I’ve been busy this summer doing volunteer work. One of the “jobs” I have is a temporary one, a seven week course teaching art to seniors at JASA (Jewish Association for Services for the Aged) but like the old advertisement went “you don’t have to be Jewish“ to take part in any of the services that are offered. We meet in a large room in a housing complex located in Chelsea and the number of women (no men have signed up) varies from week to week. They are charming and inspiring, with one or two of the women in their late 70’s & 80’s including one woman who is 90 years old. She arrives using her walker that turns into a chair, and her fabric covered paper plates are lovely. I brought in old Brooklyn Academy of Music film schedules which are long and scroll like and gave them the assignment to paint, color and collage on them, and some of the results are wonderful. I can’t give them very complicated assignments like I give to my class of retired schoolteachers at the UFT but as they say I just go with the flow. The other volunteer job is more or less permanent and that is my one day at week helping out in the kitchen at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. I’ve returned there after a long absence. I worked in the kitchen for about 4 years in the mid 90’s until I burnt out. I usually work the salads, bread and fruit stations for about 3 hours returning home to Brooklyn totally exhausted but glad that I’m back there in the kitchen. They serve lunch to about 200 to 300 clients a day, and although not fancy the lunches are nourishing and carefully prepared. At the end of the day my jaw hurts from saying “would you like an apple” 300 times. The 3rd volunteer job that I was going to do was to help teach computers and the internet to seniors in my neighborhood, however I dropped out of it, because I couldn’t stand the young woman who was running or ruining it. From the start I didn’t like her, and found her behavior inappropriate to say the least. My problems with her began when she wanted to meet me for my first interview at an outdoor cafe so she could bring her two pit bulls with her. I immediately emailed her back saying that this would not work for me, as I have a deep dislike for these dogs, especially since I was nearly attacked by two of these creatures a few months ago on my block as I made my way to the subway. Was she the fat slob that owned these two monsters I wondered as I typed my email to her? In response to my email she sent me back a long stupid response telling me how wrong I was about pits, that she was the founder of pitti pats a pit bull organization she founded to change and educated people on the greatness of these poor misunderstood animals, and that she hoped that I would one day change my mind about them, but she would of course meet me somewhere else. Red flag. She was a skinny nervous not unattractive young lady who I thought was ok and that I could deal with her in spite of her pit bull bulling. However during the meeting at a Starbucks she dropped the fact that she was a member of the conservative Republican club, which I did not need to know, and now I was really not liking her. Soon after she started to bombard me with many many e-mails about this and that, most of which I thought unnecessary, especially since most of the stuff she mentioned could be discussed at the next meeting she had set up with all the teaching staff. We started to bicker through e-mails and it didn’t get any better when she announced that our next meeting would take place at the Conservative Republican Party’s offices that were located in the neighborhood. So now she was politicizing the class. I went to the meeting on a cool rainy night and was uncomfortable being there, what with these large horrible portraits of Ronald Reagan and William Buckley hovering over me. In fact I was disgusted and really annoyed with her especially when she started to bring up the health care reform bill, but she stopped when I shot her a look that said SHUT THE FUCK UP BEFORE I STAB YOU WITH MY PENCIL. She was making me nervous and I was disliking her more and more. Finally after another week of many of e-mails and phone calls from her including one in which she asked me to make calls to 12 of the students to confirm the class dates and help them with any transportation problems they might have. She was too busy she said, and I reluctantly agreed to do this, which was a chore as many of them were Chinese with poor English. After 45 minutes of this I had enough. “Oh you didn’t get their medical records, we must have those.” She told me through another one of her e-mails. I refused to do that as I thought it was against the law, not my job and an invasion of their privacy and I would have no part in this. I sent her an e-mail telling her that if I knew that I was suppose to be her private secretary I would not have signed on for this volunteer job, and that the medical information that she needed should have been gotten through the proper channels and that I had enough of her and I decided not to take part in the computer class. She responded with the most virulent disgusting emails I have ever received. The creep would not stop and after three more of her long and crazy rants I told her that I would be sending her emails to the group so they could see what a piece of garbage she was. I blocked her address and sent all her emails along with a letter of complaint to the head of the community organization that organized the class. I received a very nice email from the head of the organization apologizing profusely for the pit bull’s behavior and the bad time that I had. Hopefully she is now languishing in volunteer hell along with her pit bulls.