Volunteering in the mens shelter brings up all sorts of tasks. They vary from posting signs on vending machines warning of possible malfunction to avoid hungy outbursts, to photocopying Spanish city services directions, to helping someone open a can of Spaghetti-O’s with the rusty, distorted shelter can opener. Rex* approached the desk and placed a thin, clear garbage can liner on the counter. It was the size of a kitchen garbage liner, and the consistency of tissue paper. By the looks of the bag, I imagined a small, hungry rodent living inside for a week.
“Hey, do you by chance have another bag back there?” I looked around and came up empty-handed. “I’m so sorry, we don’t have any. What if we tried to patch that one?” We looked at each other – both slightly amused at the thought of piecing together this mangled bag. “Let’s do it!” he exclaimed. I scoured around for something heavy duty and came up with one small roll of scotch tape. Deciding that was better than nothing, Rex and I hatched a plan – he’d hold the bag down and I’d tape. After several humorous minutes of Rex pointing out hole after hole, and me taping over both our fingers, he holds the bag up for inspection. “Huh” he says, “not bad.” I must say I was pretty impressed by our effort even though the bag resembled a preschool arts & crafts project.
The bag was once again strong enough to transport clothing. “Teamwork” I said, holding up my hand. Rex met my high-five with gusto and gratitude. “Thanks! This is just what I needed.”
*Name has been changed for privacy