This weekend I continued my efforts to get off the computer and back into the real world to meet new people. After tackling swing dancing (which I can’t wait to get back to), I spent today doing something else I’ve long wanted to do: volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. And it wasn’t just any old volunteer project, it was a wall-raising! Yes! Exactly what I wanted to do.
Last month they were sponsoring a Valentine’s Day build for young single professionals, held on the weekend before V-Day, but a monster blizzard forced them to reschedule it for two weeks later. Unfortunately I couldn’t make the new date. Oh well. That would have been perfect for me though – just what I was looking for. But no matter.
When I arrived at the build site this morning it was pretty much what I expected: mostly middle-aged men with beer guts. However, there were a few people my age there as well – including a couple of girls – and I introduced myself all around. Turns out I wasn’t the only person there for the first time.
When I came around to the girls I looked the first one up and down: designer jeans, overcoat, hat, scarf, nail polish, heels…
“You’re a little overdressed for this, aren’t you?” I inquired.
“Oh, I’m just here to see my boyfriend off.”
Boyfriend. Of course. And moments later I saw her turn to one of the guys and give him a big sloppy kiss before she flounced away. I just shook my head. See him off? You’d think they were two lovers saying goodbye at the train station before he goes off to war. I thought it was a little odd, but maybe it’s just me.
Anyway, the head honchos from Habitat were there and before we started work they spoke to us and gave their little spiel about what the organization does and how it works, and then they introduced us to the family whose house it was going to be, and told us that the family would in fact be working alongside us today. Cool beans.
I found myself occasionally working alongside the other girl that was there and we exchanged a bit of small talk now and then. At one point I happened to glance behind me. Whoa. I leaned my head in towards hers and said, “whatever you do, don’t turn around.”
“Huh? Why – ?” she asked, turning around. “Oh God…”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” I said. “Some people here are suffering from PACS.”
“PACS?” she shot me a quizzical look.
“Plumber’s Ass-Crack Syndrome,” I replied simply. She burst out laughing. I grinned. “Either that or they all bought their pants at The Gap,” I continued. Now she was in a full-on fit of hysterical giggling. Geez. I didn’t think it was that funny.
Later on we met again at another part of the house and I asked, “did you say this was your first time volunteering?”
“No,” she said, “I’ve worked with Habitat three or four times before. I’d like to get my boyfriend to come with me but he’s always busy.”
Boyfriend. Of course.
So after that I was able to relax once I found out she wasn’t single. I always find it much easier to talk to girls then. But never mind that – today I was more interested in the work we were doing for this family. In between our short chats and banter I also got to work alongside some of the other men, including the foreman and the various family members who were helping us erect their house. It was very interesting talking to each person and finding out how they got involved in Habitat.
Then before I knew it, we had the whole frame of the house up. And then everybody was gone. I couldn’t believe how fast the day went. But what a great feeling! I can’t wait to do this again.