Last week I arrived at the local food bank for a volunteer shift (note: I am not bragging about my altruism; I am required to do volunteer work all summer because of what I did to the sheriff’s daughter for school). As I approached the building I noticed that it was directly next to the county house of corrections and that there were a bunch of dudes in jumpsuits looking at me from an outdoor enclosure.
I was so busy ruminating on this that when I entered the lobby of the food bank I didn’t immediately notice that someone was lying flat on the floor. My offer of medical assistance was refused, as the situation was stable, and I was directed to “just follow those guys and go upstairs.” ‘Those guys’ turned out to be a group of young men doing community service, one of whom hassled me in the elevator, but whom I followed nonetheless.
We all headed to a volunteer orientation area, where I noticed that every other person there was part of a large group – mostly guys from tech companies wearing matching Special Event t-shirts, and another bunch of people in normal clothes who were obviously co-workers. When the food bank’s volunteer coordinator saw me sitting there in my normal clothes, she assumed I was with the Normal Clothes Gang (despite my panicked why is everyone else together and I’m so alooone expression), and that’s how I wound up spending the afternoon making weekend snack bags for poor kids with the good people of Welch’s Grape Juice.
Humorously, due to some sort of hivemind psychological phenomenon, some of the Welch’s people took my sudden presence in their group as evidence that I actually worked at Welch’s myself, although they had never seen me before and I had not arrived with them. The man standing next to me in the assembly line had to repeat himself roughly four times, the poor guy, as it took me that long to understand what he meant by, “I know you from R&D, right?” They were all quite friendly, and insisted that I pose in their company photo after our volunteering was done. I went home, tired from putting six hundred and fifty containers of off-brand Easy Mac and six hundred and fifty boxes of shelf-safe chocolate milk into bags, and looked forward to my next shift.