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Taking the New Camera for the First Time at a Tree Planting Event

After all of the effort made this week and with a tree planting event today, my plan for yesterday was to cook something, eat, and then get back in bed. But I also had to at least put my whites in the washing machine, since I had already skipped changing my undershirt and t-shirt, so I risked it, despite the obvious problems and even if dad wasn’t home… And the washing machine finally stopped, reporting that the drain was clogged, so I had to try to get the water out through that other drain, and the lack of something small enough to fit under it meant that I had to mop up a lot of water from the floor, since it was flowing around the tray that I was using. And while dad did eventually get back that evening, he worked last night, so he only helped a little before leaving again, and I had to take my clothes out and at least rinse them in the sink before hanging them to dry, while his were left soaked and in a pile, where they remain even now. And, before all of that, when dad called to let me know that he was coming back after all, my phone reported that it couldn’t register the SIM card again, probably just the second time since being replaced, the first being last February, working again after I turned it off and then back on. Either way, the situation with the washing machine meant that I only started cooking after dad left again and I had no chance to get back in bed in the evening. But at least I did stick to the dinner schedule, putting peanut butter on all of the slices of bread, also got ready for the morning, and did get in bed at 4:45 AM. On another note, there were no visits recorded that day either.

I’m not sure whether I was awake when the alarm rang, at 5:45 AM, or I had just fallen asleep again, but I know that I did catch a brief nap shortly after getting in bed, before waking up at least for a while. Either way, I then even did the day’s squats, ate an apple and the yogurt and cereals which I had mixed during the day, even if the yogurt had expired five days earlier, changed, and left at 6:50 AM, without a mask but with the new camera, which was in the cover which I had been able to pick up two days earlier. And dad had gotten back minutes earlier and he gave me the metro card, so I didn’t need to rush to the metro station and also took the time to pee and wash my hands at Victory Square station, still reaching that parking lot a little before 7:25 AM. Admittedly, we had been told that the buses were going to leave at 7:30 AM and we should be there ten minutes before that, but I was never worried… And what ended up happening showed that I should have slept, or at least stayed in bed, half an hour longer.
Many people were waiting around the single bus that was there at that point and I didn’t see anyone that I know as being from the NGO that organized the event, and one of those who were holding the sheets that needed to be filled with the names and signatures of those who were present did say that they were also just volunteers, but they had been assigned that task. And that NGO did make a call for volunteers recently, so if they had decided to use new people during such a major event, it was to be expected to have rough edges like that sheet of paper only circulating among those sitting in the front half of the bus, who seemed to mostly be children who were going with their teacher and some parents, then those children moving to another bus without passing on the paper, a volunteer coming to ask whether everyone had signed and saying that we should all sign after being told that the paper never got past the front of the bus, and yet the sheet somehow still not making its way to the rest of us. However, the real problem had to do with the buses, since somebody seemed to have messed up the scheduling, so I hopped on that bus after somebody said that only a few seats were left, took one of those seats… And was far from the only one to look on in confusion when it was past 7:40 AM when the other buses arrived, those children, with their teacher and their parents, moved to one of them, and those who had been waiting in the parking lot also queued to get on those buses, leaving a good part of ours suddenly empty. However, that volunteer who came to ask whether everyone had signed didn’t say anything else, so we kept waiting even when, a little after 7:50 AM, two of those other buses drove away. I mean, we were muttering that it wasn’t right that we had been the first ones in and others were leaving before us, but otherwise we just kept waiting.
That suddenly changed when the driver climbed on and asked whether about half of us would move to another bus… And said that he was going to be the last one to leave, apparently at 9:30 AM! That spurred us into motion, and obviously also led to some demanding to know why hadn’t he said that earlier. He said that he had, but it was clear that none of us who had been waiting on that bus had known about it until then, with the exception of that group, who had quite clearly followed the teacher’s instructions. But at least we quickly moved to another bus and finally left a little after 8 AM, and those sheets of paper were also passed around during the trip and everybody could fill them. A woman sat next to me, but she didn’t say as much as one word to me, so I was spared of that kind of awkwardness, and I didn’t feel carsick at all as I read two more chapters of The Bands of Mourning on the way.

Just like in November, this post ended up being little more than a placeholder at first, in order to have something as the week’s first post before midnight, and seeing as tomorrow I need to write another post, editing this one in order to actually write about the tree planting and the rest of the day is something to do over the following week. I did make a first edit Monday evening, but only to add the next two paragraphs, to at least also include the link to the pictures, plus a sentence that I added above. And Tuesday evening I added two more paragraphs, plus the link to the group picture. I finally added the rest of the part about the planting Thursday evening, but I only finished the post, adding the part about the rest of that day, Saturday evening.

It was a little after 9:15 AM when we arrived, and after taking the first of the pictures taken that day, I had a look at the “registration” table, but since it was placed separately from the others, the lines that formed were also separate, and at other such events only those who hadn’t filled in their names and signed while on the bus had to sign there, I asked whether that was still the case but didn’t really pay attention to the answer, just assuming that it was and standing around a little longer… Until the coordinator asked the volunteers who handled the registrations to try to speed things up in order to allow the participants to move on and be available for the speech, which made it pretty clear that everyone had to register at that table and I finally took my place in line. And the papers only had the names of the employees of the participating companies, so when my turn came I asked what should those who weren’t there with a company do and I was told to write my name and sign on one of the lists that didn’t have anything filled in, which I did.
The aprons were also at that table, but maybe they were just for the employees of those companies, since I wasn’t offered one. Not that I didn’t see other regular volunteers with aprons, so maybe I should have asked, or simply taken one directly, but I didn’t, moving on to the table with the kits and receiving the reusable bottle, filled with water, and a pair of gloves… But those gloves didn’t seem to protect from much of anything, not having that layer of latex or whatever it is, and I said so, especially since there were piles of better gloves on that table, at which point I was told to take one of those and I did, just grabbing a pair that was already taken out of the packaging. Then I also took a cup of tea and one of apple juice, using the same cup, a banana and two packs of biscuits, putting one of the packs of biscuits away and drinking and eating the rest. And it was past 9:45 AM when the speech started and almost 10:10 AM when, after the group picture was also taken, I reached the corner of the assigned area, which this time around was the nearest one, where the guy who seemed to be the coordinator for those who were going to work there gave the instructions.
Since the spades that were in easy reach had already been picked up, some of them even before the speeches, it took me a little while to find one that seemed available, the woman who was next to it already having one, so I asked whether it belonged to anyone and took it after she said that it wasn’t hers. However, that lost time meant that all of the rows seemed occupied by the time I could start working, so I searched for a little while and it was past 10:20 AM when I decided to go to a row that a woman seemed to be working on her own, just starting to dig the next hole, without saying anything… But she did, almost immediately asking whether we should alternate, with one planting one tree and the other one the next, and I readily agreed, since it meant that I could pretty much still work on my own. Then she introduced herself, though I pretty much immediately forgot the name, and we continued working. However, we didn’t actually do it on our own, since an older woman also joined, bringing the saplings and holding them as we filled the holes back in, so there were only a few trees that I actually planted on my own, when the two of them took a break and went to drink some water.
A slightly embarrassing moment was when, a little after I started working, that woman pointed out that my gloves were on backwards… And I was somehow certain that they weren’t, even trying to persuade her of it, but another volunteer glanced towards me and confirmed what she said, also telling me to look around and see how everyone else was wearing them, so I took them off and put them back on correctly, which took a little while, since I once again had a pair of latex gloves underneath them as well. And at a later point I had to take them off once more, when that woman asked me to take a picture of her and her phone’s touchscreen didn’t react if I tried to do so with the gloves on. And, since my gloves were already off, the older woman asked me to take a picture of her as well, which I did. On the other hand, a nicer moment was when the guy who was working on the next row found a lizard and I also managed to take a picture before he released it. And, later, I also spotted one, but it’s hard to see in the one picture that I have of it, since when I tried to zoom in I just couldn’t figure out whether I was aiming the camera towards it even if that woman tried to give me a little shade, so I ended up with a few nice, detailed shots of dirt and grass, containing just a part of the little lizard’s back and tail in a corner.
That happened on the second row that we worked, however, and that woman said that she counted 42 trees planted on the first one, but I’m quite sure that I dug fewer holes than she did, even if there were no rocks or thick roots and the ground was soft and had been turned over, so the only occasional problem was the grass that was underneath the top layer. Either way, we then started looking for a second row and at first glance it seemed that there were none left that others weren’t already working on, but she seemed to know the coordinator for that area and he took her to one which hadn’t been touched, the reason becoming immediately obvious, since it was just where the speaker was placed, so we quickly dug a few smaller holes at first, in order to move away from it a little. And then we stopped to wait for the older woman, who had said that she was going to bring saplings, but had stopped next to the pile and was still on her phone, so that woman eventually went to get her. She kept bringing saplings with no visible roots from then on, however, and if we discarded the first one, which she might have brought while we were still working the first row, after that the two of them agreed to plant one that was like that along with one that did have a visible root in the same hole, saying that at least one of them should take. It didn’t seem like a good idea to me, but after a few comments I went along with it, mostly just digging and filling in around whatever saplings were brought.
The first announcement about lunch was made a couple of minutes before noon and it said that it will start, with those from the red area, so with us, between 12:30 PM and 12:45 PM. However, with more and more volunteers making their way to their tents and some of them lingering around, it wasn’t even 12:10 PM when it was announced that lunch was starting to be served. But we were close to finishing that row, so we did that, and when I saw that nothing was planted right at the end of the next two rows and mentioned that we could probably do that as well, the women did it, being done with one and moving to the other by the time I planted the last tree on “our” row. I still didn’t even try to count how much had been planted and if they did they didn’t tell me again, and it would have still just been a total, without saying much about what I actually did. But I know that it wasn’t even 12:25 PM when I stopped working, so we were actually done before the “deadline” which had initially been announced, but there were obviously long lines already, and if the two of them went to join them right away, I took a few more pictures and then went to pee and wash my hands, taking the spade with me and then leaving it next to the toilets, since I’d have gotten my hands dirty again otherwise. But I made up for that at the end.
I finally turned my cap around before taking my place at the back of the line, to also offer some protection to the back of my neck, but the damage was already done and I got pretty badly sunburned. Either way, I spent some time in that line, then received lunch, each part of it being placed on the plate separately, starting with the salad, followed by the potatoes and the meat or the dish for vegans or those who were fasting. That was somewhat confusing, since I just moved along and took what was given, being surprised when the last volunteer ignored me, before she noticed that I was waiting there and explained that she had that vegetarian dish and I had already taken meat. Sure, those who specifically wanted to avoid meat would have skipped it and ended up there, but I had been sort of wondering which dish to choose and didn’t realize that I had to look ahead and decide before getting to the meat. And I was also somewhat bothered to be given what was quite literally a handful of salad, even if the volunteer was wearing gloves, and the quantity also struck me as being too little, but I guess that it was all right in the end. And then, since there were no tables, but blankets laid on the grass, plus a few benches, after looking around for a moment I sat down on a corner of a blanket that was completely empty at the time. With pretty much all other spaces being occupied, that struck me as strange and I ignored it at first, but the woman whom I had worked with noticed me and gestured towards it, so I went there after all, and as I was eating a few other people took up the rest of it. But they didn’t say as much as a word to me, so I could eat in peace, the only problem being that I bit the plastic fork at one point, a piece of it came off, and it took me a little while to find it in my mouth and spit it out.
After I was done eating, I just managed to catch the last of the hot water, to have another tea, and then I refilled the cup from the carton of coconut milk that was there. It might have been meant for those who just wanted to add a little to their coffee or tea, but at that point it was pretty much the only thing left, since the regular water had run out even earlier, and there had actually been announcements about it, stating that people had drank more than the organizers had expected, obviously because of the pretty hot day, it was the second time the water ran out, and the next refill was going to be the last one. On the other hand, on top of all of the bins being filled with all kinds of trash despite the clear signs placed by the organizers that even listed what was recyclable and what wasn’t, and also of the requests made to only take what you were going to eat, so food won’t be wasted, when I went to throw away what I had used, I saw two people dump lunches that were barely touched into the bins, and more food already there, which was depressing and infuriating.
It was around that time, just after 1:05 PM, when it was announced that the event had ended, but an earlier announcement had asked for a few volunteers who were going to cut the acacia saplings down to just a few centimeters, apparently just because the roots were so small and the trunk should be left at a similar size in order to encourage growth. And I sort of considered helping out, and one of the tools was left even after I took and ate another one of those small breads, since nothing else was available and I wanted to keep the second pack of biscuits taken in the morning, but I couldn’t quite get myself to do that, despite the explanation, so I gathered a handful of spades and saplings which had been left in the field, and then also one of the strings used to mark the rows, though I only went to the end of that first area. The call for volunteers to help with those strings had been the last one, and the obvious lack of any enthusiasm made the organizer, who initially said that they’re offering a refill of water for each string gathered, quickly seem to give up on the idea and say that they’ll take care of them, but when I saw two others start gathering strings after all, I started gathering one as well… And all three of us stopped when we reached the end of that first area, since even that had taken a fair amount of time, and going all the way to the end, even for one string, seemed pretty much impossible, especially for those who had to get back by bus.
Even so, it was almost 1:35 PM when I stopped, then I drank the water from the reusable bottle and saw that a couple of water bottles had appeared on the tables, so I asked a guy who was pouring himself some from one of them whether that was plain water, refilled that bottle when he confirmed it, and drank part of that as well before returning the gloves and realizing that drinking so much before leaving might become a problem on the way back, especially since I felt that I had to hurry to the buses and the toilets were on the other side, so I didn’t go again… And I also didn’t use the bushes on the side of the road, even if I would have had time, since the driver of what was apparently the last bus going towards Bucharest that was left walked past us as we were heading towards it and told us to go to the brown bus and wait for him to get back… The problem being that, since he wasn’t there, the doors of that bus, which actually only had the lightest tint of brown, were closed, and even though others gathered around it and waited, since another bus was there and its doors were open, I decided to get on that one instead, getting increasingly anxious as a guy started asking who had taken over seats, since there seemed to be too few free ones left. And when someone else asked whether I sat alone and I confirmed it, he contradicted me, saying that I was there with a kid, which finally made me ask whether that bus went to Bucharest, at which point I was told that it didn’t! So I hurried off it… And at least I didn’t forget the camera yet again, since I was about to start looking through the pictures, set it down while paying attention to what was being said, and was so surprised when I learned that I was on the wrong bus that I dropped it on the seat when I got up, noticing it when I turned to look before stepping away.
I was actually just about to cross the road and make use of those bushes when the driver got back, and it seemed that I still had time even then, since he said that we were going to leave at 2 PM, but I hesitated, and when he got on the bus and started the engine I gave up on the idea and got on, taking a seat that was closer to the front, since I meant to get off earlier, at a metro station, if possible. And nobody sat next to me and the driver did ask whether anybody wanted to get off earlier, suggesting Cora Lujerului as the spot, and since a few others eventually said that they’ll get off there, I said that I’ll do the same. And we left just after 2 PM and I managed to read another chapter, once again without feeling carsick at all, until we approached that spot. I would have had time to read a fair bit more until we actually reached it, since we ended up barely moving because of traffic and the driver didn’t stop earlier, so it was almost 2:45 PM when I finally got off, after some ten minutes, if not more like 15 minutes, during which we covered a distance that was quite clearly shorter than what I could have covered by walking.

Since two days earlier I had checked what used to be Cora Pantelimon and saw that, after having recently been purchased, at the moment those stores are sort of a mix between Cora and Carrefour, I considered checking the one from there, but decided against it and went to the metro station, getting off at Mihai Bravu and having a quick look in the Profi that I saw across the road, entering with everything, and then stopping at the Mega Image that’s on the way to Kaufland, once again without bothering to use a cabinet. I was looking for cat food for my mother again, since it was on sale and she had asked for a box of each of the three kinds, but at Mega Image they don’t leave them in the boxes on the shelves, so I asked the employee who was in that area whether they had any whole boxes that she could bring, and when she said that they just had what was on the shelf, I started gathering them and counting, ending up three short of one of the kinds, so I asked again whether they didn’t somehow have just three more of that kind somewhere, but I was again told that they didn’t. Then I added some bio (organic) pasta that had a good discount those days, even if it was imported, and the cashier was quite surprised when she saw all of that cat food, and she took a while to scan it, doing it in groups of three, since the deal was three for the price of two, instead of just counting and entering the number. A coworker even told her to do that, but she said that she didn’t want to get confused.
I put the bag with the cat food in a cabinet when I got to Kaufland, but I entered with everything else, after peeing and washing my hands and face, and just bought some deeply discounted germinated wheat, some coins having apparently already been in the self-checkout machine that I used. Then, after retrieving that bag from the cabinet, I took my time to spread everything out and arrange. But I still wanted those last three cans of cat food, so on the way back I checked a Shop & Go and the Mega Image from Dristor, putting the bags in a cabinet, one that didn’t lock in case of the Shop & Go, and entering with the backpack, but then just retrieving the bags and walking out, since I didn’t find that kind at all. But I finally found it at the non-stop Mega Image, where I once again put the bags in a cabinet and entered with the backpack. And I also found some bio (organic) eggs among those sold by piece, so I got some of those as well, then retrieved the bags and added the new purchases in them. And then I decided to also check the farmers’ market and got some cheap spoiling apples, asking for two kilograms without picking, even saying “however they are”, and being given a little more. And, after having a quick look in that Mega Image as well, once again putting the bags in a cabinet without locking it and then just retrieving them and walking out, I wanted to also check Supeco… But the entrance was cordoned off, and when I later checked the news I found that a part of the ceiling had collapsed, injuring someone!
After grabbing a bottle with the deposit paid as I walked past the graveyard, I found three more just as I was about to reach the new Penny, and one more in a bag that was just next to the bin that’s in front of the recycling machine. But the machine reported that it was full just before my turn came, and the guy who was behind me, having two bags with recyclables and looking dirty and rough enough to probably be homeless, went in to ask someone to sort it out. And, while we were waiting, seeing that he was looking for more recyclables with the deposit paid in that bin, I told him to also check that bag… And he drank what was left in one of the bottles that he pulled out! But what was relevant for me was that, when the machine could be used again and I stepped towards it, he stopped me and said that he was there first, getting angry and pointing out that he had let them know that they had to sort it out when I said that I was already at the machine when he got there. So I let him go ahead… Only for him to not put everything in and even throw some beer cans on the floor before walking out when another person got there and saying, in what was probably meant to be a passive-aggresive tone, that I was next and he was letting me through. But those cans which he had thrown on the floor also had the deposit paid, so I put the four of them in as well, then once again put the bags in a cabinet and entered with the backpack, ending up only cashing in that voucher before retrieving my things. And, when I got back here, I also quickly checked the nearby Mega Image, putting the bags into two cabinets, without locking, and then just retrieving them and walking out.
I got back at 6:55 PM, with a little over 14 kg. Then I put the purchases, with the exception of the apples, in their place, washed, ate a bag of peanuts, which meant 950 calories on its own, and something sweet, even if I rather burned part of it in the microwave, wrote and posted the “placeholder” for this post, and went back to the kitchen a little earlier than usual. However, there was a lot to wash and clean after dad, and I also washed two pots which had been in the sink for a while, so I was still working away at that after more than an hour, and then I also finally dealt with the last bread which I had purchased for myself… And then the hour also changed, so I ended up eating dinner between 4:35 AM and 5:25 AM, according to the new hour, and I got in bed at 6:25 AM.


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