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Very Long Walks to "Pay" with PET Bottles – III

To finally continue from where I left off, on November 23 I woke up when the alarm rang, at 11:30 AM, feeling better, and left with dad at 1:05 PM, since he went with me that day and therefore drove there. We had 60 bottles with us, since the 20 I had were wine and vinegar ones, which I had been told the day before could be given despite the rules stating otherwise, so I gave him 20 that were certain to be accepted and took 20 more, which we left in the car, in case those wine and vinegar ones won’t be accepted after all. But the girl who was there, who was a different one, was talking to someone else about what seemed to be an unrelated issue and, after that person told us to go ahead and put in the bottles, she didn’t seem to care, barely sparing us a glance before giving us the raffle slips to fill. Unlike the other one, however, she didn’t also offer a pen, not even when I asked for one, when mine didn’t work on that shiny paper, so we went back to the car to use one of dad’s and entered that mall just before 1:50 PM.
Also proving that we had arrived on a different shift, there was a guy handing out the rewards, and after briefly discussing it we each got four Bianca peppers, all eight weighing a total of 658 grams, four Kapia peppers, four parsnips and four carrots, the only difference being that dad asked for four squashes and I asked for four apples, weighing 590 grams. Since dad went to my mother after that and took the squashes and parsnips, two carrots and two Kapia peppers there, I had taken a small spring scale with me, to get some approximate weights for those, seeing roughly 680 grams for the squashes, 600 for the parsnips, 210 for the carrots and 270 for the Kapia peppers, while the exact weights I saw after getting back here with what was left was 733 grams for the carrots and 696 for the Kapia peppers, bringing the totals to about 943 and 966, respectively.
Getting back to being there with dad, after getting our rewards I made a quick dash to the expiring products, finding nothing interesting, and he paid some bills, and it still wasn’t even 2:05 PM when we went back outside. Then, 40 minutes later, he dropped me off at The Triumphal Arch, the ride having been quite uncomfortable for me, since I felt really carsick after selecting, separating and weighing what he was to take to my mother while in the car. And having him around, needing to communicate, and also having had to deal with different people in order to drop off the bottles and get the rewards, had really messed me up as well, so on top of being nauseous I was really down, out of it, feeling like crying and unable to even do that, moving as if in a dream…
Either way, dad meant to drop me off at the metro station, having followed a route that wasn’t the initially planned one and getting there first, but when we had talked about it the day before and he said he wanted to drop me off there, I realized he should be coming from the other side, get to the Arch and then make that detour just for me, so I had told him to drop me off at the Arch instead and planned my own route from there, so after I realized where he had stopped I told him to take me to the Arch and he did. Then, with no more shopping centers on my way, I stopped at the Victory Square public toilet, waited in line for a bit, wondered why the old man who was ahead of me walked away after the guy ahead of him went in… And had my answer when my turn came, seeing that the toilet was clogged. But I still went in, peed and washed my hands, washing being the main reason I had wanted to go just then.
From there, I walked to that pastry place that’s roughly around the Romana Square area, but decided against getting anything from there, instead getting one of those carrot and orange cakes from the other one nearby. Went part of the way back to that pastry place after that, thinking to get something from there as well after all, but decided against it once again on the way and turned back around, sticking to my plan. Got a bit confused in a few places, but made it well enough, being at that confectionery at 4:50 PM, finding one last Penguin cake, buying it and getting back a bit after 5:10 PM. Didn’t check my exact route and the distance covered that night, but based on my notes and what I still remember, it seems I walked less than ten kilometers.

To finally get to the last day in this series, November 24, I woke up at noon, when the alarm rang, and went out at 2:20 PM. Dad had said the day before that he wanted something from IKEA and had no time to also go there then, so he meant go with me again on this last day, for which reason he also left the backpack in the car when he got back, but considering how his presence had made me feel, I firmly refused, so he left it for another time and I walked again, this time heading first for the Carrefour from Obor, using a slightly shorter route I had found on the map. Since my mother had sent a list of things to buy again, including some things weighing some five kilograms that didn’t need to be refrigerated, I meant to buy those from the Carrefour Market that’s in that other mall, where I usually went to pee, leave them in a cabinet and retrieve them on my way back, but since, despite having peed as late as possible before leaving, I felt like I had to go again pretty much as soon as I got out of the building, I guess because of the cold, I decided to go there first, doubting I’d have made it that far.
Well, I guess I would have made it after all, since I decided to first buy those things, then leave them in a cabinet, retrieve my backpack from it and rush to the toilet, this being about an hour and a quarter after leaving, which was my best time to that other mall. However, I was in a quite desperate situation at that point, and since I had the backpack in my hand and saw a hook in the stall, I hung it from it in a hurry… And pricked a finger in the nail or screw holding the hook in the next stall, since those are apparently longer than the partition’s thick, so the pointy end comes out right next to the hook from the other side, and I didn’t notice it in time. And yes, there was a bit of blood, so it broke the skin, and I didn’t even buckle my belt, just peeing and quickly buttoning my pants again, then getting the backpack back, careful not to prick myself again, and rushing to thoroughly wash my hands, after which I also used some disinfectant from the first dispenser I saw. I of course worried that something was going to happen because of that, but at least there were no obvious consequences, so maybe it was fine in the end. Still, the next day I sent an e-mail to that mall, describing what had happened and saying they should do something about that issue, but there was no reply.
Was out of that mall at 3:45 PM and continued straight to Baneasa, having no more need to stop at that other mall. Still didn’t see the girl who was usually there when dropping off the bottles, but the one usually handing out the rewards was there instead, apparently filling in for another one who should have been there then. Said other one returned with some pastries while I was putting in the bottles and they started talking excitedly about some college papers and an ethics committee meeting, then squeed and hugged each other, and then just asked me if I had 20 and handed me the slip and, unlike the one from the day before, also a pen.
Was in Carrefour just before 5:25 PM, trying to pick what to get without attracting attention, but the guy who was there, clearly also filling in since he was in regular clothes, noticed me and asked for my slip and what I wanted. Since I saw another kind of peppers, similar to the Kapia but not quite the same, and asked if they were different and he said yes, I got four of each, the Kapia weighing a total of 380 grams and the others 302 grams, then added four black radishes, weighing 875 grams, four red onions, weighing 437 grams, which were just in a corner of one of the crates that otherwise had regular onions, and four beets, weighing 462 grams. Then I went to buy what was left on my mother’s list and a few other things, but somehow “managed” to forget the sour cream, only realizing it when the amount I was asked for was lower than I expected. Mumbled something about forgetting something and going back, but didn’t ask the cashier to hold my purchases for that, so I rushed to put the stuff in a cabinet and went back in for the sour cream, at which point I also saw that girl back to handing out rewards. Almost ended up at the same cashier at first, but noticed it, thought it’d be awkward and moved to the next.
The first cashier had given me 16 RON as change instead of 15.90, not asking whether I had a 0.10 RON coin, but then I found myself receiving a hundred times more, completely by surprise. Was arranging everything in the backpack after retrieving the stuff from the cabinet, and when I was close to finishing a man thanked me, no idea why, and handed me a 10 RON bill. I asked why, tried to refuse, dropped the bill on the floor at first, but when I looked up and around he had already walked away, only turning his head again for a moment to wave at me. So I eventually took the bill, though I meant to look for a place where donations for animal shelters or something of that sort can be dropped off and either donate 5 RON or buy 5 RON worth of pet food and donate that, depending on what’s accepted. Had found a place that lists on their site that customers can spend 4.90 RON to have them donate one kilogram of dog food to a certain shelter, and one of their locations isn’t far from here, but I couldn’t get myself to walk in and ask how that works before ending up giving 70 RON to that guy, and at the moment I’m considering those to have been a “donation”, even more so since he was saying he’ll get paid on January 20 and call me to decide where to meet in order to pay me back, and January 20 obviously passed and there was no word. So if he will somehow surprise me later, I’ll see about donating those 5 RON, half of the amount I received so unexpectedly, but so far it seems I ended up “donating” 65 RON more than intended.
Back to that day, after another toilet break I was out of that mall just before 6:45 PM and rushed, since I had to get back to Obor and retrieve what I had left there by 9 PM and wanted to also get a pizza on the way, so I had to give myself plenty of time to wait for it to be made, in case it’ll take longer than expected. Had sent a message to another place I considered ordering from, to ask about their schedule, and was told they were taking orders until 10 PM, so I could have done that after getting back, but decided not to risk it and instead try a place I kept passing by on this long route and which I had gotten somewhat curious about. So I was inside that place just after 7:55 PM, after checking what the daily deal was through the window and then looking through the screenshots of their menu which I had copied to my phone, making sure I couldn’t be interested in either of those two pizzas and deciding what to order instead. Did have to wait a little longer once I was inside, since the guy who was there was taking an order on the phone when I walked in, but I used that time to have a look through the menu they had there as well, noticing that the prices were 1 RON lower than those listed on the site.
After ordering, I asked how long it was going to take, to know when to return, and he said it’ll only be about ten minutes and I could wait there, so I did just that… Even if it probably wasn’t the best idea, and he only put his mask on when he started making my pizza, having had it off until then… And then, after having told the person he had been on the phone with that he had nobody available to make deliveries that evening and will have to see what he can do, as my pizza was cooking he poked his head out the door, putting his hand on the wall, and asked a neighbor whether he wanted to make a delivery, returning to my pizza after that. But I didn’t comment on that, just asking about his delivery problem and how business was going, his answers being to repeat that there was nobody available for deliveries that evening and, respectively, poorly.
Was out with my pizza at 8:10 PM, thinking I should have ordered from that other place after all, since the one I was holding was smaller and had been 1 RON more than the one I had meant to order from that other place would have been… Plus that I wouldn’t have had to carry that one all the way from there. But there was nothing to do then, so I kept going, was at that mall from Obor just before 8:35 PM and back out ten minutes later, after retrieving my things from the cabinet and actually going back in once, to grab a 0.50 RON coin I had spotted just as I went out the door. Took me a bit longer to figure out how to more properly carry everything, the pizza box being quite an issue, but I could eventually continue on my way, getting back here at 9:30 PM, having carried 14 kg, though five just from Obor.
After having just an apple earlier, only started eating at 3:15 AM, obviously reheating the pizza, on which I had also poured the poppy seeds left in the bag the bagel bought from Carrefour had been in, after moving it to another, to store it better for later. Also started to microwave the Penguin cake, but stopped the microwave seconds later, as it started melting and toppled over and I had to rush to prevent it from spilling off the plate, that cake therefore being the only such purchase made during that period which I didn’t thoroughly microwave before eating. But it had returned to its normal consistency by the time I ate it, at the end, so the only issue was the shape. Finally got in bed at 5:25 AM.

Before posting this and finally finishing with the posts about this period, two full months after it ended, I’ll add that I believe I only finished everything I got in exchange for the bottles last Thursday night, with the last small beet, after having used the other one that was left three nights earlier. But there might have also been some purchased beets mixed with those I got for the bottles, so while I believe those were older and I used them first, I’m not absolutely certain. What is certain is that I had finished the last of the cabbage and Kapia peppers the week before, the cabbage Monday night and the peppers before and after that week’s run, so Tuesday and Wednesday night.


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