Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Feeding the Hordes Continues, Part III

So, it turns out that when you approach people with a clipboard and pen in your hands, they start to get that trapped look in their eyes. Tonight, I walked up to anyone over eighteen at the Scout meeting and began my spiel. Some of us stood outside while the boys met inside with committee members. Mosquitoes swarmed us, micro vampires looking for a meal.

"Are you guys planning to go to the Camporee?" I said, approaching one group wearing my best salesman smile.

"Ah, I'm not sure yet. When is it?" one guy said.

"It's the weekend of May 31st," I said, still smiling. By the time I'd run through the whole thing with the second adult, the first one, still reeling from my assault, was warning the others that my intent had nothing to do with the Camporee. If they tried to say 'no,' thus avoiding the dreaded sign-up sheet, they were stepping right into my trap.

"I don't think so. I think there's a tournament that weekend."

"Ah, so if you can't make it to the Camporee, maybe you could help out at the pancake breakfast? We have a conflict and Mike has asked me to get things going." Then, I quickly rattled off the details. Before they could check their mental calendars, I said that they could come for part of it even if they were busy later. One guy said he was going to Hawaii. Yeah right. I'll believe that when I see the boarding passes.

Once they were on to my tricks, quite a few more people signed up to go to the Camporee. I lost a perfect pancake flipper who had originally said he was too busy for the Camporee. He actually told me outright that a Camporee was going to be more fun than a pancake breakfast. Bummer.

In the end, though, I have more than the four adults and at least six kids that I need to keep things going that day.  A few of the adults even have food handling permits. The really good news is that one of my recruits is someone who's done this kind of thing before. She momentarily infused me with a calm that could only be described as Zen-like. She knew Costco volumes, baking bacon tricks, and suggested a pseudo-buffet line to speed up service. By the time I was done picking her brain and begging her to come, I was quite a bit more confident about this pancake breakfast. I just might be able to pull this out of the hat yet.

On the way home, I stopped at the library to pick up my holds. There was a movie, some music, and a couple of books of Japanese prints waiting for me.  I could feel my new-found confidence slipping when I ran into a friend of mine before I walked out of the door. We stood outside amid another swarm of mosquitoes and talked. Maybe they were the same mosquitoes and had somehow followed me to the library in my car. I told her how I'd dropped one commitment, the club she's in, only to add another. I told her that Mike had put me in charge of a pancake breakfast. I'm not sure I like being in charge of anything.

I'm not sure how you figure all that food, food for somewhere between fifty and two hundred people," I told her. "I'm not even sure how long bacon can sit in a chaffing dish before it starts to go bad."

"You could pick my husband's brain," she said. "He's a chef, you know."

"Really? I could. That's a good idea. Hey, maybe he could come, make everything happen, and somehow I could stay in bed that morning with my head under my covers," I said.

"You only get services like that if you're married to him," she said and she laughed as if I were joking. So, I pretended that I was and laughed too.

"Yeah, that. I can't make that work. There's the problem with that tall guy that I really like at home."

So, my job now is to send out notices, make up fliers, and to get back to that Zen-like state. My meditation words will be 'bacon, pancake mix, butter, syrup, coffee, cream, sugar.' Breathe in, hold, and release slowly. 'Bacon, pancake mix, butter, syrup, coffee, cream sugar.'  And repeat, ignoring any monkey-mind suggestions about induced illnesses and no shows. 'Bacon, pancake mix, butter ... '

Thank you for listening, jb

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