23 10 2008

I was asked by DjLunchbox yesterday if I’d be posting about this, and I told him that someone with “The Organization” was bound to annoy me, as they always do, so most likely… but we’re taking a little different path this time. Be patient with this post and read it, and I’ll give the disclaimers at the end.

Due to the waiver crap I signed, I can’t say much about the the EMHE home build site where members of “The Organization” were volunteers this evening, from 6pm till whenever we left or midnight. And I didn’t really expect to have much to say. But I do.

We arrive at the build site to find, well, chaos. It was a working exercise in severe disorganization and miscommunication. You stand around. Waiting to be needed. Fortunately, a few of us we were needed immediately. We removed un-needed trim through a window of the house to front yard of some neighbor’s house. But it took three minutes to figure out where we were supposed to take it.

Then we stood around. And waited. And maybe 10 minutes later the volunteers were needed again. A small group of us were to follow some guy down the road. And this would mark the point in the night where I started to get pissed off. It was maybe 6:30pm.

Before I rant, I should point out that rugby girls are not your average girl. We’re not crazy weightlifters, but rugby is an endurance and strength sport. We can lift things. We’re totally fine with it… The rugby girls were well prepared to handle our share of the work.

Anyway, they needed us to help move something they were building & painting. There were 6 or 7 of us. At least three rugby girls. And the guy in charge kept saying that the he needed guys to lift this thing. It was something that 4 of us could have handled. Oy.

We walk back up towards the “waiting area.” We join in on the unloading of a U-Haul. The next things up are big rolls of carpet. The guy on the truck warns me, “These are pretty heavy.” I look behind me and see two teammates, my coach and one of the men’s players. I turn back around and say, “We can handle it.” So we take the carpet, walk beside the house, around the back and make a crazy, awkward turn into the basement. Did we do it without a problem? Absolutely. Did two of us walk backwards half of the way? Absolutely.

Next came the wood flooring. My first trip, I somehow ended up with two boxes. No idea the weight, but they handed the boxes to me in such a way that I nearly couldn’t handle it. But I managed into the house, up the stairs and into a room. As did my teammates. The next set went to the first floor. Piece of cake. But each time any girl went back for a box, we were warned, “These are pretty heavy.” In no way did they compare to the Silver Bullet.

When that task was over, the volunteer coordinator asked for two volunteers, myself and my teammate now referred to as Jumping Bean stepped up. What a bad choice that was. We ended up in “The Field”. We were settled into a tent. A tent with a few folding chairs, some scary heating lamps, and more hard hats than you’d ever see in your life. We were checking the “real workers” in. We checked in FIVE PEOPLE. In two hours. We drank coffee, lit things on fire in front of the heaters… tons o’ fun.

We returned to the site, around 9:45 or so, and though we mentioned to a few people that we were leaving, no one had known where we were. Apparently I wasn’t the only one noticing the disorganization, because someone said to me, “We thought you were inside running the show and telling people where to go and what to do!” Yeah, not so much. I may have mad chaos-organizational skills, but nope. I was in a tent. Yippie! We were told that in our absence, the rest of our group had loaded a dump truck with wooden trusses and the left over trim. And then UN-LOADED it. Because guy #32 in charge apparently hadn’t talked to guy #17 in charge. Are you kidding me?

But guess what we were asked to do next? You got it. Load the trusses and trim etc. BACK into the same truck. Ok, no big deal. At this point, a few of the workers realized that I was stronger than they first thought. My ability to lift one end of a 10 foot wooden truss and push it to the back of the truck is apparently impressive. Yeah, whatever. Seriously. Try the Silver Bullet.

It was about that time that a few of us had decided we were done. We’d had it. One of my good friends turns and looks at me and says, “If you and I were organizing this thing, it’s be a damn machine.” And she’s right. There were so many people there. And so many people in charge. And no one knew what the other people were doing. I don’t know how they get this stuff done in 1 week.

So, your disclaimer…. I understand that this situation is chaos. It’s cool. But I guarantee there is a better way to spread the news and have everyone on the same page. Guarantee. My real issue is this: just because we’re girls, please don’t continue to assume that we can’t do something. If I can’t do something, believe me, I’ll speak up!  

Ugh. And for the love of god, please do not make me wear a hard hat ever again.




2 responses

23 10 2008

i can’t really fully express the gender policework that went on at that site. it was so demoralizing, traumatizing. it was like everything i’ve worked for over the years has been for naught, totally disregarded at that work site. i had no idea the world still moved that way. i was pretty sick about it, too

at one point, someone told us to lift a cabinet and we needed 3 girls cuz they were “heavy.” each of us took a cabinet on our own and each cabinet weighed MAYBE 20 pounds.

but you know what? the same thing happens to me every week on campus when i go to haul the 5 gallon water jug onto the water cooler. without fail, some man will stop me in the hall and ask if i need help with it. of course not! i’m not even sweating or struggling, casually carrying the jug. how do these terrible gendered stereotypes get perpetuated???

24 10 2008
Fonda Bruises

You know, that totally sucks. I hear ya and totally know where you are coming from. I think the saddest part of the whole thing, is that it sounds like a lot of manpower was wasted due to unorganiation and that would have driven me crazy.

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