TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am? There isn’t a writer I know of who hasn’t, or hasn’t wanted to quote Edgar Allen Poe. I feel I get bonus points for doing it accurately. But truly, I am nervous. I’ve never volunteered for anything in my life; unless that volunteerism was directly related to my job, and then it was more like slave labor for a good cause than volunteerism, in my opinion. Never have I walked into a place, unannounced, unexpected, unknown and said “Hi, I want to volunteer.”
Nervous? Indeed, I was terrified!
In all honesty, I had no reason to be. Around a big round desk worked other volunteers who greeted me a hearty hello. The volunteer coordinator was as chipper as could be and was thrilled to have “another one”. I was afraid there would be formal training. I brought a change of clothes in case volunteering took place on the spot. I was handed a sheet of paper and told to check everything I would do.
Landscaping: Unless someone was pouring a bag of dirt into a three foot pot meant for a pretty flower, this was beyond what my back could handle. I guessed this wasn’t actually the job description and I did not check it.
Paperwork: Yes, I’m the queen of that.
Folding towels? Also know that by heart.
Website management? One of my umpteen majors was internet communication, I so got this. Coordinator lady, whose name is Megan, was extremely impressed.
Now for the holy grail of Humane Society volunteerism: Cat and dog socialization. Can I get an AMEN! This is why I’m here. Oh yes, right, I’m here to interact with people and enrich my life in Clinton. But the doggies, the kitties! How can you say no to those gorgeous little faces? I fell in love about fifteen times during my tour.
The first was Smokey Jones, an adolescent male cat looking for some lovin. He was a purrfect silver grey except for this white stripe running down his nose. There was too much tour left for me to smuggle him out. Not to mention the wrath of Jeremy when I showed up with a cat.
Next up was a pitty mix named Smiley. I don’t remember his real name; things were moving fast at that point. Smiley actually had a home to go to, which was perhaps the cause of his ear to ear permanent grin. A happier dog you wouldn’t meet. (I’m including my own, which would look at you serious as a heart attack if given a Whopper and say “What, no cheese?”)
There is a “get acquainted room”, which is similar to a space my mom came to love her Trevor, but it has an outside, so the dogs can “take a break.” There is similar neutral ground in a dog park of sorts. You bring your existing dog, the shelter brings their potential dog over, and if play or ignoring happens, you have a match! Other wise there are eleven acres for the dogs to romp and roam.
The cats don’t have it so well. Some earn privileges in a play room with staff. Despite the business brought by various factories and establishments, Clinton is still a rural area. There are many feral cats to contend with. It is the job of the Humane Society to get them when they are young kittens and young adolescents, and socialize the crap out of them. Some of the adults are just too far gone; they can never be domesticated, which is a sad reality of the job. Not that the workers don’t try. They give it their all. But farm cats might always want to be farm cats, and dumping them on the doorstep won’t change that. But it will be part of my job to try and change these cats, young, adolescent and old, to give them all a fair shot. It’s what they deserve.
I will also get to help socialize the pups, young and old alike. I’ve done a lot of training with Fredo, but he’s smart and willing to learn. Hopefully some will be too. But if I can train stubborn Miss BrieBrie to sit with a mere hand signal, I think I can work with some of these dogs. I don’t believe in any certain dog training program, but my vet did give me a good piece of advice. Dogs want. They always want. Make them work for it. So, dogs, get ready to work, there’s a new sheriff in town.
I’m sure I will have to do my fair share of nasty cleaning as well. Dogs don’t come with a self clean cycle. They drool, they pee, they poo and they love to roll in the nastiest things. I’m okay with this. Ever since I had my tonsils out, my gorge reflex has nearly gone away. If I can pull desiccated chipmunks out of Fredo’s mouth, I can handle what these dogs throw at me. Or throw at the floor, or throw wherever. I’m good.
Cats are a different story. I can’t clean cat boxes. Cat poo is the ultimate no-no. Sorry fellow workers and volunteers. Toxoplasmosis happens and it ain’t happening to this immune compromised chick. You go ahead and have fun cleaning that stinky pile of poo while I snuggle with Mr. Cuddles over here, m’kay? But seriously, it is a dangerous disease and if you don’t believe me, there are warnings right on the box. I’m all for being love bombed by kittens; I’ll just skip the painful and possibly deadly pathogens.
The one thing I do know about today is that I have no idea what is going to happen today. I’m nervous, I’m scared, I’m exhilarated and I’m ready. I hope I like it. I hope I don’t come home complaining what a waste today was. I hope I’m ready for more. I just hope. And that is all any of us can ask for.
By Nicole Cater
Why did I move to Clinton? Love? Pssshh… not good enough. I know no one. I sit in my house I slave over so that it has become just short of perfect. Perfection requires money. I have none. This means I also cannot leave this prison to socialize were there anyone with which to socialize. There’s not. My main form of socialization is watching the Wal-Mart cashier flirt with my boyfriend.
I have no hobbies. Not for lack of trying. My baking skills are rusty. New hobbies seem to crash and burn before a decent attempt is made at starting them. I have no money, so I can’t buy more books. And I’ve read all the books over and over again.
I don’t want to cook dinner and do the dishes but if I don’t, no one will. I don’t want to play taxi to my teenager but it’s the only thing that gets me out of the house. We never go where I want. We only go to the video game store or to pick up his girlfriend. This isn’t exciting. This isn’t even interesting. On a scale of one to ten, this is a negative five.
I’m sad. I’ve been here less than a month and I hate it. My friends are not here. True, I’m sure their lives are just as mundane. But they are mundane without me. Is this life? No friends, no hobbies, and endless dinners I don’t eat, dishes I didn’t dirty, car trips to nowhere? Did all our parents hit this point and think “This…I struggled and screamed and begged for this?”
I don’t want it. This godforsaken area is so isolated even the birds think twice before taking a shit overhead. Shopping? If you count Wal-Mart, which I don’t. How long can I shuffle through Walgreens pretending to look for nothing before security is called? There is only one coffee house that that isn’t the size of a hut with windows on both sides. Ice cream comes in one flavor; Dairy Queen.
Sure, this seems like big time living to someone used to a one-stoplight town. But I’m stifled. I hate it. I’m used to a stop light on every corner. This is a pioneer village. And I just want to leave.
By Nicole Cater
Slut! What do you think of when you hear that word? More importantly, WHO do you think of when you hear that word? Because what is a slut? Is it a woman who has a lot of sex? Is it a woman who has a lot of sex with many different men? Are sluts only male oriented or can lesbians be sluts? Is it just a woman who dresses provocatively?
A Google search yields two definitions for the word slut. One: A woman who has many casual sexual partners. Two: A woman with low standards of cleanliness.
Let’s take a deeper look at these definitions -- plus some time honored accepted others.
First, a woman with many casual sexual partners. I get it, we’re descended from Puritans… sex is bad. But the truth is, sex is great. Sex is fun. Sure, monogamous sex is awesome. But we’re all animals and you don’t see a lion shunning five of his female pride members for the sake of monogamy. The truth that no sex educator wants you to know is that as long as you take the proper safety precautions, casual sex with multiple partners is completely safe. Just ask men. They certainly don’t have the problem with it that women are taught to have. Don’t know you; want to hook up? My penis says no problem. And it should be pointed out that men are having consensual sex because, dammit, they like the way it makes them feel. So it’s time to drop the hypocrisy and admit that women can like the way sex feels too. If we didn’t, none of us would even risk getting pregnant.
So let’s review. Sex feels good. Consensual means both parties agree. Despite eons of oppression, women are just as allowed as men to own their sexuality. Sex can be had safely. Ergo, women who like to have sex and like to do it with a variety of men are following the natural order of things. They are not sluts. If you want to continue calling them sluts, fair is fair, and call that man a slut too.
Moving on… a woman with low standards of cleanliness. This is vague as hell! All of a sudden I’m a slut because I don’t give a rat’s ass about the dust bunny colony under my bed. I submit the following proposal; take away “woman” and you are going to have more sluts that you know what to do with. My boyfriend is a slut because he will let dishes sit in the sink for a week. His son is a slut because he can’t possibly get his clothes into the laundry hamper. My mom’s dog is a slut because she tears toys up and leaves them everywhere. I didn’t was my hair today, I’m such a slut. Sluts, sluts everywhere.
But do you see my point? These definitions are so ridiculously arbitrary that they are hard to defend. And those are the actually definitions. I overheard, “She let a guy finger her and sucked his dick; she’s a slut.” Whether said teen caved to peer pressure or truly enjoyed her minor sexual escapades, this foray into adulthood doesn’t exactly a slut make. “She slept with my man; what a slut.” Nope, your man slept with her, he’s the slut, sorry. “Look at that short skirt; she’s dressed like such a slut.” Even if we were to claim the word slut as valid, it has absolutely nothing to do with style of dress. You, however, are dressed like a moron.
Like the fine feminist I am, I’m going to cap this off with anything men can do women can do too. Sure, maybe we can’t always do it better. But you can’t do it as well as us. But there is only one set of rules here, rules for the human race. Male supremacy is a joke. But the saddest part is that they aren’t even in on the joke. Your penis allows you one thing and one thing only; peeing standing up. Whoever lied to you about the rest of the benefits it earned you, go find and address them. We’re sick of your shit.
This is our showcase page, containing various submissions from various Authors. Please look for snippets about the Authors following their pieces.