Friday, July 8, 2011

My volunteering experience, or, When I'm tired I say "and" a lot.

I just got home from volunteering for Reverb at the DMB Caravan. Here's a little recap.

Reverb, in case you were wondering, is an organization, founded by Guster's Adam Gardner, that works with touring bands in order to reduce their carbon footprint while on the road. They're a sponsor of the Caravan, and were looking for volunteers so I signed up. I got the Friday night shift (330-8) which was cool because I'd get a chance to hear Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Ray LaMontagne. Super cool. I was excited.

I had some trouble figuring out the ol' childcare situation- welcome to my world- and left later than I wanted to. Like on the road at 230 and needing to be way the heck by Indiana via the Skyway in an hour. Which would be miraculous if there was no traffic. But there was. There's always traffic. Let me tell you, I'm not a fan of the traffic. I mean, the band I like (Steve Winwood, you are amazing), but lots of cars on the road I'm traveling on is a huge inconvenience. I'm kind of road rage-y. By this I mean I hurl sarcastic, snarky comments at other drivers at a volume that requires my passengers to wear earplugs. And I change lanes, and follow closely, and brake late. It's not a big deal. And it's maybe not my best trait, but I've been told it's amusing to behold, so at least there's that.

So yes. I was late. But I got there and parked and was still allowed to work. Yay! Not wanting to make them wait any longer, I ran from the parking lot towards the entrance. Was not wearing appropriate shoes. Bad idea. I've been running on an injury for two weeks or so and, yeah, it freaked the freak out. So I stopped running and hobbled to the front gate and met my Reverb folks. I'd missed the orientation, so was given a quick run-down of what I was to do: sell stickers. Although, they weren't specifically for sale- you could get one for a $5 donation. All proceeds to NativeEnergy. I'm not familiar with this organization, but the name sounds great, so okay. Let's do this.

I chose to work alone (does this surprise anyone?), took a stack of 25 stickers, and went out into the crowd. I'm not a forward girl. I'm actually really good at selling, but it is extremely uncomfortable for me to approach, and very outside my comfort zone. So I forced myself to go up to a small group of people right away. Here's my thing: Force yourself to do the thing that makes you most nervous. It's part of my high-diving thing. I honestly hate myself for deciding that was a good idea because I want to die of "AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!" most of the time. Anyway, I went up to this group, told myself it was a trial-run and practiced. I let them know about the organization, who they are, what they do, and let them know about the Reverb tents and other environmentally conscious vendors/organizations that were present. I'd been given a sort of Bingo card to hand out to folks as well, and presented it first since it was free, then introduced the sticker and asked for a donation. I was rejected. But I moved on.

I sold the very next time, then didn't twice, then saw a group of slightly drunk fellows and got an idea. I approached them smiling my "I have a secret" smile, not my "I love my customers" smile, and engaged them in conversation. Dudes were funny, actually. I stayed with them for 10 minutes and sold two stickers. From there on out, I stuck to men only. Here's the deal, and I'm just being honest from my experience, so don't hate. If you approach a group of dudes and there's a girl, she'll be hostile to you and they'll follow her lead. If you approach a group of girls, they will listen but not buy. If you approach a group of guys, they will listen and consider. Maybe 60% are in, right away. The percentage goes up if they've been drinking.

So I did well. And I got to see Ray LaMontagne's amazing beard and hear his scratchy, bluesy voice. And I left before DMB came onstage. And I found my car and maneuvered it out of the parking lot without hitting anything and drove safely through the south side of Chicago without getting stuck by gunfire. So all is well with the world.

Listening to: matt pond PA "Last Light"

xo. kb.

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