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Oathbringer, Volunteering, Long Walks and Helping a Guy

After having a nasty taste in my mouth for a while, last Sunday I woke up with a headache at one point. It seemed to have gone away by the time I woke up again and got up, but then in the evening I felt rather off in general, and something seemed odd at my right temple, a dull pain and a feeling of pressure, and I thought it felt a bit swollen as well. Just that strange feeling at my right temple was still there the next day, however, and after changing the position of the headphones that night, that also went away on Tuesday, so it is possible that it had something to do with that, while the rest of it might have been caused by what I had eaten after that week’s run, trying to rescue as much as possible out of what dad had left to spoil, and the yogurt I had that morning, which had been expired for full a week.
Getting back to last Sunday, after thinking it over and weighing my chances the night before, I decided to go against the plans I mentioned before and start Oathbringer after all, committing to finishing it by the end of the year, though I should really put more effort into it in that case, because I’m already struggling to catch up. That makes also finishing Witch’s Wake far less likely, but I’ll see whether I’ll manage that as well, somehow. Writing a review for Neverwinter Nights: Kingmaker by the end of the year is quite clearly out of the question either way, however.

Moving on to this week’s run, that was Tuesday, when I got up when the alarm rang, at noon, but it was almost 2:45 PM when I went out. Had the usual stuff, the yogurt being a bio (organic) one, and doughnuts with jam as the sweet thing, but again only left the tiniest bit in the toilet and had the old training suit on, albeit without anything under the shirt, plus that thing on my neck, which I had pulled up to also cover my mouth and nose on the way to the park, so I’ll only put the mask on after the run. Also had the old gloves, plus the jacket for the walk, that time managing to tie it properly around my waist, so it wasn’t a problem during the run anymore. The reported temperature ranged between 6°C and 9°C, depending on where I looked, there was little wind and it was partly cloudy, though at one point it even became rather sunny for a while.
I went for 16 km again, and I’m pretty sure the time was 1:19:03, though my fingers were again frozen, I didn’t press the button when I thought I did and wasn’t looking at the stopwatch just then, so I saw 1:19:04 when I did look, after turning my arm. The sector times were 4:24, 5:15, 6:06, 4:34, 5:07, 5:54, 4:34, 5:12, 6:04, 4:38, 5:15, 6:06, 4:39, 5:17 and 5:58, making for lap times of 15:45, 15:35, 15:50, 15:59 and 15:54, obviously with the same comment about the last sector and lap as for the overall time. After sector two of lap one, I was sure that 1:20 was a lost cause, just hoping to stay under 16 minutes for the first two laps, complete three in under 48, then see whether I’ll at least stay under 1:21, but towards the end of sector two of lap two I just felt much better and over the course of lap three I gradually realized that 1:20 could be possible after all. Then, at the start of lap five, I was aiming for 1:19:30, just giving it everything, and on the last sector I was wondering whether 1:19 was possible, being quite disappointed when I just missed that target. But I managed to stay under 16 minutes on each lap, albeit only barely on lap four, so at the moment I’ll take that as a positive aspect.
In terms of issues, there weren’t many caused by others, but there was a misunderstanding with a guy on an electric scooter on sector one of lap one and the moment when I had to briefly stop and go around after being blocked by a cyclist with a kid on sector one of lap five, when he stopped across the path, right after the bridge, waiting for the kid to try to go up the stairs, and when I asked for some room as I approached he started moving back, which was the way I meant to go around them, since otherwise I’d have had to try to squeeze between him and the kid. Without those, I might have just managed to stay under 1:19, but I’m not sure and, either way, the bigger issue was that I just felt exhausted for the first lap and a half, surprisingly getting much better after that. Another little issue was that I rather felt like taking a crap on sector two of lap three, and that was when it was getting sunny as well, so I was starting to overheat for a while, but both issues pretty much went away after that.

Though I hadn’t meant to at first, once I finished running I decided to jog to Kaufland after all, looking for the cheese that was supposed to be on the Monday and Tuesday sale. It didn’t look like they had any left, however, and I couldn’t get myself to cut the line to ask, and didn’t want to wait in it for what was likely to be no reason, so that was just a waste of time, which became even more of one when they didn’t have the coffee my mother wants either, the day’s offer being 30% off for coffee and tea. So I jogged back as well, getting here at 5:15 PM, even more sweaty after jogging with my jacket on… And being unable to shower that evening, as there was no hot water.
It was also that evening when I meant to dig into some wasabi-flavored peanuts dad had brought, but that flavored coating was just awful, so I gave up after a handful, yet later found that putting them in yogurt counters what bothers me, so I’ve been using them like that the following days, before going out. And, to return to that evening, made mamaliga again… And rather burned it, likely at least in part because I added what was left of some milk which had been opened for quite a while. At least one of the eggs didn’t look good either, but I was trying to make some use of those things. Still, though the milk and eggs were four days older than they had been Friday, I didn’t feel off again after that.

Wednesday I got up at 11 AM, when the alarm rang, but slept little after waking up around 9:45 AM, in good part because I felt dirty and itchy. When I had woken up before, a bit after 8 AM, and washed what dad had used when he got back from work, it seemed like the water was at least warm, but I didn’t want to take a quick shower then, since I was going out again and it’d have likely meant getting no more sleep, but maybe I should have, as I might have only lost a similar amount of sleep and I’d have felt better. Either way, meant to leave at 12:30 AM, but was almost ten minutes late, taking the paper and another small bag of trash, dropping the trash in a garbage can outside the building and the paper in the first recycling bin on my way.
Though it meant I was going to be late, I first went to the Carrefour from the park, having been told to get a lot of cat food and not being certain that I’ll find that much at once, or even whether I’ll find some at all. But there was enough of one kind, an employee just stocking that area at the moment, yet the other kind was missing completely, and when that employee saw that I was looking in that area she guessed what I was looking for and said that other customers had been asking about that kind as well, but they’ve been out of it for some two weeks and no more was received. Found something else, however, the package of two being cheaper than it’d have been to get two from Penny, where they were on sale those days, so I grabbed that as well, then left everything in a cabinet… And banged my head in the corner of the cabinet’s door when I stood up, as I was moving the stuff back and forth, trying to make everything fit, and I used a top one, since the lower ones didn’t have the number on the key and I wanted some proof that my things had been in that cabinet in case something was going to happen until I’ll get back there, hours later.

After a quick detour to the toilet, I was out of that mall at 1:35 PM and going through the gate of that industrial area a bit after 2:15 PM, since there had been another call for volunteers to put together packages for old people, this time by e-mail, so I could sign up right away and go on the first day. And since I knew the way, I went around the fenced area and got to that gate the coordinator had opened to let me out last time, yet while she was outside the warehouse, she was talking on the phone, with her back towards me, so I went to the small gate I had used then… And then had to go right back, since it was locked. But she was looking my way by then, and quickly opened the gate when I waved, before I even reached it again.
There were apparently two areas, volunteers doing two different things, but I wasn’t even aware of the others at first, since they were at the back of that large warehouse and the coordinator just told me what the two girls who were there were doing, leaving us to decide how to split the tasks, and I ended up spending most of the time putting lemons and oranges in bags while one of the girls was doing the same with the onions and potatoes, this “pre-packaging” being the most time-consuming and tedious task, the other girl adding apples and carrots, which weren’t placed in bags first, and the hygiene products to these in order to put together the packages. What the others were doing apparently had to do with cans, which was actually what the e-mail had stated the work was going to be about, warning that it was going to involve heavy lifting, and when another guy arrived, around 4 PM, he went to help them, but the girls I had joined were saying that what the others were doing was easier and they’ll finish much sooner, and someone from that other group actually came soon after that to say they were running out of something, and a couple of women that I guess had been in that other group left around that same time.
It was only at the end, as it was getting dark and the lights weren’t coming on, that I left the lemons and oranges to put together a couple of packages as well. The girl who had been working next to me was taking what she thought was a break at that point, getting some pizza and pancakes while waiting for the lights to come on, but they didn’t, even though they were saying that they had done so automatically last time. So it became too dark for us to continue around 4:30 PM and I grabbed some pizza and pancakes as well, wondering at one point how did the others manage to continue working at the back of the warehouse when we were starting to have trouble seeing well enough to eat at the entrance. But they had plenty of pizza, two large ones remaining unopened, and they had repeatedly told me to have some ever since I got there, also saying quite a few times that they had pretty much stuffed themselves in the morning, so after the others finally called it a day as well and that other guy left, leaving me with the coordinator and the three girls, which I guess were the same ones who had been there last time, I meant to grab another slice, or perhaps even both that were left in one of the opened boxes, but I hesitated too much, then also took a moment to grab two slightly moldy lemons that the coordinator seemed to want to throw away otherwise, and by the time I got back there the coordinator was gathering everything, at which point I’d have had to ask and really couldn’t get myself to do so.
Around 5:10 PM, I was in the coordinator’s car, along with two of the girls, one having called herself an Uber, but when we found her still waiting when we reached the street, she ended up squeezing next to me, which was quite difficult when one of the others had taken a bunch of empty crates and was holding them in her arms and all three of us were on the back seat. But we only stayed there for a little while, all three of us getting off at the bus stop, at 5:25 PM, the two of them waiting for the bus while I walked away.

Really needed to pee when I got to Auchan, so I took care of that and was in the store a bit after 5:50 PM. Not finding that kind of cat food there either, I just bought some bread and another large bio (organic) yogurt, spent a little time arranging things and counting money, and was out of that shopping center some 40 minutes after going in the store. Then I got back to Carrefour, leaving my purchases from Auchan in another cabinet and noticing that the coin wasn’t dropping through the mechanism, but the key eventually worked, so I went in and had a look at a few more things, not buying anything… And then started struggling to get that coin back. The guard quickly noticed and told me I shouldn’t do that, but after I told him it ate my coin and he tried it himself and saw that it wasn’t going to release it, he pulled 1 RON out of his wallet, went to customer service to change it and handed me a 0.50 RON coin to replace the lost one. That’s unlike what happened the previous time this happened, at the other location, so I didn’t lose anything and could then just retrieve the other stuff as well, getting back here at 7:45 PM, having carried almost 17 kg from there, including clothes and what I had in my pockets. And there was hot water, so I could finally take a long shower, and then even read as much as planned for that day. Only started eating at 3:35 AM though.

It was almost 5:20 AM when I got in bed Thursday morning, but slept soundly and my internal clock again worked properly, so I woke up just moments before the alarm rang, again at 11 AM. It was past 12:50 PM when I finally went out, however… And had barely crossed the road when dad rang. With the girls saying there wasn’t much left to do, after we got in the car I had asked the coordinator whether I should come Thursday as well, if I again won’t be there before 2 PM, and she had told me to call around 1 PM and ask, so I had asked dad to do that and let me know, and he did just that, saying she had told him they were already finishing.
So I switched to the other plan, which was to check several Carrefour locations for that kind of food, for Rocky. First got back to the one from the park, then the one from Unirii, also having a quick look through the Mega Image from there and then going in the shopping center to pee, then checked Carrefour Orhideea next, followed by Kaufland Basarab, using the toilet again on my way out, making do with urinals both times since the situation was quite desperate, then had a quick look though a Profi City, and a MyAuchan. The next stop after that was a little bookstore I happened to spot on the way, looking for something else dad had asked for, then took a different route from Victory Square, apparently adding some 800 meters to the distance I had to cover for no reason, eventually returned to the regular route and went in a particularly large Mega Image I saw… And that was the only place where I found that food, but the price was quite high and I had been told to get at least one full box, so I just kept the location in mind but didn’t get any, instead getting a few other things I happened to notice while I was there. Then I continued on to Auchan Obor, where I was surprised to see cabinets, since Auchan otherwise doesn’t seem to have places where you can leave your things, and then to that Kaufland, getting a few things… And ending up stuck to the self-checkout machine, since there’s apparently a magnet there and I had coins and keys in the pocket that’s on the jacket’s sleeve, making it quite tricky to pull away without tearing it. But I managed it, got a pretzel from a pastry place that’s also there and continued to that Carrefour, getting what dad wanted but being surprised to not find the bagels for my mother, since they’re their own brand, not on sale and had been available in all other locations.
I might have quickly checked another Mega Image at some point, likely between Basarab and Obor if so, but really can’t remember and might be confusing that with that Profi City. But the main idea was to look for that cat food and, as I already mentioned, that large Mega Image was the only place where I still found some, and there wasn’t as much as I had been asked to get on the shelf even there. So I walked over 22 km just on the streets, plus the distance covered in the stores, and likely took quite a risk by entering so many under the current circumstances, but didn’t have much to show for it. I mean, I didn’t even have those bagels for my mother, though I bought some of another kind from that Mega Image, being surprised at how cheap they were while the price of those she had asked for had just increased significantly. So I put the idea of getting something for myself as well, on top of that pretzel, out of my mind… And I guess I couldn’t have done so anyway, since the idea would have been to stop at that confectionery I had bought something from on November 21, knowing it was open until 9 PM, but when I stopped right in front of it, to pick up a coin I had spotted, the employee locked the door, the body language I noticed when I looked seeming to indicate that she wanted to make sure I won’t try to go in, though I checked the time and it wasn’t even 8:50 PM yet. Either way, got to the building entrance a bit after 9:20 PM, had an orange and one of those pieces of cake brought by dad at some point after that, showered again, but only managed to read one more chapter and it was 2:50 AM when I started eating dinner.

What was notable about Thursday, however, happened on Unirii Boulevard, after a guy using a crutch fell in front of me. Another guy was also in that area, having just parked his car, and we both rushed to help him get up, but he had difficulty standing and explained that his left side is going numb at times. We both asked how to help and he said he was fine, just needed to take it slowly, but it didn’t seem like it and the other guy continued to hold his arm as he started walking again. He meant to offer to drive him where he needed to go, but when told which hospital he had to get to, he said he couldn’t do that, since he was working and had only stopped to get himself something. He also told the guy there’s no way he’ll get there, but the guy said he will, in about an hour and a half… Which I assume meant taking the metro, or maybe a bus, from Unirii, because I’m not even sure I’d have covered that distance in an hour and a half on foot, and he was barely walking.
Either way, after helping him for a short distance, that other guy excused himself and, after the guy with the crutch again said he’ll be fine and also that I could help as well, since I had sort of followed them, he returned to his car. Maybe I could have helped more if I’d have rushed to an ambulance which had been stuck in traffic just in that area at that point, asking whether they could do something, but I couldn’t get myself to do so until it eventually managed to drive away, so I just took that other guy’s place and held his arm as he started telling me what was wrong with his back, apparently for two years, what treatment he was going to the hospital for, what prescriptions he had to fill, then also about his work, how the problems had been caused by standing so long for his old job as a security guard, the fact that he had practiced some contact sports likely having had something to do with it as well, the fact that he had just managed to get a new job, still in security but just watching cameras… And then he asked whether I could help him get some medicines he really needed to get then, which first made me even more anxious, assuming he meant to ask me to go to a pharmacy and buy them, and then made me go quiet and sort of pull away when he explained that what he was asking for was the money for them. I just sort of ignored him at that point, wondering how to get away, but the thing was that I had for some reason taken more money than intended that day, which I hardly ever do, and couldn’t get myself to lie and say I didn’t have that amount to spare, so when he asked again, saying that it was going to be a loan, until he’ll get paid next month, and that he’ll show me the prescriptions and other documents, I eventually agreed.
The thing is that, while he did show me medical documents and even his ID card and we exchanged phone numbers, he got back up off the bench he had sat on surprisingly quickly after receiving the money, and then I didn’t take his arm again and he seemed to walk a fair bit better. He did say that he had rested a bit on that bench and felt better as a result, and a little later stopped again for a few moments and cursed his leg, but I found myself saying that if he won’t pay me back, I’d have just done a good deed for the holidays, and at this point I’m considering that amount as lost until and unless proven otherwise.
Either way, after I said I don’t when he asked where I worked, he even offered to talk to his boss to hire me, which I obviously refused. Then he touched on a few other topics as well, bothering me when he said he’d cut up all these masks, but lives with his mother and she’s old and at some risk if he’ll take this virus to her, yet then seemed to want to stress that he didn’t believe the risk was significant even for her… And then he pulled his mask off for a moment and I could see how dirty it was, and he also said that the fact that it’s white on the inside means it gets dirty easily, and that he’d been using it for some three weeks, so my initial impression that he was taking the situation very seriously, the mask being at least FFP2, was proven to be very wrong. And then he bothered me again when he said he noticed that I was rather shy and, when I said it’s social anxiety, not just being shy, he started talking about a coworker who was supposedly the same and barely speaking, especially with women around, and he’d whack him over the head when that happened to make him “be a man” and get better. I pulled away from him at that point and I guess he realized he really messed up, trying to say he was just joking, but I rather shut him out, not asking whether I should be whacking him over the leg or back to make him get better too. And we were approaching Unirii Square at that point, and I said that was how far I was going to go, asking whether he’ll find someone else to help him, and he said he’ll manage, so once we got there we parted ways and I continued on my route.

As for Friday, I got up at 11:30 AM, which was the third time I had woken up, though the second time I hadn’t needed to pee and went right back to sleep. But at that point I meant to go right out, rushing, being out the door at noon… And forgetting my backpack, which I had left in the kitchen, with the bags in it, so I’ll just grab it on my way out. Only realized it after getting to this other Carrefour, which I hadn’t checked the day before, grabbing those bagels for my mother and noticing I had nothing to put them in. It’s a good thing that cat food hadn’t appeared there either, as I’d have had quite a problem then, but as it was, I just left the bagels for another time, just getting a couple of expiring things for myself. Then I also checked that Kaufland, getting an expiring yogurt from there, plus some cleaning product I kept forgetting to get, had a quick look through a Mega Image on the way back and was back here before 1:55 PM.
With that cat food having just showed up as being in stock in a few locations on Auchan’s site, the initial plan was to order it from there, even if the price was higher than the listed one at Carrefour, since at Carrefour it obviously doesn’t actually exist, and pick it up that same evening, but considering the crowds I had seen that day, I selected Monday instead and didn’t go out again. Couldn’t catch up on the previous day’s missed reading even so, barely managing to not fall even farther behind, and it was past 3 AM when I started eating dinner, and again only got in bed at 5:20 AM.

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