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Very Long Walks to "Pay" With PET Bottles – II

To finally continue from where I left off, on November 20 I got up at 11 AM, feeling rather sleepy but wanting to get there earlier, so I won’t be there Friday evening. It was 1:10 PM when I left, and the problem was that I started feeling the need to pee again shortly after that, so I considered making a detour to the mall at Obor, but eventually committed to holding it in until that other one I had used the day before, and once I made that choice I also decided to use another variant of the route, in that Obor area, about 100 meters longer but simpler. Had also taken a can with me, to drop it off in a recycling bin, and could only do so at the entrance of that mall I went in again to pee, since I hadn’t passed by any others on the way there, which I found quite shocking. But by then I was in a quite desperate situation, so it was a real relief that I managed to make it, and the rest of the trip was mostly uneventful, the only thing I made a mental note of being seeing three apples on the sidewalk, one looking like it had struck quite hard but the other two looking really good, and like they had just been placed there, which struck me as odd. Considered picking them up, but decided against it, though I kept the spot in mind and had another look on the way back, the even stranger thing being that I saw one of them still there, albeit on the street at that point and looking like it had been knocked around a few times.
Either way, reached Carrefour without any other issues, but when I dropped off the bottles, the girl told me to write my name and number on the card myself, saying they had been told to no longer write themselves, in case they’d make mistakes or the handwriting’s hard to read. I said my handwriting’s worse, and was also wondering about handing the pen to everyone under the current circumstances, but she said those were the instructions, nothing she could do. So I did that and went inside just after 3:30 PM, getting four Kapia peppers, weighing a total of 464 grams, four Bianca peppers, weighing 404 grams, four apples, weighing 527 grams, four beets, weighing 463 grams, two leeks, which were really flimsy and only weighed a total of 104 grams, and two cabbages, weighing 2.494 kg even if the girl who was there picked the smallest one that was left as one of them. Then I checked the expiring products and grabbed something sweet from there, and also got some potatoes. There was an unpleasant, and potentially concerning, moment as I was picking the potatoes though, an old man who was barely moving coughing when he approached me, then getting on my other side when I turned away, starting to pick through the potatoes as well and coughing again, right next to me, before walking away, making me walk away as well, not wanting to stay in that area just then. Also considered dropping that sweet thing back and grabbing another, since it had been on the potatoes when he had coughed, but it was in a plastic box, so I eventually kept it, went back for the potatoes and checked out. Then I again spent quite some time arranging everything in the backpack, took another toilet break and was out just before 4:30 PM.
Had no more problems with the route on the way back, the one possibly notable moment having to do with a call I received, from someone from USR who said that I’m listed as a supporter in their records and asked whether I’ll vote and, if so, if I’ll still vote for them. And when I said I will vote but it’s unlikely to be for them, she asked why and in return I asked if that’s actually a serious question, considering what’s been going on in that party recently. Felt like a missed opportunity as soon as I hung up, since there was a lot I’d have wanted to say, but it’s not like it’d have done any good and they clearly can’t be a solution anymore, so it doesn’t really matter.
Back to the walk back, I pushed, wanting to get back by 7 PM, for the ski jumping. Saw when I got back that I had only carried a little over 8 kg, but my back and shoulders weren’t happy, actually feeling like it was going to be quite a problem as I was approaching Obor, only managing to make the muscles loosen up a bit after getting past Iancului, and my spine continuing to feel like something wasn’t right in one spot. But I made it in time, just after 6:55 PM, and despite again feeling that I was about to piss myself by that point, also bought a slice of carrot cake from that place that didn’t have any both times I had tried before. Had considered another place as well, but left that for the next day and just got that slice then, which seemed very expensive at first but was large enough for me to cut it in two, making the price quite normal when compared to two cakes from other confectioneries. Not impressed with the taste, however, so I struck that place off my list as a result.
Counted the plastic bottles that were left while watching ski jumping, realizing that, even with dad also going with me once, as planned, I’ll still need to go every day, a few actually being left even so, assuming they were going to accept everything. Then I took a bath and got in bed a bit after 10:20 PM, but while I fell asleep quickly, by 11:10 PM I was awake again and couldn’t get back to sleep, despite staying in bed until almost 12:20 AM. Only got back in bed at 5:20 AM, and my heartbeat suddenly became irregular again as I tried to sleep on my belly or left side, though things improved when I turned on my right side.

The following day, the alarm was only set to ring at 3 PM, for safety, but I meant to wake up around 2 PM, 2:30 PM at most, and I guess that worried me when I woke up around 1 PM, so if I fell back to sleep at all it was for mere minutes until I eventually got up at 1:45 PM. Felt way better though, and was out just after 4 PM, again being in a quite desperate situation by the time I reached that other mall and could pee, though that time the situation repeated itself at the destination as well. So I first entered that mall at 6:10 PM, rushing in through the first entrance and being relieved to see toilets nearby, just barely making it even so, then going out again to drop off the bottles, having another little chat with that girl, and returning inside 6:25 PM.
Got four Kapia peppers, weighing a total of 408 grams, four Bianca peppers, weighing 422 grams, four apples, weighing 471 grams, and four squashes, weighing 634 grams, but then found myself rather at a loss, with just cucumbers, carrots and parsnip roots left. Eventually asked for cucumbers, but they were really tiny, so four felt like a waste of a reward, but the girl gave me six, weighing 237 grams. And then I had a quick look at the expiring things and bread, but found nothing interesting, so I left without any purchases, arranged everything in the backpack, went again to the toilet and was out just before 6:55 PM.
With that pressing need not returning on the way back, I tried another alternative route in the Obor area, realizing that it was another possibility, then stopped at the confectionery I had decided against getting something from the previous day, just grabbing one thing, sort of meaning to reward them for being open until 9 PM every day when nearly everything else was closed as I passed that evening, those other places usually closing at 8 PM even on weekdays, and possibly even earlier on Saturday. Of course, later noticed that they may close a bit earlier than the listed time, but they’re still open later than the other places.
Was back at 9:10 PM, not weighing what I had carried since it clearly didn’t weigh much and the way back had felt just like a simple walk. Then I had a piece of homemade chocolate brought by dad and an apple before showering, but cleaning after dad cooked and doing one more thing I had to do meant it was past 3:05 AM when I finally started eating dinner, and 3:45 AM when I continued in my room, having just eaten a bit until then, spending quite some time getting as much as possible of some cheese dad had brought off the bottom and sides of the thing he had brought it in.

The next day I meant to really wake up at 3 PM and leave at 5 PM, but the neighbors woke me up with drilling just after 10:30 AM. Might have woken me up once even earlier, as I seemed to remember something as if in a dream and dad also said they started around 9 AM, but if so I fell right back to sleep then, while that time I woke up completely and decided to cut my losses. Didn’t make tea though, same as on the first day, hoping I won’t need to pee quite so badly on the way, but nevertheless only left at 1:20 PM and it took me a few more minutes to actually leave the building, since I saw the Kaufland catalog on my way out, actually placed in our mailbox too, and had a quick look through it.
Checked another confectionery on the way, again using the variant of the route tried the previous evening, but just to see what was available, considering returning to it on the way back. Then, even without tea, the situation still became quite urgent by the time I reached that mall, and that was 1:28 after leaving, making it the slowest time I’m aware of, with the possible exception of the first day, when I didn’t check. But I had also gotten confused on the way then, losing time, while that day I was just slow and feeling sleepy. Either way, the trip’s most memorable, and quite scary, moment came after crossing the road at the intersection that’s after that mall, when I saw what looked like a mask in a puddle of blood, with large drops around it as well. Didn’t stick around to get a better look, cleared the area right away and crossed earlier on the way back to avoid that place entirely, but that was certainly what it looked like at first glance.
Either way, had also taken a wine and a vinegar bottle of the kind which had been rejected the previous year, and after allowing someone else to ask a couple of questions before putting in the bottles I knew were going to be accepted, I showed them to the girl, after having asked her about them the day before. But she said she had only been told to reject stuff like detergent or shampoo bottles, so I had 22 bottles, but of course could only get the usual 20 rewards. Not that I’d have really known what to use additional rewards for, since I went inside that mall just after 3:55 PM, took another toilet break before going in Carrefour and once I did get there realized I should have rushed straight in instead, as the two people who were ahead of me, being together but having brought enough to be allowed to pick 20 rewards each, rather cleared things, getting four of the six celery roots, which were large but without leaves, and eight of the 12 leeks. So I got the remaining two celery roots, weighing exactly 2.2 kg, the remaining four leeks, weighing 476 grams, two cabbages, weighing 2.469 kg, four Kapia peppers, weighing 421 grams, four Bianca peppers, weighing 372 grams, and four parsnips, weighing 377 grams. So I cleared two categories, and think a total of six different things were left for the next person, leaving them with little choice if they’d have also brought 20 bottles. There was nobody else after me at the time though, so I also took a moment to thank the girl for the additional cucumbers she had given me the day before.
Got some more cat food after that, again spent a long time arranging everything in the backpack, went to the toilet one more time, wanting to make sure I’ll be fine on the way back, and went out just before 4:55 PM. That should have just given me enough time to go to a tiny bakery, or at least a place selling bread and bakery products, on the way back, so I rushed even if my shoulders were hurting again and my spine gave me further cause for concern, just passed by that confectionery I had checked out on the way there… And did it all for nothing. Had checked the schedule on the way there and that place was supposed to close at 7 PM on Sunday, I was at the door at 6:55 PM, but found it locked and dark, and it wasn’t even as if they had just closed and were cleaning or something of that sort, since there was nobody inside, so they must have closed quite some time earlier. So I didn’t get anything for myself that day and was back just before 7:20 PM, having carried 11 kg. Only went to take a nap around 11 PM though, falling asleep right away but waking again just after midnight, needing to pee again and feeling rather out of it, and hot.

Written by Cavalary on January 1, 2021 at 10:34 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Quick Review: Oathbringer

The handwriting on the illustrations in the mass market paperback edition is still hard to read, and page margins also sometimes make it hard to see the beginning or end of lines. And, while Shallan’s sections still shine, the book’s first part includes more of what I call human filth and is rather dull despite providing a crucial perspective. The action’s slow, there’s less depth and wisdom, and that’s not even in order to remind readers of what happened before. Even those quotes at the start of chapters don’t really say anything.
Moving forward, the interludes again offer brief but important views of other characters, locations and events. More importantly, parts two and three are absolutely brilliant. Thrilling action, revelations, character development, emotion, reasons to care and be involved, depth, wisdom, understanding, again tackling innumerable aspects of life and society. Most of all, however, it shows true understanding of people, and of the mind. How and why people crack, struggle to cope, fail and break, what may utterly destroy or, sometimes, at least partially, save them. The Bridge Four sections are extraordinary from this point of view, but there’s much of it in others as well, Shallan’s in particular, even more so when another character appears.
Part four returns to a much slower pace, worldbuilding and inner struggles, but also includes important details and revelations. That hesitant attempt at a love triangle doesn’t really work, but little else matters when, after intermissions that are anything but, part five hits with the full force of storms and nightmares coming to life. It’s a cinematic whirlwind of action culminating with that monster of a chapter 120, when the Thrill threatens to overwhelm even the reader. Maybe it’s a bit too much, a bit forced, maybe falling apart at the seams, but maybe, and at least in part quite certainly, I just couldn’t keep up and grasp it all, and either way I didn’t care. And then, far from being anticlimactic, winding down, tying up loose ends and spelling out remaining questions and the path forward showed confidence and a solid plan.

Rating: 5/5

Written by Cavalary on December 30, 2020 at 3:49 PM in Books | 0 Comments

The Vaccine Will Help, Sure… But It’ll Help Big Pharma More

With most EU countries starting vaccinations today, I had to write this. Don’t expect conspiracy theories or a rant against vaccines in general, though I will repeat one thing I keep saying when the topic comes up, which is that vaccines tend to make people ever more reliant on them, reducing natural resistance to disease and therefore increasing vulnerability to any disruptions, including intentional ones, in their availability. Interestingly, this problem might actually be solved if that stupid conspiracy theory making the rounds now, stating that these vaccines would somehow alter DNA, would be true, since that would mean that any resistances would not only be permanent for those receiving the vaccine, but probably also for their children. Not that anyone should be allowed to still have any children when the world’s so terribly overpopulated and the ecosystem so damaged, nor that I’d trust any human with genetic engineering in the foreseeable future, or ever in case of those working for private, for-profit corporations. But at least that’d theoretically be a solution, while the current model actually discourages coming up with one, carrying higher and constant costs and relying on everything working as it should, disruptions, not to mention someone deciding to use it as a weapon at some point, leading to untold suffering and disaster.

But this was supposed to be about the current vaccination effort, which will of course help significantly in the battle against the virus causing the current pandemic, the vaccines likely to indeed be quite safe and, for now, effective. However, the benefits won’t be as great, and definitely not as immediate, as the optimists would like to think. In fact, in the short term there may even be a net negative impact, if people will rely on the mere fact that a vaccine exists and pay less attention to the other safety measures. After all, only a relatively small number of people, from certain categories, will be vaccinated over the next few months. That will of course help those people and should also reduce the number of severe cases and deaths, at least if they won’t also forget about the other measures before enough time will pass for the vaccine to become fully effective, but with the possible exception of limiting those outbreaks in large factories, and meat-processing plants in particular, if those workers will be included among those receiving these early doses, it’s unlikely to make that much of a difference when it comes to the total number of infections and the average person’s risk of infection when most cases are the result of regular people meeting with other regular people, the general population will, at best, only start being vaccinated in spring, and the process will take at the very least several months, and that’s assuming the level of acceptance will be high enough and no problems will appear on the way.
And then there’s the other side to consider, the other end: We don’t know how long immunity will last, but it’s unlikely to last that long. We’re not even sure that those who are themselves immune can’t still be carriers and infect others! And, of course, the virus seems to mutate quite rapidly and may find ways around such immunity anyway. But even if we set all of these other potential problems aside, assuming that somehow, let’s say even relatively soon, everyone will be immunized, one way or another, and the virus won’t get around that, or at least not without becoming far less infectious, if the immunity will only last for a year or so, and maybe even for as little as a few months, the vaccine clearly can’t, in itself, be the solution. Even with so much effort and so many resources poured into this, which is something that won’t be indefinitely sustainable, it’ll take longer than that to vaccinate enough people to truly make a difference! This lack of a lasting immunity may not be a serious problem when it comes to those other coronaviruses that only cause the common cold, which tends to just be a temporary nuisance and easily responds to a wide array of simple and readily available treatments, and at least not that much of one even when it comes to the seasonal flu, which most people can also pull through and for which treatments are also known and available, but things are quite different when it comes to a virus that’s much more dangerous for a large part of the population, may even cause lasting damage to some younger and otherwise healthy people, who wouldn’t normally be seen as at risk, and for which we don’t have clear, effective, readily available and sufficiently cheap treatments.
In fact, from where I’m standing, finding those treatments is the more important part of the solution at this point. In the longer term, permanent changes in behavior may be required, perhaps somewhat comparable to those seen, at least in more developed societies, as a result of HIV, only far more widespread and noticeable, since they’ll have to do with breathing instead of sex and blood. And, of course, far more drastic changes in behavior, mindset and our attitude towards Nature will be required to reduce the risk of future similar or worse pandemics, coupled with a different approach towards health when facing those we will nevertheless have to face, but those changes are absolutely necessary for many other reasons, perhaps the most important being that it’s the right thing to do at a time when our level of development finally makes it possible, leaving no more room for excuses. So, to return to the current crisis, unless immunity will be permanent, or at least last many years, decades, which at this point seems highly unlikely, it’s the vaccine that’s the temporary solution, a method used to buy a little more time to find proper treatments, most preferably some that’d work against this entire class of viruses, since it seems probable that more will make the jump to humans. And, despite some more serious trials and a few promising results, that goal seems far more distant and difficult to achieve.

On the other hand, what’s very obvious is that, regardless of anything else, the large pharmaceutical corporations will gain the most as a result of this, both immediately and in the longer term. We’re talking of short-term profits in the billions, higher stock prices and other indirect benefits after the number of vaccines on the market will perhaps make it difficult to maintain high prices, and all of that despite also receiving public funds and donations to develop the vaccines and making use of government-funded science without rewarding or even really recognizing the researchers involved. Even AstraZeneca is likely to start selling at a profit probably just when it’ll matter more for the general public and they received partial immunity from claims of side-effects in exchange for not doing so from the beginning. And, thinking of the longer term, if the vaccines are at the moment free for the people, which of course means that they’re paid by the authorities out of tax money, it remains to be seen how long until this will change and how much it’ll cost to regain protection after this initial one will, most probably, wear off.
This is how things invariably work, and will continue to work, as long as capitalism is allowed to continue existing, along with private corporations and doing pretty much anything, and providing necessary products and services in particular, for profit. In addition, if anything, the sooner the immunity generated by the vaccines will wear off, the happier Big Pharma will be, their interest being to keep selling as much as possible, as often as possible, to as many as possible, responding to needs, be they real or perceived, that are as widespread as possible and reappear as quickly as possible, and preferably never go away at all, being permanent. Again, this doesn’t in any way imply any support for any conspiracy theory, I’m quite “allergic” to those; it’s merely a statement of fact, how things work in this rotten economic system we so desperately need to consign to the ash heap of history and replace with something new and suitable for a future worth living in, making proper use of humanity’s level of knowledge and development and offering a decent standard of living and a good life for all while also remaining within the limits of the ecosystem and allowing and even aiding the other species we share, or should be sharing, this planet with to thrive as well.

Written by Cavalary on December 27, 2020 at 9:46 PM in Society | 0 Comments

Cat Food and a Poor Run

Monday I was woken up at 11:40 AM by the SMS from Auchan, announcing that the order for that cat food was ready, so after getting back under the blanket for just a couple more minutes, I got up. Only left at 1:55 PM though, taking the recyclables, including those things I drop off at Kaufland, because I was going to this Kaufland and Carrefour then, not to Auchan. It had rained earlier and was still drizzling, and I didn’t take that route taking me to some recycling bins, so I carried the recyclables all the way to the bins at the entrance of that mall, since there were no others on the way. But at least those were separate, not for all recyclables in the same one.
Since eggs were the first thing I was looking for, I had a plan to keep going to Obor if I wouldn’t have found any that were cheap enough without being code three at that Carrefour, but I did find some, plus some other things, the only exception being those bagels for my mother, which were gone from there too. Then I went to Kaufland and dropped those things off, but didn’t buy anything and was back some two hours after leaving, maybe just a little bit before that.
There had been some more drops on the way back, but by the time I was out again, at 4:05 PM, it seemed to have stopped… But I forgot the used cooking oil I wanted to drop off at Auchan, after spending quite some time filtering it the day before. Realized it not long after leaving, but didn’t care to come back for it. But before realizing that, had a quick look in this Mega Image, though I didn’t get the garlic I knew I had to get from Mega Image from there. Then I went to the Carrefour from the park, finding those bagels, and at the old price too, making it a good thing I hadn’t been able to get them before, so I got some, then stopped at a larger Mega Image on the way to Auchan, buying the garlic and also finding some mushrooms that were discounted due to starting to go bad. Also spotted that old woman with orange hair that I keep seeing jogging in the park in there, and she was rather jogging through the store too. Spent some time fumbling with the money though, since they separate those discounted products, so I gave exact change for the garlic, but then couldn’t find exact change for the mushrooms, and wanted to give it even though the cashier had rounded down, which is unusual for Mega Image, but when she repeated that I had given her enough, since I was just missing 0.03 RON, I left it like that and got out of there.
After finally getting to Auchan, I needed to wait for a while for the cat food, and when I first meant to pay I dropped 2 RON, but fortunately looked down and noticed and retrieved them right away. The procedure was confusing though, needing to wait for them to apparently bring the product from some other place where they store what’s ordered on-line, then pay in one place, then move to the one spot where there’s no protective screen for the same employee to hand me the product… And then she asked me to give a copy of the papers to the guards, and I said I wasn’t going to go in, assuming it was so she won’t need to seal the products, but she said it wasn’t that, which left me at a loss until a guard fortunately looked that way and she called him over and I just handed him one of the copies, still not really understanding what that was about.
When I went out of that shopping center, I’m quite sure someone from Declic was just going in. And then I took some 55 minutes to get back, entering the building just after 6:50 PM, being slow and stopping a few times, thinking of getting a pretzel but deciding against it each time. Then I took a shower, though the temperature of the water was rather uncomfortable, made mamaliga again in the evening… And as I was about to take it to my room, the power went out for a couple of seconds, and the fridge sounded as if it was trying to start again and failing, so I unplugged it and then checked the router too, which seemed to be in a reboot loop. Unplugged it and plugged it back in and it recovered, and after some ten minutes plugged the fridge back in too, and it sounded like it started properly again, and so far it seems fine, or at least no worse than before. On the other hand, didn’t read anything that day, and also somehow forgot to make the daily entry in a contest, which was annoying.

After making pasta the previous evening and therefore not managing to fully catch up on reading despite again going to bed at 5:20 AM that morning, yesterday I ran, the alarm being set to wake me at 12:30 PM, but my internal clock apparently remaining on the previous week‘s schedule, since I woke up at 11:59 AM. Meant to get back in bed at first, but had to pee, so I got up then after all, and had the usual stuff plus hazelnuts, the yogurt being one of those “creamy” ones with 10% fat again, albeit of a different brand, as I had grabbed one from the expiring products from Carrefour on Monday. As something sweet, again had doughnuts with added jam, and went out at 2:40 PM, wearing the old training suit without anything under the shirt, the old gloves, that thing around my neck, pulled up on the way so I won’t take a mask, and the jacket, which I of course tied around my waist for the run. The reported temperature was 6°C and supposed to hold steady, but while it was sunny on the way, becoming cloudy again after I got to the park and remaining that way while I ran, it was also a bit windy, which made it chilly on the way, the wind getting under my jacket and training shirt.
The time was a disappointing 48:57.50, with sector times of 4:24.60, 5:14 (5:13.73), 6:03.55, 4:37 (4:36.79), 5:09.23, 6:04.00, 4:34 (4:33.93), 5:10 (5:09.79), 5:53.01 and 1:49 (1:48.87), making for lap times of 15:41.88, 15:50.02 and 15:37 (15:36.73). I started by just aiming to stay under 48:30, thinking that returning under 48 minutes was highly unlikely, but from sector two of lap one it was clear that staying under 49 minutes was all I could hope for, and after the end of the lap even that was very questionable, and after sector one of lap two I was wondering whether I’ll even manage 49:30. But I just gave it everything on lap three, initially thinking I needed to in order to even hope to stay under 49:30, yet after sector two of lap three I realized I had a shred of a chance at 49 minutes if I pushed as if I was in good shape, and despite thinking it highly unlikely all the way to the end, telling myself as I was about to enter the lap’s final straight that a 5% chance was likely an optimistic estimate, I somehow managed at least that, as disappointing as it is to consider that as any sort of achievement.
There was a bit of wind at times, but only felt it as a bit of an issue in a few places on lap three, when I was pushing. People were generally not a problem, just requiring a rather normal amount of weaving and going the long way around overall, but there were a few large groups I had to make sure to calculate a path around and hope they won’t step in my way at the wrong time, which a guy from one of them rather did, probably causing me to slow a little. But the more notable issue was caused by stepping on a loose piece of pavement right at the start, my right ankle seeming to have been affected by it a little, so there was a bit of pain and I guess I wasn’t exactly stepping normally, trying to spare it, which actually led to two more situations where I strained it a little, on sector two of lap one and sector one of lap two. But I settled into things after that, and it went better, the only other physical issue being the general fact that I just couldn’t push harder, and had a very hard time trying to sustain the sprints on the straights.
After getting back, I took out a bag of trash dad had again left on the kitchen sink, and between that, managing to at least stay under 49 minutes when it had seemed so unlikely all the way to the end, and the fact that I had meant to get one Monday as well, decided to get myself a pretzel for the trouble, so I changed my shoes and went right back out, still with that thing pulled up to cover my nose and mouth instead of an actual mask, jogging most of the way to a pastry place, wanting to stay in the open, so not wanting to go inside this Mega Image for one of their pretzels. Just walked back though, the paper bag being too small for the pretzel, so I’d have likely lost a good part of the poppy seeds on the exposed part by running with it.

Written by Cavalary on December 24, 2020 at 8:40 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Oathbringer, Volunteering, Long Walks and Helping a Guy

After having a nasty taste in my mouth for a while, last Sunday I woke up with a headache at one point. It seemed to have gone away by the time I woke up again and got up, but then in the evening I felt rather off in general, and something seemed odd at my right temple, a dull pain and a feeling of pressure, and I thought it felt a bit swollen as well. Just that strange feeling at my right temple was still there the next day, however, and after changing the position of the headphones that night, that also went away on Tuesday, so it is possible that it had something to do with that, while the rest of it might have been caused by what I had eaten after that week’s run, trying to rescue as much as possible out of what dad had left to spoil, and the yogurt I had that morning, which had been expired for full a week.
Getting back to last Sunday, after thinking it over and weighing my chances the night before, I decided to go against the plans I mentioned before and start Oathbringer after all, committing to finishing it by the end of the year, though I should really put more effort into it in that case, because I’m already struggling to catch up. That makes also finishing Witch’s Wake far less likely, but I’ll see whether I’ll manage that as well, somehow. Writing a review for Neverwinter Nights: Kingmaker by the end of the year is quite clearly out of the question either way, however.

Moving on to this week’s run, that was Tuesday, when I got up when the alarm rang, at noon, but it was almost 2:45 PM when I went out. Had the usual stuff, the yogurt being a bio (organic) one, and doughnuts with jam as the sweet thing, but again only left the tiniest bit in the toilet and had the old training suit on, albeit without anything under the shirt, plus that thing on my neck, which I had pulled up to also cover my mouth and nose on the way to the park, so I’ll only put the mask on after the run. Also had the old gloves, plus the jacket for the walk, that time managing to tie it properly around my waist, so it wasn’t a problem during the run anymore. The reported temperature ranged between 6°C and 9°C, depending on where I looked, there was little wind and it was partly cloudy, though at one point it even became rather sunny for a while.
I went for 16 km again, and I’m pretty sure the time was 1:19:03, though my fingers were again frozen, I didn’t press the button when I thought I did and wasn’t looking at the stopwatch just then, so I saw 1:19:04 when I did look, after turning my arm. The sector times were 4:24, 5:15, 6:06, 4:34, 5:07, 5:54, 4:34, 5:12, 6:04, 4:38, 5:15, 6:06, 4:39, 5:17 and 5:58, making for lap times of 15:45, 15:35, 15:50, 15:59 and 15:54, obviously with the same comment about the last sector and lap as for the overall time. After sector two of lap one, I was sure that 1:20 was a lost cause, just hoping to stay under 16 minutes for the first two laps, complete three in under 48, then see whether I’ll at least stay under 1:21, but towards the end of sector two of lap two I just felt much better and over the course of lap three I gradually realized that 1:20 could be possible after all. Then, at the start of lap five, I was aiming for 1:19:30, just giving it everything, and on the last sector I was wondering whether 1:19 was possible, being quite disappointed when I just missed that target. But I managed to stay under 16 minutes on each lap, albeit only barely on lap four, so at the moment I’ll take that as a positive aspect.
In terms of issues, there weren’t many caused by others, but there was a misunderstanding with a guy on an electric scooter on sector one of lap one and the moment when I had to briefly stop and go around after being blocked by a cyclist with a kid on sector one of lap five, when he stopped across the path, right after the bridge, waiting for the kid to try to go up the stairs, and when I asked for some room as I approached he started moving back, which was the way I meant to go around them, since otherwise I’d have had to try to squeeze between him and the kid. Without those, I might have just managed to stay under 1:19, but I’m not sure and, either way, the bigger issue was that I just felt exhausted for the first lap and a half, surprisingly getting much better after that. Another little issue was that I rather felt like taking a crap on sector two of lap three, and that was when it was getting sunny as well, so I was starting to overheat for a while, but both issues pretty much went away after that.

Though I hadn’t meant to at first, once I finished running I decided to jog to Kaufland after all, looking for the cheese that was supposed to be on the Monday and Tuesday sale. It didn’t look like they had any left, however, and I couldn’t get myself to cut the line to ask, and didn’t want to wait in it for what was likely to be no reason, so that was just a waste of time, which became even more of one when they didn’t have the coffee my mother wants either, the day’s offer being 30% off for coffee and tea. So I jogged back as well, getting here at 5:15 PM, even more sweaty after jogging with my jacket on… And being unable to shower that evening, as there was no hot water.
It was also that evening when I meant to dig into some wasabi-flavored peanuts dad had brought, but that flavored coating was just awful, so I gave up after a handful, yet later found that putting them in yogurt counters what bothers me, so I’ve been using them like that the following days, before going out. And, to return to that evening, made mamaliga again… And rather burned it, likely at least in part because I added what was left of some milk which had been opened for quite a while. At least one of the eggs didn’t look good either, but I was trying to make some use of those things. Still, though the milk and eggs were four days older than they had been Friday, I didn’t feel off again after that.

Wednesday I got up at 11 AM, when the alarm rang, but slept little after waking up around 9:45 AM, in good part because I felt dirty and itchy. When I had woken up before, a bit after 8 AM, and washed what dad had used when he got back from work, it seemed like the water was at least warm, but I didn’t want to take a quick shower then, since I was going out again and it’d have likely meant getting no more sleep, but maybe I should have, as I might have only lost a similar amount of sleep and I’d have felt better. Either way, meant to leave at 12:30 AM, but was almost ten minutes late, taking the paper and another small bag of trash, dropping the trash in a garbage can outside the building and the paper in the first recycling bin on my way.
Though it meant I was going to be late, I first went to the Carrefour from the park, having been told to get a lot of cat food and not being certain that I’ll find that much at once, or even whether I’ll find some at all. But there was enough of one kind, an employee just stocking that area at the moment, yet the other kind was missing completely, and when that employee saw that I was looking in that area she guessed what I was looking for and said that other customers had been asking about that kind as well, but they’ve been out of it for some two weeks and no more was received. Found something else, however, the package of two being cheaper than it’d have been to get two from Penny, where they were on sale those days, so I grabbed that as well, then left everything in a cabinet… And banged my head in the corner of the cabinet’s door when I stood up, as I was moving the stuff back and forth, trying to make everything fit, and I used a top one, since the lower ones didn’t have the number on the key and I wanted some proof that my things had been in that cabinet in case something was going to happen until I’ll get back there, hours later.

After a quick detour to the toilet, I was out of that mall at 1:35 PM and going through the gate of that industrial area a bit after 2:15 PM, since there had been another call for volunteers to put together packages for old people, this time by e-mail, so I could sign up right away and go on the first day. And since I knew the way, I went around the fenced area and got to that gate the coordinator had opened to let me out last time, yet while she was outside the warehouse, she was talking on the phone, with her back towards me, so I went to the small gate I had used then… And then had to go right back, since it was locked. But she was looking my way by then, and quickly opened the gate when I waved, before I even reached it again.
There were apparently two areas, volunteers doing two different things, but I wasn’t even aware of the others at first, since they were at the back of that large warehouse and the coordinator just told me what the two girls who were there were doing, leaving us to decide how to split the tasks, and I ended up spending most of the time putting lemons and oranges in bags while one of the girls was doing the same with the onions and potatoes, this “pre-packaging” being the most time-consuming and tedious task, the other girl adding apples and carrots, which weren’t placed in bags first, and the hygiene products to these in order to put together the packages. What the others were doing apparently had to do with cans, which was actually what the e-mail had stated the work was going to be about, warning that it was going to involve heavy lifting, and when another guy arrived, around 4 PM, he went to help them, but the girls I had joined were saying that what the others were doing was easier and they’ll finish much sooner, and someone from that other group actually came soon after that to say they were running out of something, and a couple of women that I guess had been in that other group left around that same time.
It was only at the end, as it was getting dark and the lights weren’t coming on, that I left the lemons and oranges to put together a couple of packages as well. The girl who had been working next to me was taking what she thought was a break at that point, getting some pizza and pancakes while waiting for the lights to come on, but they didn’t, even though they were saying that they had done so automatically last time. So it became too dark for us to continue around 4:30 PM and I grabbed some pizza and pancakes as well, wondering at one point how did the others manage to continue working at the back of the warehouse when we were starting to have trouble seeing well enough to eat at the entrance. But they had plenty of pizza, two large ones remaining unopened, and they had repeatedly told me to have some ever since I got there, also saying quite a few times that they had pretty much stuffed themselves in the morning, so after the others finally called it a day as well and that other guy left, leaving me with the coordinator and the three girls, which I guess were the same ones who had been there last time, I meant to grab another slice, or perhaps even both that were left in one of the opened boxes, but I hesitated too much, then also took a moment to grab two slightly moldy lemons that the coordinator seemed to want to throw away otherwise, and by the time I got back there the coordinator was gathering everything, at which point I’d have had to ask and really couldn’t get myself to do so.
Around 5:10 PM, I was in the coordinator’s car, along with two of the girls, one having called herself an Uber, but when we found her still waiting when we reached the street, she ended up squeezing next to me, which was quite difficult when one of the others had taken a bunch of empty crates and was holding them in her arms and all three of us were on the back seat. But we only stayed there for a little while, all three of us getting off at the bus stop, at 5:25 PM, the two of them waiting for the bus while I walked away.

Really needed to pee when I got to Auchan, so I took care of that and was in the store a bit after 5:50 PM. Not finding that kind of cat food there either, I just bought some bread and another large bio (organic) yogurt, spent a little time arranging things and counting money, and was out of that shopping center some 40 minutes after going in the store. Then I got back to Carrefour, leaving my purchases from Auchan in another cabinet and noticing that the coin wasn’t dropping through the mechanism, but the key eventually worked, so I went in and had a look at a few more things, not buying anything… And then started struggling to get that coin back. The guard quickly noticed and told me I shouldn’t do that, but after I told him it ate my coin and he tried it himself and saw that it wasn’t going to release it, he pulled 1 RON out of his wallet, went to customer service to change it and handed me a 0.50 RON coin to replace the lost one. That’s unlike what happened the previous time this happened, at the other location, so I didn’t lose anything and could then just retrieve the other stuff as well, getting back here at 7:45 PM, having carried almost 17 kg from there, including clothes and what I had in my pockets. And there was hot water, so I could finally take a long shower, and then even read as much as planned for that day. Only started eating at 3:35 AM though.

It was almost 5:20 AM when I got in bed Thursday morning, but slept soundly and my internal clock again worked properly, so I woke up just moments before the alarm rang, again at 11 AM. It was past 12:50 PM when I finally went out, however… And had barely crossed the road when dad rang. With the girls saying there wasn’t much left to do, after we got in the car I had asked the coordinator whether I should come Thursday as well, if I again won’t be there before 2 PM, and she had told me to call around 1 PM and ask, so I had asked dad to do that and let me know, and he did just that, saying she had told him they were already finishing.
So I switched to the other plan, which was to check several Carrefour locations for that kind of food, for Rocky. First got back to the one from the park, then the one from Unirii, also having a quick look through the Mega Image from there and then going in the shopping center to pee, then checked Carrefour Orhideea next, followed by Kaufland Basarab, using the toilet again on my way out, making do with urinals both times since the situation was quite desperate, then had a quick look though a Profi City, and a MyAuchan. The next stop after that was a little bookstore I happened to spot on the way, looking for something else dad had asked for, then took a different route from Victory Square, apparently adding some 800 meters to the distance I had to cover for no reason, eventually returned to the regular route and went in a particularly large Mega Image I saw… And that was the only place where I found that food, but the price was quite high and I had been told to get at least one full box, so I just kept the location in mind but didn’t get any, instead getting a few other things I happened to notice while I was there. Then I continued on to Auchan Obor, where I was surprised to see cabinets, since Auchan otherwise doesn’t seem to have places where you can leave your things, and then to that Kaufland, getting a few things… And ending up stuck to the self-checkout machine, since there’s apparently a magnet there and I had coins and keys in the pocket that’s on the jacket’s sleeve, making it quite tricky to pull away without tearing it. But I managed it, got a pretzel from a pastry place that’s also there and continued to that Carrefour, getting what dad wanted but being surprised to not find the bagels for my mother, since they’re their own brand, not on sale and had been available in all other locations.
I might have quickly checked another Mega Image at some point, likely between Basarab and Obor if so, but really can’t remember and might be confusing that with that Profi City. But the main idea was to look for that cat food and, as I already mentioned, that large Mega Image was the only place where I still found some, and there wasn’t as much as I had been asked to get on the shelf even there. So I walked over 22 km just on the streets, plus the distance covered in the stores, and likely took quite a risk by entering so many under the current circumstances, but didn’t have much to show for it. I mean, I didn’t even have those bagels for my mother, though I bought some of another kind from that Mega Image, being surprised at how cheap they were while the price of those she had asked for had just increased significantly. So I put the idea of getting something for myself as well, on top of that pretzel, out of my mind… And I guess I couldn’t have done so anyway, since the idea would have been to stop at that confectionery I had bought something from on November 21, knowing it was open until 9 PM, but when I stopped right in front of it, to pick up a coin I had spotted, the employee locked the door, the body language I noticed when I looked seeming to indicate that she wanted to make sure I won’t try to go in, though I checked the time and it wasn’t even 8:50 PM yet. Either way, got to the building entrance a bit after 9:20 PM, had an orange and one of those pieces of cake brought by dad at some point after that, showered again, but only managed to read one more chapter and it was 2:50 AM when I started eating dinner.

What was notable about Thursday, however, happened on Unirii Boulevard, after a guy using a crutch fell in front of me. Another guy was also in that area, having just parked his car, and we both rushed to help him get up, but he had difficulty standing and explained that his left side is going numb at times. We both asked how to help and he said he was fine, just needed to take it slowly, but it didn’t seem like it and the other guy continued to hold his arm as he started walking again. He meant to offer to drive him where he needed to go, but when told which hospital he had to get to, he said he couldn’t do that, since he was working and had only stopped to get himself something. He also told the guy there’s no way he’ll get there, but the guy said he will, in about an hour and a half… Which I assume meant taking the metro, or maybe a bus, from Unirii, because I’m not even sure I’d have covered that distance in an hour and a half on foot, and he was barely walking.
Either way, after helping him for a short distance, that other guy excused himself and, after the guy with the crutch again said he’ll be fine and also that I could help as well, since I had sort of followed them, he returned to his car. Maybe I could have helped more if I’d have rushed to an ambulance which had been stuck in traffic just in that area at that point, asking whether they could do something, but I couldn’t get myself to do so until it eventually managed to drive away, so I just took that other guy’s place and held his arm as he started telling me what was wrong with his back, apparently for two years, what treatment he was going to the hospital for, what prescriptions he had to fill, then also about his work, how the problems had been caused by standing so long for his old job as a security guard, the fact that he had practiced some contact sports likely having had something to do with it as well, the fact that he had just managed to get a new job, still in security but just watching cameras… And then he asked whether I could help him get some medicines he really needed to get then, which first made me even more anxious, assuming he meant to ask me to go to a pharmacy and buy them, and then made me go quiet and sort of pull away when he explained that what he was asking for was the money for them. I just sort of ignored him at that point, wondering how to get away, but the thing was that I had for some reason taken more money than intended that day, which I hardly ever do, and couldn’t get myself to lie and say I didn’t have that amount to spare, so when he asked again, saying that it was going to be a loan, until he’ll get paid next month, and that he’ll show me the prescriptions and other documents, I eventually agreed.
The thing is that, while he did show me medical documents and even his ID card and we exchanged phone numbers, he got back up off the bench he had sat on surprisingly quickly after receiving the money, and then I didn’t take his arm again and he seemed to walk a fair bit better. He did say that he had rested a bit on that bench and felt better as a result, and a little later stopped again for a few moments and cursed his leg, but I found myself saying that if he won’t pay me back, I’d have just done a good deed for the holidays, and at this point I’m considering that amount as lost until and unless proven otherwise.
Either way, after I said I don’t when he asked where I worked, he even offered to talk to his boss to hire me, which I obviously refused. Then he touched on a few other topics as well, bothering me when he said he’d cut up all these masks, but lives with his mother and she’s old and at some risk if he’ll take this virus to her, yet then seemed to want to stress that he didn’t believe the risk was significant even for her… And then he pulled his mask off for a moment and I could see how dirty it was, and he also said that the fact that it’s white on the inside means it gets dirty easily, and that he’d been using it for some three weeks, so my initial impression that he was taking the situation very seriously, the mask being at least FFP2, was proven to be very wrong. And then he bothered me again when he said he noticed that I was rather shy and, when I said it’s social anxiety, not just being shy, he started talking about a coworker who was supposedly the same and barely speaking, especially with women around, and he’d whack him over the head when that happened to make him “be a man” and get better. I pulled away from him at that point and I guess he realized he really messed up, trying to say he was just joking, but I rather shut him out, not asking whether I should be whacking him over the leg or back to make him get better too. And we were approaching Unirii Square at that point, and I said that was how far I was going to go, asking whether he’ll find someone else to help him, and he said he’ll manage, so once we got there we parted ways and I continued on my route.

As for Friday, I got up at 11:30 AM, which was the third time I had woken up, though the second time I hadn’t needed to pee and went right back to sleep. But at that point I meant to go right out, rushing, being out the door at noon… And forgetting my backpack, which I had left in the kitchen, with the bags in it, so I’ll just grab it on my way out. Only realized it after getting to this other Carrefour, which I hadn’t checked the day before, grabbing those bagels for my mother and noticing I had nothing to put them in. It’s a good thing that cat food hadn’t appeared there either, as I’d have had quite a problem then, but as it was, I just left the bagels for another time, just getting a couple of expiring things for myself. Then I also checked that Kaufland, getting an expiring yogurt from there, plus some cleaning product I kept forgetting to get, had a quick look through a Mega Image on the way back and was back here before 1:55 PM.
With that cat food having just showed up as being in stock in a few locations on Auchan’s site, the initial plan was to order it from there, even if the price was higher than the listed one at Carrefour, since at Carrefour it obviously doesn’t actually exist, and pick it up that same evening, but considering the crowds I had seen that day, I selected Monday instead and didn’t go out again. Couldn’t catch up on the previous day’s missed reading even so, barely managing to not fall even farther behind, and it was past 3 AM when I started eating dinner, and again only got in bed at 5:20 AM.

Written by Cavalary on December 20, 2020 at 11:59 PM in Personal | 0 Comments