Oh, what a day it has been. Fresh from the outdoors and inside my flat now, I’ve just returned from a day out that began at 4.30am when I woke up, through 5.33am when I boarded the 25 bus and 6.09am when I turned up at the volunteers’ tent, to 2pm when my volunteering job was done and 3.20pm when I left St Peter’s House Library with a few new books to (hopefully) browse in my free time.
As late as Tuesday this past week, I signed up to volunteer at the Brighton Half-Marathon 2022, the main charity organiser of which being the Sussex Beacon. Sussex Beacon is a Brighton-based charity that supports people living with HIV (the charity’s shop is actually one minute from my School’s office & common room – it’s the store with Freddie Mercury, which I saw on my very first September afternoon in Brighton). I don’t think I personally had any contact with the Sussex Beacon people, but on the day I worked closely with people from the events company that was contracted to organise the event. The Half-Marathon was very big – it had about 10,000 runners and many people spectating – but I was at the volunteers’ tent almost all of the time, so I never witnessed the magnitude of the event in whole. I only popped out about 200 yards from the tent or so, to use the generously spared coffee vouchers at a coffee van that was dispensing drinks from the back of the van (which looked pretty cool, and the variety of syrups they had available was adorable – they even had Pumpkin Spice Latte, S’mores, and Speculoos flavours).
My job was to help at the volunteers’ check-in – tick off their names, dispense hi-viz vests and breakfast bags. For about half an hour prior to the run’s start (9am), there was a frantic flurry of people looking for the baggage drop-off area. I started repeating “that way, about 200 yards or so” to everyone who stopped by (approximately every 5 seconds), even though I wasn’t sure what 200 yards were and if it was far or near. The weather today has been great the whole time and I was much less cold than I expected – in fact, I didn’t feel particularly cold at all despite ditching my raincoat and hat and never putting on gloves which I’d thought I couldn’t do without, but this might have something to do with being inside a tent which both stopped the wind and trapped the heat from the sunshine. It’s been sunny all day and it’s still is, and it’s 5pm right now and it really feels it should be dark by now because I guess I’m still not used to the idea of Spring coming, although I do see crocuses and daffodils springing everywhere. Mighty crocuses and daffodils. They really cheer you up. Add sunshine and you feel ecstatic, add rain and you feel like Sims will soon start running around in a mania because you’d made the decision to purchase the Seasons expansion pack for The Sims 4.
Some photos from the day:
And a compulsory para-reflection:
I don’t know what it is that makes me so happy when I volunteer. The explanation of ‘satisfaction from the fact that I have helped someone’ seems just a little bit too cheesy an idealistic. Thought: if I wanted to make it less cheesy but probably no less idealistic, a possible explanation might be the satisfaction from having taken an action towards establishing a world that does not rely on financial incentive and the consequent exploitation of workers but upon voluntary work and the free goodwill. A sort of indulging in an anti-capitalist crusade, the thing that seems to captivate so many, especially higher education students in their early 20s. But that just sounds not very me. I guess I’ll have to keep thinking.
By the way – plug: Ways to help Ukrainians today – GlobalCitizen.org