"O, thou comfort of seeing thy familiar face in this foreign land."
There. I did it. It's a quote now. See the quotations? CHECK IT.
It doesn't matter how familiar, just as long as it's somewhat known. Say I were in Thailand, and I see an American. And that comforts me. And all of a sudden, this American is my new best friend. And we bond. Simply because, well, we are familiar to each other. We are both obese and pale. And that is comforting. This is what I'm trying to convey.
On Day Two of community service, I had ventured there alone. My fellow arrestee had to work that weekend, so I decided that, being the big girl that I was, I would do it all by myself! I hiked up my training pants, ditched my ba-ba, and waltzed into that place like I had been living there my whole life.
"You can't wear sweatpants, miss."
Damnit! Thirty-two seconds into the door, and I'd already lost some street cred. Luckily, I had on another pair of pants under that one. So in I go again, and as soon as I enter, I'm searching for a familiar face. The first day of C.S., I had wanted to talk to no one. (The quieter you are, the more intimidating you are. Silence = feared by others. Don't ask me why, it's just how it goes.) But now, alone on Day Two, I wanted someone to talk to.
"Dair yous is, gurl!"
YAY! My friend from Day One!
(Notice the vocab change: trash-partner becomes friend.)
So I sit by her, showing how UN-prejudice I was, and I am immediately comforted.
Look, I'm not going to ramble on. Day Two was boring as hell. I found one familiar face, which was comforting at first, but only that comfort can last so long when you have an entire day of walking against the wind awaiting you. All we did was pick up trash from 7 am to 2:15 pm. So instead of boring you with the stench of the litter, I'm going to give you a little lesson on Community Service. All of the below were things I learned and witness on my second day at the Bog of Eternal Stench. Which is not nearly as entertaining without Hoggle.
"Hello, class! Welcome to Community Service 101 with your teacher, Ms. Ferrier! Have a seat, children. I know none of you are old enough to get arrested yet, but one day, you will be. And a lot of you will. Why do you think we teach D.A.R.E. and G.R.E.A.T. classes? Because we know the majority of you are gonna need them. Why do we teach them to 8 year olds who are too young to comprehend any of the information given? Why don't we teach them to 15-year-olds who actually know what a "drug" is? Hell if I know. Moving on."
When picking up trash, you will always, always find condoms.. Used? Unused? DON'T FIND OUT. But there are a lot of people having sex out there, and apparently, a lot of that sex takes place in moving vehicles on the freeway. Condoms do entail "safe sex," but not if you're driving at the same time. Someone needs to tell these idiots this. At least these idiots aren't trying to have idiot-children.
A ten-dollar bill might be found. But it's not likely. So don't get your hopes up. And if you find one, don't tell anyone unless you wanna get mugged on a median. Because there's nowhere for you to run when you're on a median. Unless you wanna get mugged then killed. And that's just a pathetic way to end your life.
An unopened beer could be found, and someone will more than likely chug it. This is both disgusting and desperate. Beat this person, but do not join them. Even if it's still cold. This is no excuse. One beer is not going to help the next 7 hours you have to clean up other people's shit.
They will tell you that you might find a meth lab. Yes, "a meth lab." This is not an actual lab, this is a little bottle with "um, stuff" in it that looks "uh, weird, I guess." They won't really go into detail about what it looks like, or how to recognize one, or give you any hints as to how you might know one when you see it, but they will tell you this: "IF YOU FIND ONE DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH IT OR WE'LL HOSE YOU DOWN AND HOSE EVERYBODY IN YOUR VAN DOWN AND YOU'LL HAVE TO GO HOME AND GET YOUR COMMUNITY SERVICE HOURS TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU."
Don't bring your cell phone in. It's against the rules. If they catch you with one, they make you leave. Apparently, back in the day, cell phones were allowed. But people were using them to call up their friends when they were picking up trash on the side of the road and having their friends drive by real quick and throw shit at them. Wendy's...McDonald's...weed...beer...liquor...cocaine...the works. Can you imagine? Having someone chuck cocaine at you from out their car window? And then an hour later having someone come bring you french fries? What the hell? People are fucked. You really can't go half a day without your lard? Good grief.
Don't bitch or you'll get slapped like one.
Don't cuss or you'll have to leave.
Don't try and inappropriately touch the men. Men and women are not allowed to touch each other "until 3 pm; then y'all can touch."
"YAY IT'S 3! FINALLY I CAN TOUCH A MAN!"
Right. Like that's what I've been thinking this entire time I've been bagging someone else's used groceries. "If only I could get my hands on a MAN, right now. SHIT, how many more hours till I can cradle some balls? 4? FUCK. I don't think I can get through this."
"Well, that's it for today's lesson, kiddies! Remember, don't go home and tell Mommy and Daddy what you learned. Just show them. Show them by eternally staying away from crack and from buttcrack, because you can only get one of those in the joint. Until tomorrow, children!"
The day was 8 hours long. Hopefully this story took you 2 minutes to read, which doesn't really convey how my day was, but I don't want to put you through that. I'm here to give you the highlights and get the fuck out. Besides, Day 3 still awaits.
And that one. Is the grand finale.