removing staples from visqueen and being struck by a wall

29 Aug

Sorry it took me so long to actually write about yesterday. Today just wasn’t a good day. I was in a bad mood. Hormones. Ugh.

But, yesterday was much better than today overall. Besides the fact that I ended up paying $20 for parking because I didn’t realize the parking pay booth didn’t give change.

Well fuck.

I screamed at the machine for a minute, beating it, after making sure no one was around to see me wale on an inanimate object that outsmarted me. That’s the one thing about Seattle I absolutely HATE. You have to pay to park ANYWHERE, except on sundays and holidays. Where does all that parking money go?

Anyway, surprisingly, after I left the house at close to 7:40, I arrived just in time to meet Jamie, the woman in charge of the volunteer program. I’d been told by several people that I’d have to leave by like, 7:15 at the latest. HA! I was very pleased with the lack of traffic. A nice way to start off the day. I walked up to the Center House at the Seattle Center, and it was deserted. It was a really weird to see the place not all dolled up Bumbershoot-like, or at night filled with people and street musicians. But then again, it was 9 am. There were 2 other volunteers waiting with Jamie when I got there – Simon and Breanna. Breanna was the same age as my sister, and Simon was some odd age older than me. I expected there to be more of us, but I was honestly glad there were less of us, because it proved to be a little bit of a chore for the Production team to learn our names. Whatever.

We were working in the Northwest Rooms yesterday, setting up 4 rooms for the art installations. Now I actually have a reason to go visit the art installations – to show Libby, “hey, I fucking helped build those walls, y’all.” However, we didn’t actually start doing anything until 10 am, because the trucks with the palettes of walls came late, and the production team didn’t want to have to direct us showing up which things to take off the trucks and what goes where. It was just easier for them to do that before giving us jobs.

And those jobs included – undoing all the straps on the palettes of walls, ripping off the plastic wrap, and ripping off the visqueen, folding it, and putting it away to be used later. I was in charge of the visqueen with Nein, one of the girls on the team. Yes, her name was Nein. I’ll get to the rest of the awesome names everyone had in a little bit.

And they had awesome names.

But as all this was happening, Breanna was very, very talkative. She was 17 mind you, so naturally, her mouth would run more often than not, but she struck me as one of those girls who overshares. Which she did. Like, she told me all about her job, school, etc. Not that I didn’t want to get to know the fellow volunteers, but I’d hoped that I wasn’t going to be surrounded by people my sister’s age. If I wanted that, I would have stayed home and hung out with Libby all day. Another volunteer came in late – Samantha, another 17-year-old – but she was far closer to me in social styles. She didn’t talk much, just enough to make the day interesting. She’d worked on the Street Team earlier this month for another shift, which is what I wanted to do during Seafair, but all the shifts filled up really fast.

After we removed all the straps, plastic and visqueen, we were to remove all the staples from the wood – which became a much larger task than I’d imagined. I didn’t bother using the wrench, just the staple remover, and I managed to fling the staples halfway across the courtyard half the time, and the rest of the staples just fell to the ground below our feet. Thank god I was wearing good shoes. Didn’t really feel like getting staples in my feet. That would have made the whole day EXPONENTIALLY worse. But I avoided impalement even with the ground riddled with the two-pronged metal fasteners. Once we removed all the staples (or all the ones we could find), it was time to carry all the darn walls inside the different rooms – Lopez-Hidalgo, Shaw, Oly-Orcas, and Rainier. I’ve yet to find out why they’re all named the way they are.

This is where we learned everyone’s names. Seamus, Emer, Elias, Finch, Devo, and Nein. Well, those were the crazy names. There was also Heather, Charlie, Taylor and Tim. But aren’t those AWESOME? It was funny, when Devo told one of the other volunteers in the afternoon shift who Finch was she said, “Finch, like the bird.” Devo seemed to really enjoy my company, as she made lots of conversation with me as we held up walls.

“What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?”

“Oh, I’m a student at UW Tacoma, I work at the newspaper there.”

“Another student! Tim, we’ve got another student. You should take over the Stranger. They need a turnaround. Basically, you could just fire Dan Savage.” And then she make an “ick” face. Tim was also a student, I think at UW Seattle, because he was wearing a UW hat, and working in Seattle, that would make sense. He was the go-to guy on the production team when tallness was needed. Everyone else on the team were about my height or shorter, and Tim was quite tall. I think he was new to the team, as was Devo, mostly because of this:

“To be a part of this team, you need a tattoo. Tim, Taylor and I are still thinking of ours.” Devo told me.

“No, I got mine, it’s right here,” Tim said, and pointed to his lower back. “And I got a butterfly on my ankle.”

“A tramp stamp – you whore!” Devo said.

Conversations were that entertaining all day.

“Charlie’s an intern right?” Finch said.

“Yeah.” Devo replied.

“I want an intern!” Tim shouted.

“Do you want to be an intern?” Devo asked me.

“Right now?” I asked.

“Sure, why not! Tim, there, you’ve got yourself an intern.” She said. Now I think I really want to intern with Bumbershoot next year. Jamie actually told me that they have an online intern for writing stuff – which would a good thing for my comm. major. That reminds me, I have to turn in my major form once classes start. But back to what I was saying – wait, what was I saying?

Oh, weird conversations. This one was my favorite. Not really a conversation, but Devo made me laugh, nonetheless. I was wearing my favorite Threadless tee yesterday, the blue one with an angry kitten catching a huge koi fish. It looks pretty badass. But Devo just kinda stared at it for a second at one point, made a face, looked away, did a double, did a triple take, and then was like, “okay, it is what I think it is.”

“Oh, the cat catching a fish?”

“Yeah. I had a look at it for a minute. Cool shirt, cool shirt.”

It is, isn’t it?

What else? Oh, the walls were fucking heavy. Well, the pink walls weren’t, but needless to say, I didn’t need to work out yesterday at all, and my arms are still sore today. Screw cardio when you got heavy lifting! The walls weren’t pink and blue, by the way, they were just labeled with pink and blue tape to show the pink, single-sided and blue, double-sided walls. The pink walls were a piece of cake to carry, but the blue ones actually strained my arms a bit. It was a nice workout for sure, a nice 8-hour workout. I no doubt build up some muscle yesterday. Nice.

After we brought all the walls and columns into the different rooms, Samantha and I were assigned to the Shaw room with Finch, Devo, Tim, and Elias. It was the smaller room, but just as complicated as Lopez-Hidalgo. We lined all the walls with the pink walls and made an S shape in the middle of the room with the blue walls and the columns helped stabilize the pink walls against the actual walls of the room. The production team would screw the individual pieces together and we’d help them lift them and hold our feet down on the backside to keep them from moving. Then we’d stand there while Tim and Elias screwed the columns to the walls.

We were almost done with one wall, and I was standing the closest to the edge of the piece of wall we were securing at the time, and as it kept shifting when the drill jammed, the column got knocked around without my noticing. I was watching the left side and the column was too my right, and all of a sudden, Elias shouted, I turned just in time to kind of stop it, but not really. The column toppled over on my head, but surprisingly, it wasn’t that heavy and didn’t hurt. Nobody else seemed to believe me that I was fine, but I was, honestly. After I propped it back up, Finch peeked around the corner, “you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m good,” I replied. Tim came around the corner to hold the column in place.

“Are you sure? Where’d it hit you?”

“My head, but it wasn’t very heavy.”

“You didn’t dent it, did you?” And we laughed.

I didn’t dent it, no, and my head was fine. All of this happened in the first four hours. The second shift hadn’t even started yet. Thank god I had an hour break, because I was STARVING. The afternoon shift brought in a few new volunteers, Christopher and Jenny, who were, again, 17. And there was this other guy, who I seemed to have forgotten his name. He was a nice enough guy, and it felt kind of cool that I got to show them the ropes a little bit, as I’d been there all morning. It made me feel more like part of the team.

I’m really excited to go back sunday, and hopefully I’ll be working with the same team, because they were fun. And they made me REALLY want to get a tattoo. Damn immune system. Why do you and my skin have to hate me?

Hopefully I don’t get hit with more falling columns. I don’t need to be concussed during Bumbershoot.

❤ Abby


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