06 February 2010

Back at The Foodbank

We're creating a tradition. For the second consecutive January, a group of friends and I volunteered at the San Francisco Food Bank. I suppose there's nothing really special about that, but I'm all about stability these days and it's nice (at least at this point) to have something I do "once a year." I'm sure if I thought about it, I'd realize I should volunteer more. Or I'd think twice about craving stability. At this moment though - in this frame of mind - I am happy to be starting a tradition.

There were seven of us. As is our nature, we were originally running late, then arrived exactly on time. Our task: sorting oranges. I don't know from where they came, but there were thousands of them. We were to keep the ones we would eat, and toss the ones we wouldn't. It sounds simple enough, but it's not. I would eat a lot of oranges that someone else wouldn't. And my standards would be lower if I needed help in the getting of the fruit. The whole thing became personal. I now imagine we should have asked "is this fit for human consumption?" Instead we (at least in my sorting group) asked "what circumstances would push me to eat this orange?" Naturally there were those we wanted to eat right then, those we'd eat if we hadn't eaten in a day and those we'd eat if we had been stranded for two weeks. And then we imagined the food bank clientele, and the possible realities that could have sent them to the food bank in the first place. Yes, we over thought everything. I really think it's just what women do. The men sorted a lot more, a lot faster than we did.

Joel, Jesse & John (men) sorting, packing & deciding.

Tracy, Marbella, Dani, Wen & Kelli (women) thinking, chatting & negotiating.

Marbella & Dani became our new friends. They're 8th graders who were volunteering for their confirmation hours. It was an intimate view into the lives of teenagers. One was sad her mom wouldn't let her bring a boy to a dance. The other didn't care about the dance because she had tickets to a Nick Jonas & The Administration concert. We talked about school and sexting and peer pressure. We adults realized we don't know how to have age - appropriate conversations. And we of course saw some bizarre oranges.

It would be inappropriate to share the ways in which we were holding this orange.

We sorted from 12:30 to about 2:30 or 3:00 and we were exhausted. It's a sad sign of the state of us yuppies. Our feet were sore. Our backs hurt. We were hungry & irritable. Clearly none of us were cut out to work in assembly lines. It's pretty pathetic if you think about it. So let's not.

Take one. Marbella & Dani were leaving & most of us realized we were taking a picture,
Tracy could not resist the wave.

Take two. I suppose it was my responsibility to tell the picture taker I wanted us to be centered underneath the food bank name. But I didn't. But you get the idea.

Our reward for our good deed was an afternoon out. We went to Palomino, where happy hour is served all day, every day. We ordered everything on the menu at least once. I got a free margarita after finding a piece of glass in one I had already started drinking. We left for home sometime after 8. Jesse & Joel went out. I'm pretty sure I went right to bed. Here's to being stronger next year.

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