In lieu of birthday drinks this year, I decided to shed some of the self-absorption and selfishness I acquired in the last year by inviting friends and family to join me in volunteering on New York Cares Day.
On Saturday, The Lovely Jess, A Lover and a Fighter, Azee, The Younger Sister, Steph and Amy joined me in sprucing up a high school on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
We scrubbed graffiti and the odd bit of spunk off walls and desks, cleaned classrooms and painted doorways, trim and radiator covers, among other things. We scarfed down Munchkins (which I picked up along with the thirst-quenching coffee for the questionably-dressed panhandler), BS'd like there was no tomorrow and had an all-around awesome time in the process.
Cleaning ourselves up afterwards was a bit of a bitch, as you can see by Jess's nails. We tackled the stubborn paint with a one-two combo of slimy gunk supplied by the custodian and a big ol' jug of paint thinner. Many manicures were scheduled on Saturday, I assure you.
By 3:00, we were good and high on paint fumes and quite giddy as a result. While cleaning up in the slop sink, I was quite taken with the noisy faucet. Its whiny, whistling shriek seemed familiar to me. And then I had my turpentine-fueled epiphany: "Hey, that sounds like Rudolph's nose."
Everyone agreed. And we laughed like it was the.funniest.thing.in.the.world. At least I did. Forget bong hits, if you want a real high, spend some quality time with oil-based paint and little-to-no ventilation.
New York Cares is a great organization. For you locals in need of something meaningful to do with your free time, I highly recommend giving this group a whirl.
I want to thank everyone who came with me on Saturday and all of you who sponsored my time with a nice donation. I really appreciate it. See you next year.