Monday, July 05, 2010

Wherein I devote 17 straight (ha) hours to the community that ignores me

This past weekend, I volunteered 20 hours to Toronto Pride as a result of 3/4 of a bottle of wine. As with my NXNE volunteering, it was a complete shit show and a total waste of time. The following is an overly-detailed account of how my Saturday went:

5:15 - Wake up at housesitting house. Punch their cat in his cat junk for whining at me while I make his breakfast of chicken livers and gravy. Half of the third world doesn't eat as well as this asshole.

6:30 - Arrive at volunteer check-in. Lament pink shirt I'm forced to wear and the fact that the picture for my volunteer badge is the best photo I've taken since 2003. Contemplate scanning it for new Facebook profile pic. Sit around for 45 minutes waiting to be told that my team and I can leave.

7:20 - Walk with group to Vendor Registration tent 10 minutes away. I am the team captain and am completely drunk with power as a result of carrying the walkie-talkie.

8:00 - Darren, a 38 year old volunteer who I inadvertently alienate by guessing he's 40 when asked, goes to get coffee for everyone and a breakfast sandwich for me, a tragic sign of carb-loading to come.

8:45 - We actually do shit for 25 minutes, signing food vendors in and giving them their permits.

9:30 - Chatty-Cathy Darren asks us all what we do and when he learns that I'm new to the city, tells me that he's been here for 7 years and that it "doesn't get easier." I want to punch Darren in the pancreas.

10:15 - A 50 year old white woman in causasian dreads and a tye-dyed muumuu sets up a bunch of hippie-shit necklaces on a nearby picnic table, in clear defiance of those vendors who actually purchased permits. One of my fellow volunteers, a kicky 19 year old aspiring lawyer, asks me if she can be the one to go get all up in Moonchild Rainbowbeaver's grill and, naturally, I say yes. I support her youthful exuberance, but mostly I just don't want to get off my duff.

10:50 - Cindi Lauper begins her soundcheck and I decide to catch a glimpse, handing the walkie over to Darren as secret punishment for getting my breakfast sandwich on a biscuit and NOT THE CHEESE BAGEL I HAD REQUESTED. Turd. In any case, the 19 year old wannabe litigator and I stroll backstage with are super-authoritative volunteer badges and she gets all sassy with the security guard trying to shove us away as I totally gay out when C.Laup passes by within 8 feet of me.

12:00 - A skinny woman volunteer with weird thinning but curly hair arrives, saying that she is a 'runner', meaning someone that can do random errands, but as there is nothing to do, she sits down and joins our crew.

12:05 - I realize this is a man. Stephen quickly becomes a den mother to us all, randomly telling us stories of adventures with lesbians, brown acid in the 70's and jokes with Darren about the joys of leather sex. I want to joke with Stephen about the joys of leather sex. I want to punch Darren in the eyeball.

12:45 - Stephen takes order for coffee and then announces that it'll likely take him a couple hours cause he has to drop off some children. Or Pride buttons. I wasn't really listening.

1:00 - Changing of the guard. Darren et al are replaced by two teenage girls, a quiet Asian who I immediately want to befriend and a curly-haired hippo who reminds me of my retarded cousin.

2:15 - Stephen returns and as Darren is gone I drink both of our coffees, totalling 4 shots of espresso. Lacking is my foam and honey, which Stephen forgot but makes it seem like he didn't hear in the first place. Bloom is sure off the rose with this one.

3:30 - I ask girls what their favourite colour is.

3:45 - Repeated calls are made over the walkie for David. I answer them. No one answers me back. This becomes a running joke that everyone at Pride hates me. This is kinda funny. Not really, but kinda.

4:55 - All that coffee comes back to haunt me and I am escorted to the washroom by Barbara, the little Chinese girl. She goes to the University of Toronto, close to where our tent is and sneaks me into the library bathroom. She's pretty much Michelle Yeoh in Tomorrow Never Dies.

5:05 - I fully Jackson Pollock the toilet bowl.

5:45 - A new volunteer arrives. He is little and foreign and kind of cute. I mentally name him My Little Albanian. He also bears a striking resemblance to this guy who's been messaging me on Manhunt, who incidentally had just had a birthday. I decide to see if they're one and the same, building on my amazingly successful "What's your favourite colour question?" question from 3:30, and ask everyone when their birthday is. MLA's is in August. Myth = busted. But still... I'm fucking crafty.

6:15 - Stephen adds me on Facebook via his blackberry and then leaves.

6:45 - I go for another stroll and some young, kinda cute, kinda stupid guy starts talking me up. I think I've made a new friend but then I realize that he's just drunk and I remember that I don't have friends. Crafty lone wolf am I.

7:00 - Barbara and Tons-of-Fun leave.

7:01 - Twinky boy shows up in a volunteer shirt cinched at the navel and his green-and-white striped underoos more than visibly showing, saying that he's another runner. I tell him that there's nothing to do so to feel free to go run. He smiles huge, yells, "Okay!" and fucking takes off in a flailing jog. I hate him more than Darren.

7:02 - I'm bored. I regret telling Fairy Fox to go away.

7:30 - I try making small talk with MLA and it comes out that he's a huge Mozart fan. We listen to arias on my iPod. Things are looking up.

8:00 - I teach him how to play 'Hot or Not' with a Fab magazine featuring a cover model that looks like Nate from Six Feet Under but totally naked and a guitar covering his junk. MLA says he likes tanned muscle guys with hair only on their heads. I'm fucked.

8:45 - Bag checks at the gate have resulted in a line about a quarter mile long to get in to see Cindi Lauper. A lady asks MLA and I for directions to the beer tent before informing us that she really wanted to bring her kids but that it "wasn't her weekend." Evidently, alcoholism and oversharing does not lead to primary custody. Who knew?

9:15 - MLA and I are tasked with putting up Jones Soda signs all across the top of our tent. I hold the signs while he tapes. We bond.

9:21 - I poke MLA in the stomach. I'm so playful.

9:30 - Things get heavy. MLA tells me all about how introverted he was back in Europe because of his sexuality and how his father doesn't know even now and how he works at McDonald's while going to school for a bachelor of science in biology. I want to hug him.

9:45 - Fresh from the washroom, MLA breathless informs me that that we may get a whole pizza to ourselves if none of the other volunteers claim it. I still want to hug him. Maybe more.

9:50 - Another drunk guy comes up to me and says how much he appreciates the volunteering I'm doing. He then wishes me a Happy Pride and informs me that he's sucking as many cocks as he can in celebration and encourages me to do the same.

10:15 - By the grace of God, we get shut down early. Passive aggressive comments are made at the supervisors about how maybe 17 hour shifts of wasting people's time are a bit excessive.

10:20 - MLA and I listen to Cindi while leaning against a tree. This is his first Pride and had to lie to his father about working all day. He is clearly in awe of the massive amounts of people and music and lights, like a 14 year old dropping E at his first rave. Except instead of E, he's dropping - wait for it - his guard. Deep.

11:00 - We walk back to volunteer headquarters to drop off the walkie-talkie. MLA carries my bag. He's about 5'5" so this is both endearing and sort of funny, too.

11:20 - We walk to the subway, throw out our shirts out - him so his father won't find it, me because I'm an autumn - and exchange numbers, hugs.

12:00 - I get home and talk to Future Roommate incoherently. I tell her that I have a headache which I fear may be do to alcohol withdrawal. I later realize that it's more likely because I've been up for nearly twenty hours and all I've put in my body is coffee and shitty pizza.

12:35 - Receive text from MLA thanking me for a pleasurable evening and that he's never felt so open with someone in his whole life.

Okay, maybe not a total waste of time.


soft nonsense said...

Well I hope you cleaned up after the Jackson Pollock....

Also, I definitely read "kinky" 19 year old, and it kind of threw me off. I get it now, but still.

Nigel said...

1) I miss Toronto something awful.

2) You completely slay me.

Pat Tillett said...

That's a long day! I'm exhausted just reading it. There's too many great lines in there to mention them all, but...

"I want to punch Darren in the pancreas."

"Moonchild Rainbowbeaver"

genius stuff!

The Illustrious D said...

Hopefully my blog can provide you with some humour, masturabtory fodder.

You lived in TO, are a vampire?

My aim is to inspire levity, empathetic exhaustion.

soft nonsense said...

Been there done that.

...With the humo(u)r thing.