And I Did This For Free?

A week later and the snow is FINALLY melting. But I think it’s saying something that it was 50 degrees on Sunday and we still have a decent amount.

But in my eyes, the LIRR’s reputation has been damaged beyond repair. And I don’t even live on a block that wasn’t plowed until several days after the storm!

Though, uh, this is what the view from my front door was 24 hours after the storm was over. And yes, there is a street out there.

I did make it into the city to do my volunteering on Wednesday, the last of the three street team days. I had to wake up extra early to make sure the trains were running (cue bitter grumbling), because the night before, the website said service would be “near normal,” but the schedule still wasn’t up. Seriously, someone should get fired over this. >.<

After driving to the train station and parking in the snow (narrower streets and four-wheel drive being necessary to get into a parking spot FTW!), I took a 10:40-ish train. I sat across from a couple that probably would’ve been absolutely adorable… if I didn’t have to sit facing them for the entire ride. I had to constantly stare off into the dusty corners of the car to avoid feeling like a creep. But, of course, this could just stem from me being single and maybe a teeny bit jealous of their hand-holding, cookie-buying, ice-skating happiness. (They really were cute, though.)

I got to Penn Station at 11:30-ish and grabbed a quick bagel and orange juice at Au Bon Pain. And by “quick,” I mean “stuffed half in my face and ran.” My team was meeting outside of the Borders in Penn Plaza between 11:45 and noon. I wasn’t really sure what (or who) I was looking for, until I spotted about five people wearing Pinstripe Bowl knit hats. So I headed in that direction, checked in, and got my bag full of fliers. And when I say full, I mean FULL. Seriously, there had to have been five pounds of fliers in that thing.

It was kind of weird at first, since most of us didn’t know anyone, and those that did knew the one other person they came with. I’m always really nervous before I go somewhere/do something where I don’t know anyone. But I have to say, those experiences are some of the most memorable in my life; sleepaway camp, Endurance, college, and Castle Con, to name a few. Absolutely terrifying at first, but they all worked out quite fantastically. It’s fascinating to see what happens when a bunch of strangers are thrown together. It really shouldn’t be terrifying, because everyone else wants to make friends too! So keeping that in mind makes it much easier to open up and be friendly. In the case of Castle Con and volunteering, it’s really interesting to make friends with people of all ages. I don’t really consider myself as having many adult “friends” – there are adults I like and get along with, sure, but during these kinds of things, I’ve made adult friends. It’s cool to see that people of all ages are still basically the same. And I like it when people don’t judge me for being so much younger than they are! :)

So anyway, I started talking to a 20-something guy named Sherman and a 40-or-50-something woman named Debra. They were both really nice, and we ended up splitting off together when we all decided it was time to head out. We thought it would be a good idea to hand out fliers in front of sports bars, so we found a couple just down the block. Debra went inside several and ended up getting rid of ALL her fliers by leaving them with the bartenders for people to take. Smart lady! She left Sherman and I after about an hour and went to do her own thing, and we were stuck for the next three hours trying to get rid of the rest of ours.

Long story short: it was cold. It was long. It was New York City, where people don’t like being solicited on the street. And did I mention it was cold? I wore three pairs of socks, my snow boots, leggings, sweatpants, two long-sleeved shirts, my winter coat, a scarf, gloves, and the Pinstripe Bowl hat they gave us… and I was FROZEN. Froooooooozen. It was a nice day, too! But after four hours standing outside? Not so much. We went into Old Navy and Duane Reade to thaw a few times, but my fingers were still cold to the point of being numb.

I don’t even know how many fliers I handed out. I could probably count them on one hand :P. Seriously, this job is HARD. I’m just not obnoxious enough to be successful at this kind of thing. I didn’t get in anyone’s face and force them to take a flier, so the people that took were actually interested in what I was yelling (which was “Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, tomorrow afternoon! Syracuse and Kansas State!” …over, and over, and over, and over…

But seriously. Never again will I walk past a person handing out fliers on the street without looking at them. It sucks. And I'll try and take fliers when they're shoved at me, because standing in the cold for hours and feeling like you're not getting anything accomplished is brutal.

Eventually, Sherman and I went into some bars and left a stack of fliers each. But, when 3:30 rolled around, we still had gazillions left in our bags. We headed back to Borders to meet up with our team captain again. You can’t even imagine my relief when everyone else pulled handfuls of fliers out of their bags and pockets! At least I wasn’t the only one with a problem doing this job! :)

After that, we were free to go. Well, we were basically free to do whatever we wanted from the get-go, but hey. So I hightailed it into Penn Station and promptly got a peppermint hot chocolate from Starbucks… to warm my hands, of course! And maybe because it’s delicious. But just a little bit.

I caught a 4-something train and listened to my boys Street Corner Symphony on the way home. I was completely EXHAUSTED! It didn’t quite hit me until I was actually at home, but I was about to pass out before I even peeled all my layers off. And the bottoms of my pants were soaked from the snow, but I was ready to sleep sitting on the bottom stair in my house with them rolled up around my knees – I was THAT tired.

…Though I think I stayed up until at least midnight anyway. I’m just an idiot when it comes to my sleep schedule sometimes.

I didn’t go to Good Morning America the next morning. There was no way I was catching a 4:09 am train into the city to stand outside for another four hours, this time without the ability to duck into a store to get feeling back into my fingers. Nooooo way. And I didn’t go to the game either, even though all volunteers got a free ticket. If I had more of a vested interest in either of the teams I would’ve, and if I had two tickets so I could take a friend I would’ve… but I didn’t, so I didn’t. I watched from home though, and it was a hell of an evenly matched game!

Overall, I think this was a good experience. I’m not sure if I’ll do it again next year, and I’m so, SO glad I only had to do it once, but the people I met were nice, and it should be a nice line on my resume. And I got a free hat!

...But it's huge and awkward looking on top, so I don't even know if I'll ever wear it again. A free t-shirt would've been sweet, but I guess beggars (and people who work for free) can't be choosers. Oh, and I'd like you to meet my baby and the bane of my existence, Nicky. :) I much prefer him on my shoulder to wreaking havoc on the floor.

Speaking of my resume, how did I forget about more than half the sports teams in the greater NY area when I was thinking about internships? o_O So the Islanders, Rangers, Knicks, Jets, and Giants have been added to the list, as has Madison Square Garden and the WWE. So if anybody knows anybody, let me know! Please and thank you!

And now it’s one in the morning, my post new epic episode of Castle high is basically gone, and I'm out of things to say. Time to quit while I'm ahead, methinks!

Oh, and happy 2011!

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