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I Did Plant (a Mere Handful of) Trees Again

I’ll start this post with Friday, when I woke up as dad was about to leave and then had to be here when the technicians came, a little later, to install the CI+ card in the new kitchen TV… And the one who actually did the work, after asking to use the bathroom, said that there should be 60 free to air digital channels, and some did play before the card was finally activated, which took quite a long time. So I also mentioned not being able to see any digital channels with the TV tuner that remains unused and that I had been told by their support people that all digital channels require a CI+ card, and even showed him the box, and he said that I should see those 60 channels with it… So maybe I should try again, but unless I’ll have some other reason to turn off the computer, I probably won’t, seeing as dad never did split the cable, to allow me to use both tuners at once, and when moving it from one to the other froze my computer before, I won’t do it again.

But the main point of this post is yesterday, when I did plant trees again after all, despite thinking that I won’t dare to do so again after losing the camera. I hoped to eat dinner earlier, but after talking to dad, looking for some things for him, finding room in the fridge for some more things that he had brought and partially cleaning up after him, it was just a couple of minutes before 1 AM when I finished shaving, and then I got ready for the morning and also sliced another one of his breads, so I ended up eating dinner between 3:10 AM and 3:45 AM, putting some of the old peanut butter on most of the slices of bread. I kept meaning to have some of the new one these days, especially since this one supposedly expires later than it despite being older, but it has been open for quite a long time and hardened, so I stuck to it. Otherwise, I put almonds in dark chocolate and the cereals in a bowl and placed it in the fridge, so in the morning I’ll just add some of the expiring kefir which I had picked up instead of yogurt. And, even though I was going to go in these house clothes, I did change into pajamas, to mark that it was a different day, and got in bed when it was past at 4:45 AM.
I got a little sleep before the alarm rang, at 5:45 AM, and I got up, leaving a few minutes before 7 AM, but the backpack was in my hand and I struggled to put it on, so it was exactly 7 AM when I actually walked away. I obviously had dad’s metro card, and was wearing the thick training suit that I wear inside, a t-shirt underneath, the hoodie, two pairs of socks, that thing that goes on my neck, pulled up to also cover my mouth and nose after getting in the metro station, and the better jacket. I did have a mask with me, but never put it on, since I didn’t see anyone else with one on the bus and didn’t see that much point in taking it out later, seeing as any damage was probably already done, since a few people coughed on the bus and I heard some talk about a child who was clearly sick. Either way, especially considering the weather, I really didn’t dare to take the new camera, so I took the old one. And I also took the regular shoes and new socks, since I wasn’t going to be able to change my clothes but would be able to at least change those after we’ll be done. And I also grabbed a bag of trash, which I dropped in a bin on the way to the metro station.
I should have jogged at least a little, since I didn’t and reached the platform some 30 seconds after the train had left, and then I waited a good eight minutes for the next one… Which also waited for one minute at Obor, so I was getting quite worried, since the e-mail had stated that the buses were going to leave at 7:30 AM. And at least one, if not two, were already on their way as I rushed to that parking lot from Victory Square, but I did get there right at 7:30 AM and more buses were waiting. So I looked around and a coordinator asked whether I was there for the planting, and when I confirmed she said that they were trying to get the buses going as they filled up and they had a few more places in the one behind her, so I should enter it, which I did. And she noticed my hat and pointed it out, announcing quite loudly that it’s how you see someone who goes to their plantings many times. Either way, the bus left a little after 7:35 AM, with a few seats still free, including the one next to mine, fortunately.

But Carrefour’s campaign is still ongoing, the last day being tomorrow, so this post was basically only a placeholder at first, seeing as I only managed to get this far before midnight. But finally managed to finish it in the early hours of Friday, just before going to bed, so that was when I added the rest of it… Only to then realize that I hadn’t included exactly what I received from Carrefour, so I made one more edit, Saturday afternoon, in order to add that as well.

A trip that lasted just under two hours might have been a good time to finally read something again, but I didn’t risk taking a book when it was going to rain, and after a while I started feeling carsick even without trying to read. The fact that I had that thing pulled up to cover my mouth and nose and also tried to rest, with my eyes closed and my head on my arm, sort of leaning against the window, probably had something to do with that, however, so after a while I started pulling that thing down and also tried to look in the distance more, the nausea eventually going away after I pretty much gave up on resting and also kept that thing mostly down. Otherwise, I wrote my name and signed when the list reached me, and that was pretty much the only thing that happened during the trip.
We got there a few minutes after 9:30 AM and seeing the number of buses and people who were already there made me quickly take the first of the pictures I took that day. Then I went to the tent where the kits for volunteers were being handed out and placed myself in what seemed to be the line, but after a while one of the organizers said that those who had already filled the form should take the kits directly, so the line was actually for filling the forms, which explained why it was moving so slowly. So I then received the gloves, apron and bottle and moved on to also get tea, biscuits and a banana, staying there until my turn came even though by then there were repeated calls to gather for the speech. Then I drank the tea and ate the banana and biscuits during the speech, and after it I went back to the tents, to also receive the rain poncho, since the announced rain started during the speech, and also for a cup of apple juice and another pack of biscuits, since there didn’t seem to be any sandwiches or anything else. I’m pretty sure that I also put on the gloves during the speech, wearing the ones offered there over a pair of latex gloves which I had taken with me, but I took them off and then put them back on at least once, and probably twice, before getting to work, since the apron was easy, but then I struggled for several minutes to put on that poncho, and then, either before or after eating that second pack of biscuits, I also went to pee, which was not easy when I had to get past the poncho, apron, jacket, hoodie and shirt to untie my pants and then tie them again.
Add the fact that the old camera kept telling me to change the batteries even though they were new, so taking a few more pictures took way more time than it should have, and it was a few minutes after 10:30 PM when I’d have finally started working. And I guess I could have tried, since the first area that the volunteers were assigned to had the holes already dug, but I nevertheless wanted a spade and by then they had been taken by others, so I had to look around and when I spotted some tools at the other end of the area I just rushed there and grabbed one without having a good look, realizing only when I was just about to start planting the first sapling that I had actually picked up something that was more like a shovel. So I took that back and looked around some more, until I spotted a couple of spades that didn’t seem to be used and grabbed one after asking the people who were working close to them whether they were theirs and being told that they weren’t.
All of that took some ten more minutes, so it was almost 10:45 AM when I finally got to work, and by then saplings had already been planted in many of those holes that were already dug, so after planting six it seemed that I had to move away from that area and start digging. It is possible that some more holes were left, maybe closer to the top of the hill, but I had moved around a little in order to find even those six and had lost way too much time earlier, so I didn’t wander around to search, wanting to actually get some work done. So I moved just past the limit of that area, digging the holes and planting two saplings.
When I decided to move, my intention had been to plant at least six more saplings before even thinking about a break, so I won’t end up with more saplings planted in holes that were already dug, especially when the total was clearly going to be embarrassingly low. However, after those two, I was honestly about to give up. The cold was manageable, and either the rain or the wind might have been as well, but put it all together, along with the mud that I was getting covered in and the slope that was increasingly slippery, and I just couldn’t handle it anymore. And many others had walked away as well. I’m inclined to say that the area assigned to schools was pretty much empty, though I’m not entirely certain, and I couldn’t see the area assigned to military personnel, which was on the other side of the hill, but there were far fewer people in the area assigned to employees of the companies that took part, apparently with the exception of one that had given up on the idea entirely because of the weather, and the one assigned to volunteers was pretty much emptying. In fact, the few others who were also planting in that area when I had moved there had left by the time I planted those two saplings, and the one guy who came next to me seemed to quickly give up on the idea, asking whether I thought that I had any chance and briefly trying to give me a hand when I struggled to find a way to keep that rain poncho from being blown by the wind in ways that made it even harder to work, then standing around a little and eventually walking away.
What allowed me to continue was seeing someone who had the apron over the poncho and realizing that it was the way to do it. Removing both and putting them back on took a while, especially since I initially tried to put them over the backpack, to continue to protect it from the rain, but the apron wasn’t going to fit, so I had to give up and put the backpack back on after the poncho and apron. I’m quite sure that all of that still took me less than it had taken me to put that poncho on the first time, however, and after doing so I knew that I could work a little longer. But I had already taken a break, so I extended it a little and climbed the hill in order to take a few more pictures, also checking the time at that point and seeing that it was 11:50 AM, before going back down and planting two more saplings, by which point another man was next to me and we exchanged a few words. The fact that he greeted me in a manner that sounded stiff and formal as soon as he got there and then maintained that manner of speech made me wonder whether he wasn’t part of the military personnel, though he wasn’t in uniform. Either way, I mentioned that people seemed to have cleared away and he said that lunch was supposed to be served later but most were there and some had even left already, and advised me to go to the other end of that area if I wanted to continue, because it was easier to dig there. So, after having a look at the buckets of saplings and wondering whether to move them and keep going down, as I had done for those four saplings, or start going left, I decided to do neither and follow his advice instead, planting two more saplings at the other end of that area.
The event was called “Plant Fest” and it had been presented as something of a festival, with music, good food, even beer, and despite the conditions a DJ had tried to be cheerful and energetic for a while, so when things went quiet, it should have been a clear sign, but I focused on what I was doing and didn’t really pay attention until the coordinator came and announced that those of us who were still working had to stop and help bring the tools that were left in the area to the road. It was 12:30 PM at that point and I was just finishing planting that second sapling from that spot, so the sixth that I planted while also digging the hole, and the 12th in total. It was embarrassingly little for a day of planting, but when someone else said that they wanted to keep working, the coordinator said that those who came by bus had to leave soon, so I had to stop, just grabbing a few discarded spades on my way down and dropping them on the side of the road, along with mine.
After throwing the gloves, including those latex ones, next to the toilets, where I saw others as well, I peed again and washed my hands as well as I could, which wasn’t too well, seeing as I had to use one of those portable things. However, I then saw water being released from a tanker truck and people using it to try to get the worst of the mud off themselves, so I washed my hands a little more with it, and also briefly tried to at least get some of the mud off the jacket’s sleeves, only later wondering whether that water was meant to be used to fill those portable things or had already been used, possibly in even worse ways. But what was done was done, so I took my place in the line for lunch, which was apparently only supposed to be a hamburger. Whether that had been the plan all along or the plans for a proper lunch had to be scrapped, I don’t know, but what was clear was that the tables, benches and possible tents where people should have had lunch had been taken away by then, obviously because of the conditions. On the other hand, beer was actually being offered in another place, and some were actually having some, which I found quite baffling, considering the cold and rain. Even the women who were in front of me took some, and when one of them had a look at me she said that she thought that she was full of mud, but she can’t even compare to me, and that it showed who had really worked. I didn’t say much, feeling that I hadn’t done much at all, but did have another look at myself and saw how full of mud I was all over.
I already felt too dirty to eat, and that made the feeling even worse, so I hoped that they’ll at least have some disinfectant at the lunch tent, while those who were behind me were saying that they hoped they’ll at least have paper towels, because they saw others just hold their burgers and they’d rather not. However, once I advanced enough to be able to look, I saw nothing of the sort, so I took out the paper handkerchiefs which I had taken with me and used a couple of them to wipe my hands a little, since it was all that I could do at that point. And then I held my hands over an empty grill while waiting, to warm up a little… The problem being that the wait was caused by the fact that they were out of bread, those who were there saying that there had been more people than they thought, even though after the event the organizers stated that about 2300 people had confirmed their participation, but only some 1360 actually came, which was hardly surprising, considering that weather. Either way, while it was said that they had sent for more bread, the solution eventually was to just give the rest of us the patty and cheese, possibly more of each, without bread, so I just took two of those “breadless burgers”. I went to the other table before eating them, finally seeing paper towels there and wiping my hands again, but there seemed to be a muddy smudge on one of the pieces already, and I felt a pretty bad taste.
They still had boxes of biscuits at that other table and were trying to get rid of them, asking people to take them, so I did take one when it was handed to me, albeit after asking for confirmation that I was really being given a whole box, not that it was the first time that happened. Then I finally got rid of the soiled apron and rain poncho, throwing them in one of the garbage bags, along with many others, and got another cup of apple juice before rushing away, already being among the last ones left. And I peed again after that, seeing some more toilets on the way to the buses and knowing that the ride back would have been impossible otherwise, after that cold. But that meant that I lost even more time and I’m not sure that any volunteers were still behind me by the time I was done, though a few girls were just ahead of me and searching for a bus, and they asked one of the organizers who passed by and he told them to ask the driver of the bus that was just pulling up in that area, but also assured them that nobody’ll be left behind, even if it meant taking us in their own cars. So I asked them whether we were the last ones and they said that they thought so, and then we walked to that bus, but as soon as he noticed us the driver said that he’ll be there for another hour or so and that we should try the other bus that was already at the road, though the girls had said that they had already tried that one and had been told to go back. However, at that point I spotted the bus that I had been on pulling up as well and rushed to it, the driver asking which bus I had arrived on and muttering that we were there while he had been told to wait somewhere else when I said that I had been on that one.
Actually getting in that bus took a little longer, since the driver said that he won’t have us in it as we were, so we had to use the middle door and put on the disposable shoe covers that were available there. Now, I had taken bags with me that I meant to use for that purpose, but I hadn’t used them, realizing that it’d have been completely impossible to keep my footing with them, and I had also taken the regular shoes, but I couldn’t change into them outside, in the mud, so I did as I was told, sitting on the stairs of the bus and putting on those covers while a guy who was already inside held my backpack… And the moment I stood back up, my pants fell down, obviously because I hadn’t tied them properly after peeing that last time. That guy commented that they held just long enough and I quickly pulled them back up, but I guess everyone got a look at my underwear, so I kept my eyes down and took a seat, relieved that the bus was emptier than it had been on the way there, and once again nobody sat next to me.
I was on the bus at 1:15 PM and a few minutes later it drove away. Then I took out the regular shoes and changed into them, putting the soiled ones in the bag they had been in. I also took out the “shopping backpack” and the garbage bag which I had also taken with me, stuffing the garbage bag in one of the jacket’s pockets and putting the soiled shoes and the regular backpack into the large one. And then I did my best to hold down the food, the nausea being worse than it had been on the way there and the taste left in my mouth after that “lunch” which had probably been “spiced” with some mud and who knows what else being quite foul. But I did manage it, and also didn’t need to pee again, though others did, so the driver stopped for a while at a gas station. And after we entered Bucharest we slowed to a crawl because of traffic, so I meant to get off at a metro station, but while I saw others getting ready and eventually getting off, I didn’t even ask where we were, being certain that we hadn’t yet arrived at the metro station that I had noticed we had passed by when we left. However, when a couple more people got ready to leave at a later point, I asked one of them whether they were getting off at that metro station… Only to be told that we had passed it, and he said that he was going to get off later than the woman who was ahead of him, so he let me go ahead and I got off with her, asking where we were and saying that I just wanted to get to a metro station, so she told me to come with her and took me to one, though she then continued walking past it. I still didn’t put on the mask, however, just keeping that thing pulled up.

Carrefour’s campaign had moved to Vulcan that day, so that was my next destination, but I first needed some recyclables, since I obviously hadn’t taken them with me. And I was picky, just taking those that weren’t only in easy reach, clean and in the proper shape, but also small, so they’ll all easily fit into that garbage bag. I also avoided glass bottles, not wanting to add to the weight either. So, after glancing through some recycling bins in the metro stations and grabbing what I could after returning to the surface, I thought that I was still a little short when I approached that shopping center, so I made an exception and took a rather dirty plastic bottle that was behind a car.
Despite having a look through a part of the parking lot, I didn’t spot any more recyclables there, so when I entered I thought that I had exactly 20, but those included two of those that would grant two products, and I didn’t want to use them unless something really interesting was available, and when I had a look as I passed by that spot, I didn’t see anything of the sort. So I first went to the bathroom, and after peeing I tried to count what I had, seeming to come to that same number. Then I washed that bottle and thoroughly washed my hands, after which I walked back out and searched for more recyclables, being quite surprised that the area was so clean and, despite also looking under bushes and even reaching into garbage cans, I didn’t find any more before entering that Kaufland.
I put that bag in a cabinet, but entered the store with the backpack, and since I forgot about the 30% discount that applied to canned products those days and I didn’t find anything else to get, I walked out without buying anything… At which point the employee from the information desk called after me and asked to see the contents of the backpack, so I took it off and opened it, but instead of looking inside herself, she called over a security guard and said that he was going to “help” me. He was quite nice, however, only briefly having a look and, after I said that I looked like I did because I was coming straight from planting trees and that the shoes I had worn there were in the bag I had in the backpack, he quickly said that it was fine and he had seen me enter with that backpack. On the other hand, when I then had a look at that confectionery and picked up a coin I spotted on the floor, a man took my arm, gestured towards the pastries and asked whether I wanted something warm, probably assuming that I was homeless, which was hardly surprising. But I said that I didn’t and pulled away, then retrieved the bag, searched that area a little more and eventually decided to go to the other exit, spotting several more recyclables as soon as I approached it, so I picked up three, including a glass bottle, to be sure that I also had a spare.
Well, it would appear that I had miscounted, even when I actually tried to count what I had, in the bathroom, because once I returned to Carrefour and put in the 20 recyclables that I was allowed to put in on one day, I found myself left with six, so four if you exclude those two that I didn’t want to use that day, meaning that I had wasted probably up to an hour for no reason, since I already had enough when I reached that shopping center. Either way, I apologized for how I looked to the girl who was there while writing my name and phone number on the receipt, explaining that I was coming from planting trees. I got four potatoes, weighing 865 grams, four onions, weighing 623 grams, four cucumbers, weighing 215 grams, four apples from one crate, weighing 633 grams and probably being Idared, and four apples from another crate, weighing 491 grams and possibly being Gala or Fuji, which would be nice, but I’m not certain and I can confuse those with Jonaprince or sometimes even smaller Idareds or, less likely but not impossible, Jonathan. Either way, after putting what I received in the backpack, I was just looking for something that dad had told me to get when he called. Then I bought those things… And on my way out I saw that Bianca peppers and red onions had appeared among what could be taken in exchange for recyclables, so I had once again arrived a little too early. But that was that, so I made my way back to the metro.
I got back at 7:20 PM, after checking the garbage room and grabbing another one of those bottles, and also having a look in the garbage room from the floor above. Then, after washing, I washed the mud off those old shoes, seeing another tear as I did that, so I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to use them for any more such events. Then I made popcorn and watched the match, also taking a pill, just in case. And after that I weighed what I received and put those things in their place, washed and cleaned what I could in the kitchen, the place being a disaster after dad had fried fish and made mamaliga, and started eating dinner at 3:10 AM, finishing a little before 4 AM.

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