Friday, April 21, 2006


Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. -- Oscar Wilde

I hate volunteering. I know this sounds really selfish of me, but I do. So sue me. But I have my reasons for being selfish with my time and resentful of people asking me to give up free time. It's not that I have always hated volunteering or think it is bad . I applaud people who do. It's just that every time I volunteer, I feel I've been taken advantage of. I occasionally try to volunteer every so often, just to give it a try again. Each time, I end up resentful. This is because one of two things happens:

1. People swear up and down that I'm needed desperately, then when I go, there is nothing for me to do. It's really irritating to get up early on a Saturday morning and go somewhere, only to twiddle your thumbs. This is a complete waste of my time.
2. I tell people I can help out and I'm given the impression that I'm needed for a couple of hours. Then when I'm ready to help, they inform me that I'm scheduled to work for 10 hours. Again, this is really annoying. If you need me for ten hours, why not just say that instead of surprising me?

Recently, I made the mistake of volunteering for The Three Rivers Music Festival. It's an annual outdoor event here in Columbia this weekend. I didn't have much planned, and it's a hop, skip and a jump away from my front door, so I figured why not. Nice people volunteer. It makes you a better person. It makes you feel good. Blah blah blah.

So I went to the volunteer meeting. Our job is to work the booth where they sell the tshirts. Now, someone had already called me to tell me that they'd probably need me "for a couple of hours Friday night." This was fine, and what I expected. When I got there, the schedule has me down for Friday night and Saturday night--a total of TEN hours.

Yeah, because I have no life, apparently...grrrrrrrr......

Apparently when you tell them that your schedule is flexible and any day would work, they hear "I can be your bitch this weekend." Do they really think people want to do this that badly?? Here I was, thinking I was being a good volunteer by being flexible, when really I should have said "I can give you two hours. Take your pick." Gah, do you really have to spell it out for them like that? I thought it was a pretty safe assumption that I can be there for a little while, not during ALL prime social hours. And I can't believe no one else has to work as many hours! That's just not fair! This must be what I get for being flexible.

So now I hate them and am trying to figure out a way to tell them that this just isn't going to fly. Any ideas? Maybe I can think up a good excuse. I feel deceived and I'm annoyed they seem to think I don't have better things to do with my weekend. I don't mind helping, I just don't want to help that much. I'm selfish, I know.

The good news is, there's a decent chance of rain, which would really affect the attendance, so I'm praying for Monsoon '06 so it will be dead and I can leave early. (The funny thing is, we have not had any rain in like two months, and this concert is on the ONLY weekend where there has been a chance for rain. How ironic.)

This festival, btw, is often called "Bobfest", after our mayor, Bob Coble. He has a tendency to really push for this festival, regardless of its success. I read once that he always makes sure one of his personal favorite performers comes to the festival. And based on most of the acts in the past, he must have really bad taste. I am having a hard time understanding why city council is clinging so desperately to continuing this concert. It's only been around for a few years, and it is plagued with problems. They have lost money every year because of rain or because of crappy bands. This year may prove to be no different. I wish they would just give it up and admit defeat. Or re-tool it into something that works. I think they spread themselves too thin--there are about 50 performers every year, and usually about two are nationally recognized. People want to see bands they know. I think they should try to have fewer, yet more popular, acts. I also think they are too diverse in their music--I think it would work better if they focused it a little more. Few people want to see country, jazz, funk, rap, alternative rock, bluegrass, local bands, etc. I'm thinking they should limit it to just a couple of genres. Just my humble opinion. What do you think? Would you attend this festival? I've lived here for about 4 years now, and have yet to want to buy a ticket. It never appeals to me. (You can see a list of who's performing on their website.)

I read an article in the local paper that brought up a good point. We have a St. Patty's Day festival here. It draws 35,000 people for the one-day shindig. Last year, this 3 day music festival only drew 45,000. I really fail to see how it is working. They should look around and see what they can do differently instead of continuing with something that doesn't work.

Ok, didn't mean for this to be an editorial about the festival. Moving on...

K's boyfriend, Navy Guy, just found out he will end up being stationed in Norfolk, VA. This is a little bit better news, but not much. That's still about 6-7 hours away. So she and her man are in limbo for now. I feel really bad for them because it stinks when the purpose of a relationship is called into question thanks to an uncontrollable, outside source. I've been there. It's not fun. That's why I just simply don't date military men or do long distance any more. It's too painful when it happens.

So my oldest friend ever is coming to see me soon! I've been friends with J since I was 13 and I would probably have committed suicide in high school if it hadn't been for her! She kept me sane in our bizarre little world that was CHS. Remember that show, Beverly Hills 90210? That's what my high school was like--kids with their own Mercedes-Benzes. I graduated with about 750 people. I was one of two who didn't have their own car. Girls got boob jobs for graduation presents. People would buy entire new outfits at Abercrombie & Fitch every weekend so they never had to repeat an outfit. Everyone in that town had money to burn. It was surreal. For teens who lived in regular-sized homes with parents who made average salaries, this was social hell. If it hadn't been for J, I would have shriveled up with insecurity and envy.

Anyway, J is coming with her boyfriend and they are going to her family's reunion in Charleston. So I'll probably go with her. But I'll at least hang out with her when she's here in Columbia for a day. I haven't seen her in about 5 years, so I'm pretty excited.

Repo had a job interview with a hotel the other day, and he said it went really really well. I think he will be getting a job offer, which would be awesome. I think he might even be looking at a raise! My fingers are definitely crossed, even though he'd probably be working hours that are just as bad. But at least he wouldn't be dealing with The Pig or people who pull guns on him when he goes to repossess their stuff. I still can't believe he puts up with that!

In Sammy news, he went to the vet yesterday. He was unbelievably good! He just waited patiently as the vet poked and prodded him. Well, except when she took the stool sample. He didn't really enjoy that. But who would? He was such a good boy! He is perfectly healthy and happy. Yay!

Navy Guy is in town for a few days and he's been taking Sammy for lots of walks and runs. Poor little Sammy was exhausted by the time I got home last night! He was too tired to even jump up and greet me. His eyes were half-closed and he had this look on his face like "Please! Let's go to bed!"

This morning I thought he would like to sleep in, so I didn't wake him up to go potty. (The dog, not Navy Guy.) I figured that since Navy Guy is hanging out at our apartment all day by himself, he would just take Sammy out later. Well....of course, Sammy waited until I was 5 minutes late for work to insist that he needed to go out now. I quickly took him outside, where he made the hugest poop ever. I swear, it was a third of his body weight. And there were all these noises which kept distracting him, so it took him forever to finish. Gah! And it smelled so bad I started gagging and I was in a hurry because I was late for work, and it was all so humorous, I started laughing my butt off. So there I was, standing in the middle of my apartment complex, gagging and laughing my ass off, with a bag of dog shit in my hand, nagging my dog to poop faster. I must have looked like a loony tune!


Lori said...

haha. I got the visual. it reminded me of a friend of mine who gags really easily at the site or smell of things. Three of us were leaving the house one day and when we opened the door a stray cat was right outside the door apparently about to throw up. Gagging friend instantly got sick to his stomach and we had to shove him outside with the cat before he messed up the carpet! What a site, a cat and a grown man simultaniously tossing their cookies.Thanks for giving me a laugh this morning!

Becky said...

i'm with you on the voluntering thing!

jennster said...

volunteering doesn't make you a good or bad person. i know one fucked up bitch who volunteers ALL THE TIME, and she still is a shitty person. dont' feel bad about not wanting too. who gives a shit. personally, i think people should volunteer large lump sums of cash to me just because.

Virginia Belle said...

lori-- that story is hilarious! i hope you took pictures. ha ha! (I don't gag easily, so you can imagine how stinky it was!)

becky & jennster-- you guys definitely ease my guilt over hating to volunteer! i've decided that i'm just going to tell them i can't be there that much and just leave after a couple of hours. they can bite me. this way, they won't ask me to do it again. sort of like if you don't want to wash the dishes, just drop a few of them and no one will ask you to wash them anymore. hee hee hee....

Vixen said...

Wow, you are starting to sound more and more like NML, I've been cracking up with your last few posts, seriously you are hilarious! I totally feel you on the volunteering thing. I enjoy volunteering but only for a few hours. After that it just feels like a job. A lousy, non-paying job at that.

I guess it also depends on what you volunteer for. When I did stuff for the Children's Hospital i had a blast every time I went there. I could be there for hours and not even have a problem chilling a few hours more.

You could tell them that you caught the Bubonic Plague from watching the last episode of House. Or that you have the flu. Or that your bf took your car and you are stranded, or that they just "totally suck for sticking you with so many prime time hours and you happen to have a life even if it's eating Bonbons in front of the TV all weekend so you aren't coming!

But in a nice way of course;)

Stephanie A. said...

I get cranky about making plans in general, including volunteering. I make all these plans, and then, when it is time to do them, I get grumpy about it. Then I go, have a great time and feel dumb for being a crankster. But when people expect too much when you're just VOLUNTEERING, well, I figure that's their damn problem.

Have fun with your friend from HS. You're so lucky to have had someone who got you through!

teahouse said...

Yeah, I'm not so good about volunteering either, but I do give a lot of money to charity. Everyone helps in their own way, no guilt required!

My high school was so the opposite of how you described yours. I went to a granola-y, public boarding school where Goth was in, and the rattier your clothes, the cooler you were. It was pretty fun like that.

Stuck said...

Speaking as a guy, I can tell you the first thing that I think about when a woman tells me how flexible she is... so why should a volunteer organization think any differently? If you don't want to give until it hurts, you tell them EXACTLY what you're willing to give.

PS - If K needs any consoling about her boyfriend being SO FAR AWAY, send her my way. ;)

Virginia Belle said...

vixen-- why, thank you. i take that comparison as a compliment, definitely. you might have a point that it depends on where you are volunteering. i bet i would love to volunteer at a school. and i went on friday night to volunteer, and it turns out that they didn't need half the people that were there. so i sorta "forgot" on Saturday. I don't think they even missed me!

stephanie-- i totally agree!

teahouse-- i will say that i do donate money to a couple of charities. so that helps to alleviate some of my guilt. your high school sounds completely foreign to me....i bet it was about half the social pressure/keeping up with the Joneses as mine!

stuck-- yes, i think i learned the hard way. next time, i'll be more specific. then there are no surprises or guilt trips. you crack me up about K. i know she is the textbook "Stuckey Girl"!

NML said...

I was in stitches laughing thinking of you and the dog. I would probably have passed out or run off....Smelling someone else's poo is NEVER pleasant! You have my deepest sympathy and lots of gurgles of laughter ;-)

The Dummy said...

It's not nice for those volunteer organizations to take advantage of you like that. You can always say you were only able to help out during a certain time because of some prior commitments before they gave you the schedule. It is volunteer work after all...

Virginia Belle said...

NML-- i know, it was so funny! the crazy thing is, i'm getting used to it. i just hold my breath and pick it up as quickly as possible. this must be how moms are when they have to change diapers!

DD-- ooh! good way to phrase it. i will have to use that next time. actually, i don't think they were mad. they even emailed me to say thanks. i don't think they missed me.