In the early hours of the previous day, I took a late shower, so I got to the kitchen just after 1:20 AM and then also sliced a bread for dad, so I only started to eat dinner at 3:10 AM and finished at 3:50 AM. However, last morning it wasn’t even 4:10 AM when I got in bed, after eating early. Then I got up at 8 AM, when the alarm rang, since this time around they offered transportation for both groups, so I obviously chose the one leaving at 10 AM, to get two more hours of sleep. Not that I didn’t cut it really close even then, only managing to leave just after 9:30 AM even though I had done just about as much as I could to get ready before going to bed, so I jogged to the metro station… Only to see the metro just stopping when I got there, and I needed to buy one trip, so I was certain that I’ll miss it, becoming even more so when I first tried to use the machine and saw that it didn’t offer single trips. However, after buying that trip from the cashier, I saw that the metro was still waiting, so I rushed down the stairs and actually made it before the doors closed, so I’m not sure why it waited so long, but I’m glad it did, because that meant that I reached Victory Square right at 9:50 AM, which was when we had been told to arrive.
The buses were scheduled to leave at 10 AM, but the driver of the one I entered was apparently in a hurry. He was outside when I got there and confirmed it when another volunteer asked whether those were the buses for those who were going to plant trees, so I went in, saw someone who seemed to be a coordinator, asked her whether we were split into groups, got told that we weren’t and could get on any bus, took a seat… Only to notice when I looked outside that the coordinator had left the bus, and a moment later that the driver was closing the doors and leaving, even though 10 AM was several minutes away and I only counted 17 people on, so about a third of what the bus could take. I later noticed that the 17 were the adults, two small boys also being there, and when everyone got off I saw that two even smaller girls had also been on that bus, but that still only makes for a total of 21. And I also noticed that only one other person was wearing a mask, and actually that moments later she seemed to have given in to peer pressure as well, since she didn’t seem to be wearing it anymore after someone else said that she can’t stand masks anymore. Since she was sitting a few seats in front of me, I’m not actually certain of that, but that’s what it seemed like when I looked. But I kept mine on, nobody sat next to me, and I just put on the headphones and listened to the radio, filling in the form when it was passed to me.
We were there pretty much exactly one hour after leaving, but backing up through the gate and into the area that the buses were supposed to park in took a while, so we were only getting off the bus a couple of minutes before 11 AM. Then I took off my mask as well and went to get the kit, which only consisted of the gloves and bottle, which was filled with water. Vests and aprons were also on that table, but they were probably only for the employees of the companies sponsoring the event, since when I asked whether I was supposed to take one of each of those as well, I was told that I shouldn’t take either. But tea, coffee, biscuits and juice were offered at the next table, so I put the bottle I had received in the backpack and pulled out the one I had taken with me just for this purpose, but when I tried to ask for the hot water to be put in that one, the person who was there said that I’ll get burned and wouldn’t do it, so I still had to take a disposable cup for the tea that I drank. And, while I only ate one of them then, I also grabbed two packs of biscuits at that point and another one a little later, when I also got some juice, that time using my bottle, even though I could only get a relatively small quantity out of that box, despite struggling with it until I felt that I had blocked that spot for far too long.
The speech of the president of the NGO organizing the event started at 11:35 AM and, after being asked to wait for a moment longer, apparently because they needed to move some of the cars, a little before 11:50 AM we started walking towards the area where we were going to plant, which was the farthest one, the others having been assigned to those who had arrived earlier. But that also meant that before getting there we passed by the other spot where drinks and biscuits were offered, so I grabbed another pack of biscuits. Unfortunately, I couldn’t also get a spade. We had been told that finding enough spades was going to be a problem at first, since they were being used by those who had arrived earlier, so if we’ll see any on the way to our area, we should grab it, limiting ourselves to a single one for each team of two or three, but since I stopped to try to take a few more pictures, many others were ahead of me and I couldn’t see any that were left.
Either way, the training speech started a couple of minutes before noon, and after that we could start working… My problem being that, without a spade, I obviously couldn’t do anything on my own, so I had to look for a teammate with a spade. And I spotted a guy who had one and struck me as waiting to be approached by someone in order to form a team, so after exchanging a few looks with him and hesitating for a moment longer, I asked whether he was alone… Only for him to say that he was there with a friend and was waiting for him, so I initially said that in that case I’ll look for someone else, but he said that we could make a team of three and introduced himself, then also introduced his friend when he joined us.
Once we got to work, in a spot picked by the first guy while the other two of us grabbed some saplings, it seemed that the ground was rather hard to dig, and when the second guy also seemed to want to press the ground when we were refilling the holes, I feared that I’ll be rather left out, with little to do, and when the second guy went to get water and biscuits I awkwardly mentioned to the first one that I won’t really be able to dig. But after the second guy got back, they took a break, even though we had only planted a few trees, and I took the opportunity to at least try, ending up needing probably about as much time as that first guy had needed to dig those first few holes to dig one, which was probably also smaller than any of his had been, and even managing that was in part thanks to the advice he gave me after noticing that I was struggling. And they also had milk and they both asked whether I wanted any, and also repeatedly offered some of the water and biscuits which the second guy had brought, but I kept refusing… Until that first guy just handed me a pack with one last biscuit left after I finished with that tree, and I couldn’t get myself to refuse again, so I ate that one. And we also talked a little around that time, and after I told them which area I lived in the second guy said that he also lives nearby and offered to take me with him, since he had driven there, but I obviously refused, and in fact wouldn’t have wanted to be taken directly back here anyway.
After that, I took off my jacket and hoodie, returning to the spot where we had left our backpacks and somehow managing to stuff them in mine, and we continued, with the first guy doing most of the digging and the second one seeming to get less involved, so I was mainly responsible for planting and felt that I was doing something after all. And that was how we planted those first ten saplings which we had brought, and then I think the first guy brought another kind of saplings, which were much smaller, though it’s possible that I’m wrong and it was the second one who did that. Either way, those also had much smaller roots, so the holes could be much smaller, and we planted five of those until we reached the end of that row, then the first guy moved to another row… And found much softer ground, so he dug several holes without the other two of us managing to keep up, the fact that the second guy was calling me to press the ground while he held the sapling even while I was trying to plant another one not helping either.
We were still in that “stage” when I realized that it was becoming hard to keep track, so I stopped trying and I therefore have no idea how many trees I planted. And the two of them moved on to another row after a while and I was left to plant in the remaining holes dug by the first guy… And ended up planting in three others as well, noticing that they were much larger but just continuing, since they had obviously been left by someone who had decided to walk away. And I was still doing that when the first guy came to check up on me, confirming that those weren’t his holes when I asked.
I was a little wary of rejoining them after I was done with that area, because I noticed that they had joined two women and seemed to be getting along pretty nicely, so I didn’t want to get in the middle of anything that might have been happening… But I eventually did so, and that truly made it impossible to keep track, since there were five of us, with multiple spades, and the ground was softer, so any one of us could dig or plant, and there were probably holes left by others as well, and saplings already planted by others in the areas that we were moving to. Of course, I could have tried to keep track of how many holes I was digging and how many saplings I was planting, by myself or with one of them, but it was hard and I didn’t really see the point, so I just kept working, sometimes with them, sometimes more or less on my own.
After a while, the guys started saying that they were going to leave soon, not even seeming to want to wait for lunch, even when I mentioned it, and they reduced their involvement and, even though the second guy was the one who had seemed less involved and who had first started to talk about leaving early, it was the first guy who eventually just walked away, returning to the spot where we had started and just sitting next to the backpacks while the rest of us continued. And after that I also broke away from the other three more and more, looking for marks which had been missed by others and empty holes, and continuing to do so even after the other three decided to stop as well, the four of them walking away together. Since most of the others had also left by then and those from the NGO were starting to gather the equipment, I didn’t keep working for much longer, but I wanted to find enough missed marks or empty holes to plant the saplings which had been left by my teammates and managed to do so while slowly making my way to the edge of the area. I also spotted one more sapling while doing so, but didn’t immediately find a place where I could plant it and very few volunteers were left in that area by that point, so once I was done with the other ones, I decided to stop as well, grabbing some more discarded saplings and one large water bottle on the way back to the path.
It was a little after 3:05 PM when I left my spade and those saplings among the others, but since those from the NGO seemed to just be gathering their equipment in that area, I held on to the bottle, looking for some other garbage bags and eventually leaving it next to those that were piled up next to what had been that second spot where drinks and biscuits had been offered, which had otherwise been cleared away by then. I was still holding on to that bottle when I stopped in front of the toilets, however… And then decided to just keep going, not just not peeing, but deciding against even trying to wash my hands, since I remembered the drinking fountain from the park and planned to use it for that purpose before getting lunch, even telling those who were struggling with that portable thing about it.
This time around, while what I actually posted at first was written before midnight, I tried to finish one more paragraph and by the time I realized that I won’t be able to, it was just a little too late, so this post was initially posted seconds after midnight and then I edited the time, so it’ll still count as the week’s second post. And that means that I didn’t even get this far before midnight, the last two paragraphs above being added a little later. But, of course, there is a lot more to write about that day, so I just added one more paragraph Tuesday morning, before going to bed, with the rest of the following section being added in the early hours of Wednesday, to finish the part that actually has to do with the planting. Yes, that means that I added more to this post after posting the next one, but I couldn’t miss that moment… Either way, I finally added the last section Thursday morning, just before going to bed.
On the way back from the planting area, I saw Petruta seeming to struggle with one of the flags, so I asked whether she needed help and she said that she was trying to get it out, so I easily pulled it out of the ground before she explained that she was actually trying to get the flag off the pole and that we should try to pull together until something clicked. But she was holding it in a way that would have meant that she had to push, not pull, in order to move that catch down the pole, so I was again confused and tried to pull on the ends of the rope, to untie it, before she once again corrected me and we tried to push together… For just a moment, because I caught her finger and pressed it against that catch, making her yelp and quickly pull it away. So I quickly apologized and, finally understanding what I should have been doing, changed my position and tried to pull that catch. But by then she was already saying that she’ll call another guy and did so, which left me awkwardly asking whether they needed help with anything else and then walking away, feeling quite embarrassed.
Well, that embarrassment led to not washing my hands at all, because that drinking fountain wasn’t working, no water coming out, and I couldn’t get myself to go back, especially since there were toilets in that spot where I had so embarrassingly failed to help, so I’d have wanted to first check whether one of those portable things was there as well, since I hadn’t looked, and I’d have had to pass by that spot even if I’d have ended up going to the one that was on the way to the planting area. Yes, my hands weren’t nearly as dirty as they might have been, since I had been wearing a pair of latex gloves under the gardening gloves provided by the organizers, but they were obviously still dirty, and I hadn’t cleaned them in any way before taking another tea, and actually grabbing the teabag directly, only noticing after the fact that it wasn’t one of those protected by a paper bag. Either way, I also grabbed two more packs of biscuits and an apple, since a box of apples had also appeared on that table, ate one of the packs of biscuits, finally cleaned my hands to some extent with the disinfectant that was in front of those who were offering lunch and a napkin and got lunch, asking for half of one when the guy asked whether I wanted an entire loaf of bread. And the picture that I took of that lunch, which I started eating at 3:30 PM, after finding an empty table. was the last one of those I took that day.
While I was eating, a guy with two professional cameras and a laptop sat next to me… And a little later Petruta came to talk to him, which made me feel even more embarrassed and I kept my eyes down and tried to avoid even looking at her even after I got up, after those who had arrived by bus in the second “round” were called while I was scraping off the last of the food. But I did take a moment to use the grass and the table legs to scrape the worst of the dirt off my shoes, and then also went to the table with the refreshments one more time, seeing that one last apple remained, asking whether I could take it and doing so after the woman who was there confirmed… And then she also handed me an entire box of biscuits, containing six packs, which made me thank her awkwardly and then rush away, once again feeling embarrassed, even if I pretty much expected it, since while I was eating she had tried to clear what was left on that table and one of the organizers told her to leave everything there and give away entire boxes if people would have them, since she didn’t want to have to take anything back. I later noticed that the biscuits expire at the end of the month, but they’re biscuits, so I’ll be keeping them for a while, mainly to have before runs.
Carrying everything was a little tricky, but I had to hurry, so I managed it as well as I could as I made my way towards the buses, entering the farthest one after passing by a driver who was directing everyone towards it. It was 4 PM at that point and that bus was mostly full, but I found a seat and, maybe in part because I quickly started taking everything out of my backpack, keeping what I knew I was going to need and struggling to somehow stuff everything else in it, nobody sat next to me, that one being one of the few seats that remained empty when that bus left, just after 4:05 PM. And I eventually did manage to get everything in the backpack, since I took the jacket out of it and put it on… Or at least I’m pretty sure that I only put it on at that point and not earlier. Either way, it was only after I arranged my things that I put the mask back on, probably being the only one to do so, though I didn’t really try to look, not wanting to draw any more attention, and actually wanting to try to ignore the fact that I was still surrounded by people, because it had already been too much, especially considering that embarrassment, and I felt like crying and was even starting to shake. So I turned on the radio again and stared out the window almost all the way back, even if said window was dirty.
A little after 5:10 PM, we were dropped off back at Victory Square, and right at one of the entrances to the metro station, not in the parking lot. And that was somewhat useful even if I wasn’t going to take the metro again, since I had a raised surface to place my things on while I took the hoodie back out of the backpack and put it on again, under the jacket, and then arranged everything else a little better as well. And a little later I stopped one more time, to sit down and try to get as much of the dirt as I could out of my shoes and socks. And yes, I did wear the old shoes again, after putting some sticky tape on the inside of the right one, in that spot where there’s a cut that goes all the way through the bottom, caused by using the shovel at previous planting events.
It was pretty much exactly one hour after stepping off the bus when I reached the Penny from Obor, putting the backpack in a cabinet, getting what I wanted and then retrieving the backpack and taking quite some time to arrange everything again, taking everything out of the backpack in order to put two of the four bottles of water which I had purchased for dad in it, with the other two in the sturdier bag and everything else thrown in a smaller bag, and then stopping once again after walking out, to place everything on a bench and actually arrange what I had in that smaller bag.
The problem I had at that point was that I really needed to go to the toilet, and not just because I hadn’t peed since leaving, in the morning, and I actually had the feeling that the lunch hadn’t agreed that well with me either, plus that those biscuits have a moderately high fiber content and I had eaten nine, so 125 grams. But I just meant to pee at first, hoping that it would also help with the other part of the problem to some extent… And this is where my mind is playing tricks, because I made a note that I went to the toilet when I got to that mall, before entering Carrefour, yet I have absolutely no memory of doing that and quite clearly recall going when I got to Kaufland, after putting the smaller bag and the two bottles from the other one in a cabinet. It does seem quite unlikely that I remember better now than I did when I made that note, even if that probably was after exiting Carrefour, and there’s also the fact that I usually go when I get to Kaufland, at least to wash my hands, and I definitely also finally washed my hands, and also face, at that time, so it’s possible that mental images from different days get mixed up in my mind, but I still don’t recall going to the bathroom from that mall at all that evening. Not that it matters.
Either way, I entered Kaufland with the backpack with the other two bottles and just got one more thing for dad, having no problems with the self-checkout, then I retrieved my things from the cabinet and put them back in one before entering Carrefour, though I’m not entirely certain that I put the backpack in that one either. Also, if I did go to the toilet in that mall it’d have made sense to leave my things in a cabinet first, but I can’t recall anything about that either. But what’s clear is that I was going to Carrefour for a sandwich maker that was discounted by 50%, and pretty cheap to begin with, since I had asked dad whether he wanted something like that and he said that he did, so after not finding it among the others I asked an employee and he pointed me to another spot, where I found three left. One of the boxes was opened, so I could have a look, and all of them were red and I’d have preferred one of the blue ones, but I didn’t want to risk going to another location and finding that they were completely out, so I grabbed one of the two unopened boxes, also used the voucher which I had received for some purchases made over a week earlier at the self-checkout, and then went to the information desk to ask whether I needed to do anything in order to receive a warranty certificate or some other documentation, being told that I just had to keep the receipt.
After once again taking my time to arrange everything, somehow stuffing a third bottle, and also those two apples, in the backpack and trying to balance the weight of the bags to some extent, I left that mall a little after 7:50 PM… By which time the other problem was awfully pressing and I really wasn’t sure what to do. I had considered going to the toilet there, but thought that I could still hold it for a while longer, albeit with difficulty, the question being whether I should come straight back here or continue as planned, to Mega Mall and the Kaufland that’s next to it. And, after hesitating for a while, I decided that I was going to continue after all, one reason being that I was going to get there sooner, so if the situation was indeed desperate it’d be better than coming straight back here, and the toilets from the mall are reasonable, if I’ll really need to use one for that.
One problem with that idea was the route that I was going to use, since that road is a rather “dead” area that isn’t exactly meant for pedestrians, with places, mainly at the start and end, where the sidewalks are blocked by vehicles or even missing, cars possibly going at high speed, mostly industrial buildings, some of them probably no longer in use, mixed with empty areas… And some dogs. Probably not actual strays, but I remembered being barked at quite a lot before, from the yards of some of the few houses that are on it, and also thinking that there had been some dogs in the yards of some of the other places and that the fences had holes, so I walked on the other side… Only to end up passing by the open gate of what was probably one of the industrial buildings and having a dog not only bark, but rush towards me, so I quickly put a bag in front of me and kept my eyes on it while stepping away and it fortunately didn’t attack or chase, so after a few steps I could continue walking normally… Though, when I was barely holding it in as it was, I was a little surprised that I didn’t shit myself.
The fact that I didn’t cross where I should have crossed in order to get to that mall probably also shows how focused I was on that pressing matter, because I should know that area really well and yet found myself thinking that there was another crossing, right in front of it. And when I saw that there wasn’t, I didn’t want to turn back, so I ended up going all the way to the other crossing, which is past Kaufland, deciding to go there first… And staring in surprise at the hours listed on the large sign, which had changed and listed a closing time of 9 PM for all days. And it was about 8:30 PM at the time, so I rushed in and, since there was nobody at the information desk at that moment, looked for another employee to ask about the closing time… And only got even more confused when she replied that it was “now, at ten”. So I asked which was it, since 10 PM was an hour and a half away, and she said that they were changing the hours, and when I mentioned the large sign she said that in that case it means that they had already changed them. But she didn’t seem to know what she was talking about, as strange as that was, and fortunately someone was back at the information desk when I walked past it again, and she said that the store still closed at 10 PM, which was a relief, since it meant that I didn’t have to go in right then, and could leave my things in a cabinet and then rush to the mall and straight to the toilet, which was indeed quite clean. And there was no blood either, which was also a relief.
After finally taking care of that problem, I checked that Carrefour as well, grabbing two breads for dad and a cabbage, after taking my time to look through it and pick, since it didn’t look too good but had a really nice, and as far as I know unannounced, discount. And then I entered those breads as a single one at the self-checkout, so I won’t need to call an employee in order to get the evening discount, and also decided to pay 5 RON with my card, only covering the rest from the little cash I had left, since otherwise I’d have spent just about all of it, including the coins.
The actual reason why I had taken my card, however, was that I wanted to check that sports store, to see whether the shoes which I had tried on the previous week were still there, among the discounted products. So, after also having a quick look in another sports store, I went there, put the purchases in a cabinet after being told to do so by a guard, cabinets having probably just appeared there, and then I did find those shoes again, tried them on one more time and decided that I could get them. However, the fact that they hadn’t been purchased since then made me wonder what the problem was. True, the model was also discounted that week, the site listing a price that was only 10% higher than that of that discounted pair, so people probably preferred to not risk it, but I looked and didn’t see any left, so that pair was the only option and I started checking it thoroughly, despite being very much aware of the fact that both guards were keeping a close eye on me, one of them actually making a point of following me around… Which wasn’t surprising, seeing as, on top of those awfully worn shoes, I was also wearing the old training suit that I wear inside, with the pants being quite visibly sewn and patched. And the fact that I ended up not buying those shoes after all probably confirmed their suspicions, but I had actually spotted a problem just when the second guard came to tell me that they’ll be closing in ten minutes. It was a very small problem, a small spot where that green band, likely made of plastic, was a little loose, but I pointed it out to the guard and, though he tried to persuade me that the problem didn’t exist, asking whether I thought that they were selling Chinese knockoffs, I put them back, retrieved my things and walked away… At which point I also noticed that it was only 9:45 PM, so it’d have been about 20 minutes to closing when he warned me that only ten were left.
It still meant that I had very little time to also check Kaufland, however, so I rushed there, added the cabbage in the cabinet, washed my hands again, walked in with the breads and grabbed some pastries, the discount staying at 50%. But I had to pay for them by card as well, and I wanted to get the total to 5 RON, since I think that my bank’s ATMs only accept bills of at least 10 RON for deposits as well and I wanted to be able to cover the amount directly when I’ll go out again, so I looked around a little more, but when I didn’t find anything else to get I returned to the bakery area and realized that the price of another pastry that I could get was exactly what would be needed, so I grabbed one of those as well and rushed to the self-checkout, just getting to the machine when it was announced that the store had closed. Then I retrieved my things from the cabinet, took my time to arrange everything and finally got back here at 10:45 PM, having carried a total of just under 20 kg, most of it since Obor, since the purchases made from this Carrefour and Kaufland only weighed about 3.5 kg. And I hope I didn’t bring any spiders with me, since it was obviously full of them in the planting area, and what was more worrying was that I didn’t see them, just noticing that spiderwebs were appearing on and between the saplings almost as soon as they were planted.
After eventually eating a large bag of bagels that was already expired and drinking the protein milk received after the marathon, since I hadn’t made any tea that day and that was also just about to expire, so I had saved it just for that reason, it was almost 12:50 AM when I went to wash and 1:40 AM when I finished. But I obviously still had quite a lot to do, things to wash in the kitchen, things to put in their place, so I only started to eat dinner at 3:30 AM… And it was just when I got to my room with the food that I closed the window, which I had opened a few minutes after 2 AM, meaning to close it again after ten minutes, after having only kept it open for 20 minutes before leaving in the morning, but then forgetting all about it. Either way, I finished eating at 4:20 AM and only got in bed at 5:30 AM. And, since I already got to November 13, I’ll also mention here that in the afternoon I decided to grab and start playing The Stuff Fairy Tales Are Made Of, which I guess I should also add on MobyGames, eventually, probably if and when I’ll manage to finish it.