I volunteered yesterday July 3, at the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival. I spent about 5 hours in one spot. I was the “Counter”. I stood or sat, when needed, just inside the Main Gate. Not to be confused with the other NOT-Main gates. I personally counted, with the help of one of those hand-held, thumb-and-hand-killing, click-counters approximately 3,500 people.
People of all sizes, shapes, colors, ages, health, and infirmity. It was amazing. The sun shone on me all day. I actually survived the heat. Yay. Moreover my dog survived 10 hours alone in the house without an accident. She always does. But, the few times I have had to leave her alone she has been terrific.
When I first arrived I saw a couple of friends who directed me to the Volunteer Tent. I had to sign in and receive my official, “Hey, Folks I Look like I know what I am doing so, ask me a question.” T-shirt. The first thing I did was to ask for a pair of scissors. I immediately cut the front of the neck open to the top of the design. That made it much better. Now, I could breathe. The women around me looked on in awe. Two of them said, “I wish I had thought of that.” Yeah, well I thought of it first. Before, I put on the shirt. There were so many women and one man who were impressed that I had done that. Some of the paid staff seriously considered doing it. Since they were paid they decided it probably was not the best idea. Poor things.
I cannot wear round collars close to my neck. No shirt collars of any kind. Cutting the front collar out of the shirt made the day perfectly bearable. Because, I was wearing the “Official” Festival T-Shirt people came up to me all day asking where this or that was. The most important question they needed an answer to I really could not answer. “Where are the bathrooms?” I finally realized a better answer than, “I don’t know.” Was for me to tell them the truth, “I don’t know yet.”
Turns out the closest line of port-a-potties was just outside the nearest not-Main gate. Outside??? WTF! Why outside? It makes so little sense. Especially, when four people in front of me the gate tenders informed we newly refreshed and lighter crowd that “Fair capacity has been reached.” WTF? You mean all these people who paid for a FULL day of music get booted because YOU put the pottys outside the venue? Oh, wait a sec. Those who have a 3 or 4-day Button (most expensive) can come right in. One woman was very upset as her kids were still inside. They were old enough to be safe without her. But, still teen-age kids on their own not knowing where Mom went and why she was not back yet, is wrong on every level. Me? I had on the “Official I work here as a volunteer, which makes me special,” T-Shirt. I, of course, got right in. “Whew” I did not want to walk an extra mile around the festival to get to my Max station. Nor did I want to leave the shirt I wore in to the fair at the fair.
Putting the port-a-potties outside fenced in Festival area was WRONG ON EVERY LEVEL Waterfront Blues Festival people. WRONG!
By the end of my shift I was so tired and stiff and sore I was worried I might not make it through the long food lines to get my first fair food of the day. It was also my last. I made it through. Ate it. Left. I still had to walk about half to three-quarters of a mile to the Max Station (light rail). That meant I had to actually find the right Max station. Thank god for internet on my phone. That way I could find the right station from TriMet.org. Then, with the help of my trusty GPS I was able to direct my feet there. On the way as I was limping, my feet hurt, back hurt, shoulders, neck….a man asked me if I knew where to find the nearest Max. I told him, (What is it that makes people think I have a clue where I am going or where their location is????) “I have no idea. I am relying on my phone to get me there.” He was nice. With the TriMet website I found my spot. On the way someone else helped him find the rest of the way to his station/stop. I felt good that I had actually gotten him half-way to his platform. I was especially glad that I got to my platform.
Half way home I realized I needed to switch trains. Luckily, I figured that out one stop before it was too late. As in I would have had to ride the train about another 20 minutes one way before waiting for the right train, another 20 minutes away. Nothing was working. Not my brain, my feet, back, shoulders, neck…. I was beat. Entirely f-ing beat. So, I got to my stop. Because I did not want to worry about parking at the festival I used the Max. However good an idea that was it was looking pretty bad from the standpoint of another half mile walk from my home. Shit. I had to walk home.
At home I opened the door, threw my other shirt inside, called the dog, put her on the leash and took her for her half mile walk. I was afraid if I came inside she would be so stressed from the relief and excited to see me she might pee on the carpet. OMG I was tired.
I am still tired. I hurt all over. I am so tired today. This morning I wanted to sleep in. But, the dog has to have her walk. I have no back yard. So, I have to walk her at least three times a day. Besides, she needs her exercise. Walked, watered, and fed back home it was time for breakfast. I made breakfast, ate it and decided I needed a nap. The bird on the foot of my bed the dog underneath, my fan on and the window wide open, I slept another couple of hours.
I still hurt. The dog still needs her walks. Today is July 4th and I have plans for a picnic with friends. And on I go.