them. And apparently you, the customer, do have to, but they can log on and enter numbers, so he scanned one and entered ten for the cat food and those croissants for dad and then left me to do the rest… Which I could no longer do once I got to those apples, the difference of 48 grams making it say the wrong item had been placed on the scales. So, after trying a few times and also considering just leaving them and only taking the rest, I gave up, grabbed all the stuff and went back to a regular checkout without another word, even though the lines were quite long. Yet those long lines worked out in my favor, since I ended up getting checked out right at 7 PM, apparently when the evening discounts kicked in, so the carrots scanned at half the price, which had already been a good one anyway.
Walked back to Auchan after that, to use their free bus, missing the direct one but catching that one leaving ten minutes after it and walking the rest of the way. And since I was walking past it anyway, also went into this nearby Mega Image for cabbage, having seen the price on the one purchased by dad the previous day. However, I not only found just one left, hidden away in a spot right in the corner of the area with vegetables, at the bottom, but it was also 20% more expensive than he had bought that other one for. Still, it looked good enough, so I bought it anyway… And shouldn’t have, since I haven’t touched it yet and yesterday I saw cabbage for less in Auchan, and it also looked good enough. But it seemed like a good idea at the time, so I got it and made it back here at 7:40 PM.

And that leaves Friday, when I first went to that other announced climate protest, leaving at 3:05 PM and getting off the metro at 3:40 PM. With the start time listed as 4 PM, I was very early, even if a few others were also already there, so I wandered around and returned 15 minutes later, staying until the end of the protest was announced, at 5:35 PM, by which time some had already left. There was a rather awkward moment, when I saw two who, according to his t-shirt and her bag, were vegan activists and I just blurted out that I expected them to be at Victory Square, as I thought the march for animal rights was taking place at the same time, until the guy told me it was from 4 PM the next day. Otherwise, can’t really say that I participated, mostly wandering around and taking some pictures and only weakly joining in a few times when something was being shouted. Not that there was much of that either, as there were only several dozen people, still including quite a few foreigners, and this massive drop in numbers disheartened those who did attend. It should have obviously been completely expected, but those with little or no experience were surprised, and I even saw one person that I clearly recognized from the previous protest walking right past, while two others, who had arrived early and had signs as well, wandered away at 4 PM, though they did eventually return, I think after 4:30 PM. Was somewhat impressed by two girls who spent almost the entire time working on their signs, just managing to finish them some ten minutes before the end was announced.

After that, headed to Unirii, but since I had the metro card, I was there quickly and decided to check out that Carrefour, ending up buying some bread with what little I had on me. Still that “whole wheat” one from there which now is even worse if you look at the ingredients, even including sugar, and this particular one also seems very salty, but it fit in what I had on me and it also struck me as interesting that the one piece that was left at that hour weighed exactly one kilogram, 1.000. It was harder to fit in my backpack than in the budget though, as I got out of Carrefour at 6:30 PM and then spent quite some time struggling with it, first right there, putting it in the larger part and somehow squeezing everything else in the smaller one, and then in Unirii Park, stopping behind a bench and switching things around, with the rest of the stuff, mainly my jacket, back in the larger part and the bread somehow squeezed in the smaller one, actually pressed to some extent, as it wouldn’t have fit otherwise.
Either way, had headed in that direction to once again help put together those recycling kits, and I got there at 6:55 PM. We ended up working in a smaller room though, the larger one being in use for something else, though after a while we expanded into the one next to it as well, which connects that one to the kitchen, since I guess 15 people came that time as well, and there were no children among them either. It was less of an “assembly line” though, and those things were folded differently by most who did that, and some time after 9 PM some started leaving, only a few of us eventually being left to finish, but finish we did, what we were told had been 600 kits, so 50% more than the first time. And that time I also stayed a few minutes after we were done too, leaving with the last ones, a group going to have a smoke and me and a couple of others leaving directly, at 10:25 PM. Was back here at 11 PM, taking only seven or eight minutes to run from the Dristor metro station, since I just missed one train leaving from there and the next one would have only left ten minutes later.
To return to what happened while I was there, it was unfortunately uncomfortable. I was the only one who had also been there the first time and Olga, this being the one managing this, kept making a point of it, rather pushing me forward, and also at one point, when she started serving the brownie she had purchased, supposedly so this group won’t be discriminated compared to the first one, first telling me to keep my mouth shut and then seconds later asking how much worse it was compared to that one brought by that person the first time. To be honest, it was surprisingly good for something purchased, obviously not at the same level but way better than I expected.
But, to return to it being uncomfortable, another such moment had to do with a woman starting to ask each of the others to say their name and one word to uniquely define themselves, sort of pick their own nickname according to some interest or skill that they think will set them apart from the others currently present. I was closing the envelopes then, Olga having “volunteered” me to do that when nobody else offered, one other guy coming to help once I was there, and fortunately he was better and faster at it than me, so after a while we managed to clear the pile and he seemed like he could handle what was coming on his own. That meant that I at first escaped by going to the other room and helping those who had moved there fold those things, and eventually mostly just splitting them in groups of five, since they were just stacking them without counting. However, when I saw that the envelopes had piled up again and that guy needed my help again, I returned there, apparently too soon, as his turn was just coming to answer that question, and mine was next.
Well, I of course prepared a speech in my mind, in case I’ll be forced into it, but tried to simply stay silent, just ignore the whole thing, and stare at her angrily when she insisted, and she eventually moved on. I mean, seriously, that speech was something like: “Firstly, social anxiety, so if I must interact other than on-line with someone it’s generally possible only if I somehow disconnect my mind and start babbling whatever comes out, after which I struggle for about a week to recover. Which will happen now as well. Then, today is… I don’t know if I can say anniversary for something bad, but… The anniversary of the day when everything ended and any purpose or hope vanished, personally speaking, so I was trying to just focus on doing something useful here, as otherwise… Thirdly, I learned many years ago and keep confirming countless times since then that I’m in direct conflict with just about everyone on many important topics, so if it happens that we can work together for something I try to stay strictly on that issue, otherwise it’ll get ugly. As an example, and if the request is for a word to set me apart from the others, the first I put in my short description on Facebook is antinatalist. Strict, militant, without exceptions, at least until we solve this world’s environmental and social problems, if we’ll solve them. Must I say anything else?” I doubt they’d have wanted to hear that, and I didn’t want to say it. Would have probably grabbed my backpack and left right then if I’d have even gotten to the second point.
Still, more was to come after just a few of us were left. First it was one girl who started complaining about some recent changes that increase the penalties for employers who have their employees work too much overtime and try to ensure that the limits for hours worked are respected more, saying repeatedly that she should be able to work as much as she wants to earn more, and others agreeing. And then it was Olga herself, first when the topic of emissions from flying came up and she showed how bothered she was by the messages urging people not to fly, saying that people got used to do certain things, including flying, and we shouldn’t stop them from doing it, but just find different ways to do those same things while reducing the impact. And then the discussion got to how recycling was done in the Communist days, with the older woman who was there pointing out that reducing and reusing came even before that and again Olga being the one to comment negatively, this time about the idea of reducing consumption. In other words, proving that those aren’t people I’d want to be around, or who’d want me around, once we start discussing other issues, and just why I try to stick strictly to the matter at hand. And I mentioned being uncomfortable in an e-mail I sent her that night, and then spelled all these things out, and also said I won’t go again because of this, when she replied to ask for details. No new reply from her yet, at the time I’m writing this. But at least I also asked about a way to contact that woman who said she’ll take any jars and she sent an e-mail to both of us, so I have that contact if needed.

For the odds and ends, finally cleaned my room a little again and changed the sheets Tuesday evening, and there was a single double middle click that I noticed during this period, Wednesday. As for the timed squats, they were 2:18 Sunday, 2:25 Tuesday and 2:24 Wednesday. Sunday’s time is even more surprising since it was done after doing 200 the day before. Did those quite slowly and didn’t time them, but my muscles were still complaining a bit, and there was the walking done that day as well.

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