This is awesome. Just A for AWESOME! I deserve a fucking medal for managing to reach such awesome levels of awesomeness!
But no. That is an exaggeration, if ever there was one. I guess I’m just on a super high buzz after an extremely super productive day. We just arrived home from The Salvation Army. I brought a frog. So not only have we opened our home to, and adopted a rainbow-coloured species of the pond, but I, the self-absorbed, self-confessed procrastinator, have signed up to become a volunteer.
Okay, okay. So it’s not really a REAL frog. To be honest, I kind of felt sorry for it, sitting on the shelf amongst all these pretty, cutesy, fluffy looking teddy bears and looking like it didn’t belong. AND I might as well assume that it is real because, when I plucked it from the shelf and handed it to my girl, her eyes lit up like two little high powered light bulbs. That is, I hope, what her reaction is going to be like when I finally decide to give her a brother. She squeezed the frog to her chest, and wouldn’t let it out of her sight. Even now, as I type this, she has the frog by the hind of it’s legs and is swinging it around so that it’s poor head is banging against the coffee table. It is love. Until she gets bored of it, that is. And then it will be discarded and forgotten and sit at the bottom of her closet with the rest of her neglected furry friends.
Which will be tomorrow, probably.
ANYWAY…baby matters and adopted frogs aside, I have to admit, I am so chuffed at myself for putting up my hand to be a volunteer. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I genuinely feel the need to help people, on a big scale or small – it doesn’t really matter, as long as I am, as they say, ‘doing my bit for the community.’ I’m not sure what it is I’m going to be doing exactly, but I assume they are going to need people to sit behind the desk. Maybe I’ll be sorting out second-hand merchandise at the back. Maybe I’ll get to drive around in a Salvation Army van and collect stuff from people’s houses. Maybe they won’t even call me, and that little piece of paper with my contact details is already at the bottom of a rubbish bin. In which case I’ll be majorly pissed off, seeing as I have been pondering and seriously thinking about offering my services to that particular service for a couple of months now.
Should have seen the looks I got when I stated that I wanted to be a volunteer. Behind the table sat two very elderly ladies whose expressions turned to shock for a full five seconds after I made my request. I was wearing a thick red hoody, black track pants with the bottoms rolled up, and I hadn’t even bothered to brush my hair. Not very professional, I know, but this is The Salvation Army, not The Hilton Hotel and, in my defence, one of the old ladies looked like she was still in her pyjama’s anyway.
After an awkward silence, one of the old bags stood up and smiled at me.
“Why of course love,” she sang in that sweet way that softens you a little on the inside because it kind of reminds you of your grandmother. “Let me just find a pen and a paper, and I’ll write your name and number down.”
“I live just down the road,” I offered, not knowing why I said that, or whether it was even necessary.
“Ok love. Just write your name and number down. Judy (not real name) is here tomorrow. She’s the one you need to talk to. She will give you a ring.”
“Oh, is it ok if I write my email down? I’m kind of deaf, and can’t hear properly on the phone.”
“Of course love, would you like to pay for these now?”
“Oh yes please,” I scribble my details down, then push the coloured frog and dictionaries towards her. “Our newest family member.” I quip then laugh as if I have just made an award-winning joke.
That old bag smiles away. “That’s $3.50 love,” she announces, ignoring my joke.
I’m accustomed to that. I fish around in my purse for changes and hand them over. The old bag is studying my contact details.
“The yoyo blogger. Do you blog, love?”
I nod and just say “Sort of.” I’m surprised that she even knows what that means, being as ancient looking as she is.
“That’s nice. My daughter has a blog. She lives over in Europe. It has wonderful photography. I would love to read some of your writing one day.”
My response is to give a nervous little laugh, while in my head I am thinking. No, lady. You would not want to read what I’ve got to say. But who knows. Maybe I underestimate old people.
Before me and baby leave, I say to her maybe I’ll blog about being a volunteer. She says that will be ‘nice love’ before bidding me and baby goodbye.
Despite my pessimism about the outcome, I have a feeling they are going to call me back. And, you know, I’m just going to go with it. I’ll see how it goes, and go with the flow, and sit behind desks with old ladies, or sort out merchandise at the back with old ladies, and do anything they ask me, as long as it doesn’t fall into the category of them asking me for money donations, because that is the one and only thing I will do, but over my dead body. I don’t believe in money donations, don’t ask me why, I just don’t. And also, because if I donate money, I’ll be parting with my Bacardi and Cola habit. I have very little money left over after bills. I need something for me, you know.
And of course I plan on blogging about being a volunteer if or when the mood strikes, even if it does sound like it will be boring as hell. Because these little old ladies, and anyone else who goes out of their way to help the less fortunate, whether it be for third world children, abused children, children at a disadvantage or even abused animals, I have always held the utmost respect for them. To me, they are the ones I look up to, and they are the ones I aspire to be like one day. I may be obsessed with looking like Kim Kardashian, and I may have had a fetish with Beyoncé to the point where I was considering re-enacting ‘the single ladies’ clip in the hope of winning free tickets to her concert. But these are not my heroes. My heroes are the unseen of this world. They are the ones behind the scenes, the hard-working, unpaid volunteers who work their butts off in an effort to make a difference.
Me, a thirty two year old, sitting amongst old ladies and second-hand clothes? I don’t know why, but that sounds..well, rather good to me, and who would have thought that was even remotely possible? In the back of my mind, I suspected there was an ulterior motive, and now I understand what it is. I need to help people because I feel that, somehow, I’ll be able to help myself along the way. If I can open my eyes to struggles, and I mean real struggles, and not the kind that goes on inside my over-active mind, maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to pause long enough to pull the finger out of my arse and really, truly appreciate everything that I have.
Maybe…but I have to be honest. I’m not counting on it.