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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Maple Grove Volunteering

At 1:00 pm today, I left our apartment with my bag of juice, snacks, a glasses case, sunscreen, my cellphone (but not my Ipod, since somehow everything in it got deleted (nooooooo!!!!!!! My Adam Lambert songs!!!! *cries in anguish*) and Itunes tells me it's corrupted every time I try to stick it in the USB slot) and went to the 16th Arbutus bus stop. I had checked the bus schedule, checked Google maps, texted the bus schedule on my phone, and found out that there was a bus arriving at 1:09 pm, and I decided to take that one; it would leave me 15 minutes to find my way back if I got lost and arrived in Alaska instead. But nooooooooo, the bus comes at 1:22, leaving me 8 minutes to get to Maple Grove Pool and no chance of arriving in time if I did happen to bus to Alaska accidentally. So everyone who relies on careful planning; abandon all hope when it comes to the public transit. You're better off buying a private jet to fly you there, since with all the time combined you spend waiting at bus stops, you would become a billionaire anyway. 
Actually, you would probably just waste it on something else even more pointless. But at least it would be FUN pointless and not oh-my-god-why-is-the-sun-so-annoyingly-hot-today-and-when-is-this-stupid-bus-going-to-come-I-could-have-stayed-home-instead-but-I-can't-go-back-now-because-I-might-actually-miss-the-bus-and-that-would-be-even-stupider pointless.
    I don't use monthly passes anymore (thank God! I put it in my wallet, my wallet gets lost, I attach it to my key-chain, my key-chain gets lost; story of my grade 8 life) , so I took out one of the concession passes that you put in the slot machine and got on.
    "Thank you" the bus driver tells me, like all of them do. I smile back even though inside I am cringing, thinking of the 15 minutes I spent aimlessly waiting for the stupid bus. There was around 11 blocks from my apartment to the pool, and no, I did not want to walk there even though it only takes 20 minutes. I did not want to arrive covered in sweat, ok?
    To top off my lovely journey to the pool, the bus was not displaying the proper stops. We are almost at 41st Street, "Next stop is 45th" the sign says. We almost arrive at 45th Street, "Next stop is 49th" it reads. I see my stop right ahead: 51st Street. "Next stop is 60th", the sign proudly displays.
I get off anyway, trusting street signs are more accurate than the bus stop display. I walk a couple blocks to the right; voila!!!!!!!! Maple Grove Pool: a lovely outdoor pool with a playground and grass on all sides.
    At the front desk, I ask the worker where volunteers should go. "Go talk to that lady in the red shirt there." she points and lets me in without taking the entrance fee. The lady is a lifeguard. I walk over, introduce myself, and started working with the other two girls on the cotton candy machine. One of the girls is from my badminton class - my only familiar face of the day.
    We start chatting randomly.
"Do you like Asian songs, or white songs?" the unfamiliar girl asks.
I assume by "white" she means the mainstream songs over here, but before I can answer...
"Let me guess!" the girl from my badminton class says, "Asian, right?"
"How do you know that?" the other girls asks.
"You look like an Asian song person!" she tells me.
"Uh... I like the songs here." I tell them.
"Ha!" the other one says.
"I'm an Adam Lambert fan" I say.
"What? You like 94.5?" they ask.
"I'm an Adam Lambert fan." I repeat.
"Ooooh." They say.
"He looks like (name of someone I've never heard of and do not remember)." They say to each other.
    How to operate a cotton candy machine and other procedures:
Dump a bunch of coloured sugar in the cup in the middle, making sure it does not overflow.
Be prepared with a paper cone in hand.
Turn on the "motor" switch.
Turn on the "heat" switch.
Watch the thing spin around at a billion miles an hour.
Once you see flossy strings coming out, stick your paper cone in, and turn the cone around in your hand while circling the cone around the cup.
Keep doing it until you have a lovely amount of sugar floss on the cone.
Admire your creation.
Realize it's melting in the sun.
Sell it in a hurry.
    I got bored of making cotton candy after awhile, so I went to a tent across the pool where they were face painting for free. No, I did not want my face painted! I wanted to paint other people's faces.
At the tent there were other things too; colouring sheets with crayons, sidewalk chalk, 'tattoos', and balloons.
    The first girl that came up to me wanted a heart. 'This should be easy enough' I thought. You do not know how annoying face painting can be. There's no way to shade, faces are soft, and the tip of the crayon like thing has to be wet to just the right amount otherwise it will not draw, or drip all over the place.
    I got better, though. It soon became very fun.
"Hi there!" I beam at them.
"Hi" they say shyly.
"Wanna get your face painted? It's free!" I call.
"Ok" they say.
"Take a seat! What would you like?" I smile.
"A (unicorn/ seahorse/ mermaid)!" they say proudly.
"Uh... anything else? Less... complicated?" I ask hopefully.
"Um..." they ponder.
"How about a flower?" I say with enthusiasm leaking out my ears.
"Ok!" They smile.
"What colour would you like your flower to be?" I ask.
"Pink!" They say.
"We don't have pink... would you like purple instead?" I say.
"Ok!" They smile.
    Here's what I drew for my lovely customers (very cute toddlers and kids!): flowers, butterflies, ladybugs, hearts, frogs, rainbows, clouds, suns, stars, vampire teeth with dripping blood,    and a crowd favourite (for the girls anyway (I did it for one girl, and all the others who saw her wanted me to do it for them, and then other girls saw it, and wanted me to do it for them, and so on) - princess makeup. That's right: PRINCESS MAKEUP. It's actually the simplest one to do. First of all, I do "eye shadow" (solid, one tone swoop of colour on their eyelids) then do these bead like things on their forehead (in this kind of pattern (the "|" shapes would be one colour while the " ' " shapes where in another)):
'    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    '
     '    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    '
          '    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    ' 
               '    |    |    |    |    |    '
                   '     |    |    |    '
                         '    |    '
    The beads on the forehead thing was something I remembered from when I was around 5 or six. There was a festival around where we were living and I looooooooved getting my face painted back then. I went to the tent, and a lady gave me the bead design above. I felt like royalty for the entire afternoon... I loved it! I hoped the girls for whom I drew like it too!
    At around 5:40 pm, we began to pack up. We folded up the tent, the chairs, and the tables, gathered up the paper, crayons, face paints, and sidewalk chalk. While the other volunteers took all the tables and materials back to the building, I stayed behind and help the lifeguard shove the folded up tent back into its bag. You know those books you read where there's this giddy teenage girl gushing about how hot a lifeguard is? Everyone's read one. I'm not going to spaz like that, but I have to say, every single male life guard there was exactly what they described in books. I swear to God, it's true. I mean, from all the descriptions of lifeguards you've read, put the best features together: tan, fit, muscular, tall, nice hair. THEY ALL MATCHED THE DESCRIPTION.*glares at floor*
    While we were putting the tent in its bag, I put all my attention to staring at how the fabric of the tent bag was weaved together, how wide the zipper for the bag was, how the tent fit in, basically kept myself from looking at him at all unless I had to. Not that I was too much of a help. Most of the putting away needed pure strength. Guess who had more. *glares at ceiling*
    There was one table left, so he went to fold that up and left the tent for me to roll back. Fair enough, except he folded it up, carried it to the building, and had to come back to help me with the tent because it kept flipping over on my long journey to my destination 20 meters away. I know he was being nice, and I should have been grateful, but right as he came to me, the thing flipped over again. I hate feeling helpless and weak, what with the past discrimination of women thing. *glares at wall*
    "Thank you." I said as he wheeled it the rest of the way gracefully.
    I went back to the cotton candy tables where they were wiping up melted sugar from the machine. There was a jumble of extension cord on the ground, and I carried it back to the building. I walked in, but had no clue where to put it. I asked another lifeguard, with a towel draped over his shoulder, in the room, and he showed me the shelf where all the cables went. "Thank you!" I called again as I hurried out the room.
    The lifeguards had all just come out the water... In other words... shirtless. It was like a scene out of a book where things were described a little too perfect. I tried not to let my eyes wander anywhere and walked back to the cotton candy tables. They had finished wiping away the sugar, and we folded up the tables to take them back. More lifeguards everywhere. I don't think any of the female lifeguards went in the water!
    As we were about to leave, the lifeguard I talked to in the beginning called us over, asked for our names, and told us that we were the best group of volunteers to work with. I don't know if that's the truth, but I was touched!
    I left right after, wanting to get home. The bus came after eight minutes of waiting. On the bus, I met the girl from the cotton candy stand again, and we chatted until my stop came. She told me she would add me on Facebook so we can tell each other about volunteer opportunities we hear of. I arrived home by 6:30 pm.
Fun day!

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