I had forgotten to check, but Monday I received an e-mail from Declic asking for volunteers to help that other NGO make packages again, in the same location. The first day was Tuesday, but after going out on Monday and coming back with 21 kg, albeit using the metro, it didn’t seem like a good idea to just get a few hours of sleep and then work in that manner the next day, so at night I filled the form and stated that I’ll be there Wednesday and Thursday, from 1 PM. But just as I was about to walk out the door Thursday I received an SMS, also from Declic, letting me know that they no longer needed volunteers, having finished, so this post will just be about Wednesday, when I even managed to get in bed a little before 4:30 AM, so I got a little more sleep before the alarm rang, at 10:30 AM. Then I rushed to clean what dad had left in the kitchen and got annoyed that he had left some goat milk with oats in the living room after getting back in the morning, and when he also woke up and said that the milk was sour, I told him that I’ll get myself something nice and ask him for the money that day, if he can afford to throw food away like that, especially since I had repeatedly reminded him about it.
Either way, I left at 12:05 PM and rushed, which seemed to be just about good enough even though I never jogged, since I was at that gate a couple of minutes after 1 PM, and that was after going the long way around, as you’re apparently supposed to, without even attempting to use that other route again, and also being stopped by the guard at that entrance and asked for my ID card, which had never happened before, so I didn’t even have my ID card with me and it’s a good thing that I quite recently managed to finally learn my ID card number as well, since he then asked for my name and ID series and number. However, that brief delay was followed be a longer one, since when I reached that gate I didn’t see anyone in that large warehouse where the packages used to be put together, so I went to the guard at the barrier, waited for him to finish with the other people who were there for other reasons, then asked him where to go and he came to show me, and also called Anastasia to ask her to open the gate. He had initially asked me to do so, but I told him that I didn’t have active credit, so he did it, even though simply shouting might have been enough, since the entrance to the warehouse that was used that day was right next to the fence, on the left. And the few others whom I had seen while trying to work up the courage to go to that guard were in front of that gate at that point as well, so we walked in together, at 1:10 PM.
Those others seemed to be a first group from another NGO, and the explanations Anastasia gave as we gathered around her were mostly for them, since as soon as she saw me she said that I work well and should help those making the packages for old people, while those from that NGO were to help with those that were going to be sent to Ukraine. However, after they went to work and I asked her to confirm that I should go to that other area of the warehouse, she changed her mind and told me to help those who were putting a part of the goods for Ukraine into bags, repeating that I work well, though I said that I wasn’t so sure about that… And I was even less certain after the guy whom I was supposed to help told me what to do, since he went through the process too quickly, the lists stuck to the walls were incomplete, and his method also struck me as more likely to lead to mistakes than the one he mentioned in passing was used by the woman who was doing the same thing.
Maybe I didn’t exactly leave a good impression when, after putting together a first bag while just following and copying him, I went to the table with things to drink and munch on, getting a tea in a small cup, since I couldn’t see any unused large ones left, a few small pretzels and a couple of biscuits, but after that I did mean to get to work… Only to prick a finger with a cutter almost right away, since I first wanted to cut open some boxes. And, while I initially wanted to continue, when I saw that I was bleeding I asked where I could wash and was told that disinfectant and band aids were also on that table, so I went back there, actually found them on a box, used them and then could finally start to actually work. I’d have wanted some latex gloves, especially after that problem, but I only saw a few used and discarded ones, so I just continued like that.
Well, when I say that I continued, I mean that I continued working, but not that I actually did what Anastasia had told me to do, since I think I was just on the second bag that I was putting together on my own, obviously still hesitating and checking everything repeatedly, to make sure that I wasn’t making mistakes while trying to find a rhythm, when that guy pointed out that the sugar had to be placed in a plastic bag first, in case the paper one would tear, and the ones which had already been bagged were about to finish, so he asked whether I could do that instead, since he had found his rhythm and didn’t want to have to keep breaking it for that. And that was actually a relief, since it took the responsibility of putting the correct number of each product into the bags off my shoulders, so I pretty much stayed there and bagged sugar, occasionally rushing to open some boxes or packages when I saw that it was needed, so the others won’t need to break their rhythm in order to do so… Even though that woman who was also putting products into those bags took away the cutter as soon as she saw me using it again, saying that she didn’t want me to cut myself again, so I just used my keys and hands, even if it took a little longer.
The problem was that two more groups from that NGO also arrived, and there were far too many people for me, and they were talking and moving too much and I found myself about to cry and shaking for reasons other than the cold. Soon enough it was bad enough that I was thinking to say that I had to go, or at least to take a break and find a place to hide and try to calm down a little, but what was obviously a very bad thing for what we had to do ended up being a good thing for me, since those newcomers seemed to have just rushed in with their own ideas about what should be done. One woman had attracted my attention as well, from the beginning, when she walked past me with a box with several pieces of each of the products while I was putting together those first couple of bags and said that they weren’t for taking when I reached in to take some, assuming that she was trying to create a few places to “resupply” more easily, and I later noticed that she was putting four times the required number of each product into a bag, obviously only being able to fit some of the products in there, and when I pointed that out she said that there were four boxes, even though putting the products into the boxes was a job that others had, and those of us from that side should just prepare the bag for them, so they’ll have the products from those categories for one box in one bag. By that point, people were saying that bags with the wrong products kept appearing, one brought back one bag and said that it was completely unusable, so I took a break from what I was doing to fix it, and eventually Anastasia asked those who were preparing the bags to stop and just leave that other woman to do it, while those on the other side were asked to stop moving the boxes, since they were cracking, and leave that to two guys.
It’s possible that the bag that I mentioned above was actually brought after I got back to work, but the announcement was made just when I was back at that table, having decided to take a break at 2:35 PM, so I reused the teabag, since I had set that small cup aside on top of a tall stack of boxes, to have another hot tea, that time in a large cup, after spotting a stack, munched on some more things and saw that some bananas had also appeared, so I had one of those as well. That break lasted for 15 minutes, during which time I was pretty much alone, so I calmed down to some extent, and holding that hot tea also helped my freezing hands… But the pizza was brought soon after I got back to work, so I finished what I was doing at the time, which might have been fixing that bag that I already mentioned, and at 3:05 PM I went back there, starting by somewhat hesitatingly taking one slice and ending up eating a total of eight, of various kinds. Put together, I think that meant two thirds of a pizza, though there is a chance that it actually meant one whole pizza. And I munched on some more sweets as well, and also had another large tea, though it was mostly hot water, since I yet again reused that teabag, only throwing it away after that. I was feeling rather bad for eating so much, and the fact that many others were crowded in that area definitely wasn’t helping, but I also felt that I had done my part, possibly even more so because I had done the tedious sort of work that others didn’t really care to do, and I was going to keep doing that, while plenty of the others had messed things up, and they were also leaving right after lunch. I actually heard someone comment that they came, ate and left, but I found myself thinking that it’d have been better if that’d have been all they did.
Either way, I got back to work at 3:25 PM and even though, at one point, that guy who had asked me to bag the sugar asked whether I wanted him to replace me for a while, in case I had gotten bored, I said that I didn’t and continued to bag the sugar and occasionally open boxes or packs until 4:35 PM, when I went to pee. An older man who had arrived later and ended up putting products into those bags asked about a toilet and Anastasia said that she’ll take him there because she also had to go, and she had an injured leg and was in a wheelchair, so she broke any awkwardness by asking him whether he’ll go with her to the bathroom in an amusing voice. Someone else asked how was she going to climb the stairs, but she said that there was another bathroom and will use her crutches, so I said that I had to go as well, took her crutches, since that man was pushing the wheelchair, and went with them, learning where what Anastasia said was the bathroom for truck drivers was, since that didn’t require climbing stairs. However, since she had left the remote for the gate with someone else, when we came back that man told me to shout at them to open the gate as he pushed her to it, which caused my anxiety to spike once again and I had to try several times until someone finally heard me, by which point I was feeling really embarrassed, that man had shouted at me to be louder more than once and had just started to walk towards me, and I think that Anastasia was about to call as well.
It was 4:50 PM when I got back to work one more time, after munching a few more sweets and having another tea, using a new teabag but finding that the water was just lukewarm, so it didn’t exactly help after the wind had made me freeze even worse while I was outside. Maybe that was one reason why I moved around a little more, paying more attention to the boxes and packs that needed to be opened and, eventually, also keeping an eye on what products were running out, so there was a moment when someone pointed out that more sugar will need to be bagged soon and I rushed back there… And ended up bagging much more than necessary, since multiple other products were running out and at 5:50 PM we were told to stop, at which point I started cleaning. After a little while I took another break, having another tea, using the same teabag and once again with lukewarm water, eating the last remaining banana and munching on some more sweets, in fact only leaving one or two biscuits in the box and one wafer in the pack that was opened, but then I continued to gather boxes and bags and discarded pieces until it seemed that nothing was left.
At that point, I asked Anastasia how much was still left to do and, after asking someone else how much had been loaded on the truck, she said that we should both count what was still there… And I ended up making it harder for her instead of helping, since I only understood what I should have actually counted after she moved on to the bags, so at first I was saying different numbers and she had to count the boxes again. But the conclusion was that only four bags still had to be filled, though the other question was how many of the others were incomplete and we also talked a little about which products had finished earlier and which were still available in large quantities. I only later realized that I never asked about the other packages, for old people, but since she didn’t say that she won’t need me to come again the next day, I assumed that there was still plenty of work to do.
I can’t really be sure, but at that moment it seemed that a woman who had arrived late was the only other actual volunteer who was still there, the others being from the NGO, plus a couple of Romstal employees who were taking away the recyclables. And when that woman said that she was going to leave and will take the bus, one of the employees offered to take her there and I went with them, leaving that warehouse just before 6:40 PM. But I assumed that the guy was going to drive us to the road, yet he just walked with us to a gate, which was closed at the time but which the guard opened for us, then pointed to the bus stop and walked back. And we had left that warehouse through the other exit, being taken to another gate and another road, so I had no idea where we were and it was rather fortunate that she had to take the bus in the other direction, so she needed the station that was on the other side of the road and said that she didn’t want to wait in the dark, so we kept walking together, looking for the next stop, and ended up at the road that I knew.
What I managed to post before midnight ended before the first break, and in fact even the end of that paragraph was added a couple of minutes later, with the paragraph about that first break and lunch, along with a couple of additions to what I had already posted, being added before I went to bed in the morning. That left a lot to add at a later time, but at least I finally managed to do so Thursday evening.
To continue, I reached Auchan at 7:10 PM, only finally putting on the mask which I had taken with me after going to the bathroom, then getting a few things for dad and having no problems with the self-checkout. And on the way back I also went to Carrefour, buying a bio (organic) “Greek” yogurt, which was what I had in mind when I had told dad that I was going to get myself something nice if he could afford to throw food away in that manner, and also some peanuts.
I got back at 8:50 PM, cleaned what was in the kitchen and removed the bad parts from a pretty spoiled quince for dad, ate the peanuts, and eventually went to the toilet and washed. I came out of the bathroom around 12:30 AM, but then I took it easy and ended up starting to eat dinner just after 3 AM, though I still finished at 3:40 AM.
In between, however, dad pissed me off even more. I had seen a t-shirt that looked like my good ones, which I’m yet to wear, in the living room while talking to him that evening, saying at that point that I also had t-shirts that looked like that, but moving on… Until I realized that the clothes hanger that it was on was the one that my t-shirts were on, checked the wardrobe before going to the bathroom and saw that they weren’t there. And when I asked, he said that he thought that they were my mother’s, and he had taken some clothes to her the previous day… And he had worn one of those t-shirts! And then he just said that it’s what happens if we don’t talk about clothes… Not that he ever remembers which are mine, regardless of how many times I tell him, but when I pointed that out he said that if I keep reminding him then there’s a chance that someday he’ll remember, while if I don’t, there’s none. But, in that particular case, he was looking for the clothes that mother had asked for before I went to wash two days earlier, I helped him look for something, he was still going through clothes when I came out of the bathroom, taking pictures and showing them to mother, to make sure that those were the ones she was asking for, but he never mentioned t-shirts to either of us, since if he’d have told her about them, she’d have told him that they weren’t hers… But then he apparently just decided to wear a t-shirt that he supposedly thought was hers when he went to her, didn’t tell her about it, didn’t show it to her, didn’t leave it there for her, but just came back with it on and then threw it in a pile, never mentioning it to anyone! And when I asked him, after coming out of the bathroom, to explain the mental process that led to that behavior, he cheerfully said that it just proves that he didn’t think, just acted on impulse, as he usually does.