Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Yeah, it's been a while. I've been really wrapped up in my job lately.
Tonight was a nice change. I left work early and went to the Bialystoker nursing home on the Lower East Side to make Thanksgiving cards with New York Cares.
Each person has to make 8 cards and then deliver them to/chat with 8 different residents. That's the assignment. NY Cares provides all the supplies and for the first part it's basically craft hour as you sit at a table, cut out paper turkeys, and shoot the shit with other volunteers.
When looked at in comparison to my advertising job, it was the most fulfilling, creative thing I've done in weeks.
I did not have to attend a series of kickoff meetings or map out a schedule of deliverables. I just started making the card. I didn't get in a fight with an information architect over whether the card should be folded lengthwise or horizontal for maximum usability. I didn't have to go through 5 sets of revisions to change the copy from "Happy Thanksgiving" to "A Very Happy Thanksgiving" then "A Very Happy Thanksgiving But Not to People Who Don't Celebrate Thanksgiving" then back to "Happy Thanksgiving" once again. No.
I just wrote exactly what I wanted and the clients were happy. Well, the ones that were awake were happy. Some were sleeping, some were taking baths. One was masturbating and didn't seem to be at all embarrassed by the interruption.
"OH HELLO THERE! I WILL JUST PUT YOUR CARD OVER HERE!HAPPYTHANKSGIVINGTHANKYOUBYE!"
Oh God.Oh God.Oh God.Oh God.Oh God. I have just seen an 80 year old man masturbating.
Until then, my biggest fear had been waking up Alma. I know her from bingo, and she's one mean bitch. Let me tell ya. She doesn't get bingo she will cuss you the fuck out. She doesn't like volunteers and she doesn't like our shitty old cards, either. I knew she'd make fun of my Turkey sticker first round deliverable and yell at me.
I tiptoed in her room like it was the lion's den. She was asleep, despite all the lights blazing and Jeopardy on the TV.
I put the card on the bulletin board next to the one someone made her for Halloween and hightailed it out to see the next resident, a Latino gentleman blasting salsa in his room.
It amazes me how much nursing homes and college dorms are alike. Loud TVs. Loud music. Casual pajama dress code. Communal eating. Card games. Gossip. Sleeping in. Heavy drug use. And it's really expensive to stay there, even though you'd much rather be on your own and kind of don't want to.
Someone call up the Animal House cast and see what they're doing. I've got a great idea for a reunion movie...
Posted by Erin Bradley at 11:40 PM