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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Community Involvement

Getting involved in your community is an excellent way to form new relationships, align your passions with the heartbeat of your fellow neighbours, eat great food, and hear some awesome tunes. There are many other benefits, depending upon your area of interest, your skill level, and your popularity among the masses.

Now, I will assume that getting involved in hockey, curling, and ringette opens up a cultural world all its own, but I can't speak from experience on any of those topics. We prefer to subject our children to violence from the safety of the computer screen. It involves a lot less protective gear, fewer trips to cold arenas on saturday mornings when Bugs Bunny is on, and it keeps the expenses down so that we can pump the kids full of ketchup chips and chocolate milk on Friday nights, ensuring a Saturday morning sodium hangover that keeps them sleeping well past the witching hour.

I can only expound on the kind of volunteering that barely involves ones' children. They're old enough to stay at home without a sitter, microwaving weiners to their hearts' content while their mother storms around town do-gooding in a thinly veiled attempt to bolster her impossibly fragile sense of well-being. Allow me to elaborate.

In many arenas of volunteerism, an annual appreciation dinner will be par for the course. This is something that must be screened for prior to signing any binding documents. If there is no annual dinner, I would strongly suggest that you move on to other oppurtunities to serve your community. Depending on how many ways you find to serve, you can manage to avoid cooking up to four times in a year. And that's saying something.

Serving your community means that you break out of your comfort zone, expose yourself to people from different walks of life, and build up your tolerance for a variety of perspectives and opinions. This is particularly true if you break into an area which has previously been dominated by patrons wielding walkers, partial plates, and lifestyles of austerity. In this setting, it can be mildly disconcerting to descend into the bowels of the hosting underground facility. A virtual sea of grey heads do not rise up to greet thee, there are no dimmed lights to take the sting out of entry, and no throbbing dance beat eases your transition from the upper to the lower level.

So, feigning confidence, one is required to casually scan the perfectly formed rows for a familiar face. With relief, I catch the eye of the guy-with-the-tremor. He's friendly and chatty and that's going to take a lot of the pressure off. I spot an empty chair two spots over and sink into it with palpable relief. Only then do I raise my eyes and make full contact with none other than: The Lady I Once Disagreed With. Hemming her in is The Member Of Perpetual Silence on one side, and The Servant of Frightening Harshness on the other.

I begin relying on the assumption that my compadries don't have crystal clear recollection of all events over the past decade of volunteerism, give or take. Beads of sweat forming over my brown, I firmly afix a stiff and forced; if crooked smile. Shifting my attention left, back to tremour-guy, I attempt to provoke a lengthy dialogue to sway my attentions to something a little easier on my psyche. This is when I recognize that I'm seated directly beside The Partner of the Shameless, Endless Stare. I myself am locked into this gaze, and I'm not seeing any immediate resolution to the position.

With some relief, our host announces the imminent arrival of our dinners. He assures us that its' quality is unparalleled, and after three consecutive years of roast beef, the chicken will make a welcome change.


Now, I'm no foodie; but having married one, even I know that "cutlet" is an attempt at describing: "mashed, smashed, pureed parts-of-anonymous-and-unwilling-farm-animal formed into flat disc and covered in mysterious crumb-esque coating".

My panty-hose are starting to feel pretty itchy.

And this is all before the plate is set before me and I note the congeling sauce that attempts to disguise the pureed lips and bums in disc form. There's a blob of liquified string beans on one side, and a divinely, redemptively edible portion of pasta on the other.

I wish I spent more of my free time on pro-ana sites so that I'd have some techniques on how to push these abominations around my plate, fulling convincing my dinner companions of our mutually rapturous culinary experience.

Hockey is now beginning to seem like a viable alternative. Arenas allow for freedom of movement, and come complete with canteens where the puree of choice is a tubular steak slathered in the red of ketchup. Much more convincing. I could volunteer to sell raffle tickets, mend crotch straps, or be in charge of the lost and found.

But then again, with my questionable public image, failing eyesight, and underachieving offspring, I think I've found my volunteering niche. With some palette training and interpersonal relationship seminars, I think I could really become a somebody in my community.

The zone of one's personal comfort has a static amount of elasticity, after all.
So, I'll have to adapt to serving my community whilst carrying that static energy where it rightfully belongs: on my very own secondhand pants.

*any resemblance to any real and actual events is purely your overdeveloped sense of personal importance working overtime.


Karla said...


I think Brian said there was a really great recipe for chicken cutlet in the Moosewood Cookbook.

Anonymous said...

Now I'm really, really sorry we couldn't make it???
Maybe next year.....or not.

janice said...

For any volunteer gigs I have done, I have never gone to the after-party. Now I know why.

(You are the laughter of my life!!)

Anonymous said...

I have been involved in Community League hockey for 12 years - and I wouldn't change a thing. Over the years we have made alot of friends through hockey. Yes, there is alot of driving and alot of time spent in an arena, but the joy and fulfillment that my child has received from hockey over the course of 12 years has been worth every hour. One more year left of hockey and I am sure it will leave a huge void! But I guess I will still have 3 more years of volleyball to look forward to, and really, sitting in a gym for 6 months out of a year is not any better than a hockey rink! And when it is all done, I am sure I will finally take my vacation that hubby and I have been putting off for years due to our children competing for our limited funds and time, and through all this, I would probably be glad to have that chicken dinner waiting for me at home so I wouldn't have to try to create a meal that you have 10 minutes to eat before you run out of the door again! MK

Jules said...

conjeled sauce on pureed bums and lips sound extraordinary! i love it! can't wait to hear about your next "free meal".

joyce said...

;) oh what you're all missing...

Judy said...

I think I threw-up a little.