Monday, June 30, 2008

Gimme Yer Feet, I Have A Fear To Get Over

When my friend Winifred got married some years back, she and all us bridesmaids went to a mani/pedi place, so our fingers and toes could be painted the requisite Bride Approved color (not that it mattered, since she made us wear hose during the wedding. HOSE! IN OPEN TOED SANDALS! IN ALABAMA IN JULY! She hated us THAT MUCH! Ha ha ha.)

It was actually my first time at a mani/pedi place, as I consider that kind of thing a cost that takes away from the important things like rent, gas, and alcohol. So I had no idea that a foot and calf rub was also included with the price of admission. I promptly caught a fit of the Uncomfortables, which I covered with a gigglathon, and no, we can’t take Amy The Writer anywhere.

But yeah, I found it uncomfortable, that someone was kneeling in front of me, in a subservient pose, washing my feet. Dunno why. Guess I couldn’t handle the authority position of it all, like this issue of Cosmo and the article “15 Things To Turn Your Man On” is my royal scepter, and I’m saying Sand those toenails down, you servant! Sand ‘em DOWN!

So when my church announced about a month ago that they were gonna be staffing a footwashing booth for a Homeless Expo Day, I knew I had to do it.

It was Hollywood’s “Project Y!MBY Connect Day.” This essentially is an event for the homeless population of Los Angeles, held at the Music Box Theater in Hollywood. The homeless can get social services and referrals, everything from groceries to driver’s licenses, to getting your feet washed via my church’s booth. The idea of footwashing ANYONE’s feet, much less a homeless person's, filled me with the heebie jeebies, so of course I have to challenge my fear and go for it.

And yet, if it really was God putting a bug in my ear, there sure were a lot of obstacles to overcome to get there. For one thing, the event was being held on a Thursday, from 7am to 2pm. During work hours, and I can’t take off work yet, I haven’t accrued any vacation time. So the most I could do would be to get there at 6am and help them set up, then leave at 8am and hope that enough homeless people came through to where I could sufficiently challenge my fear and see what came out of it.

So I do. I showed up at 6am, and I was the very first person there from my church. I helped set up the booth, and I cut towels. I cut towels for close to an hour, resizing big body towels down to hand towels, just right for drying feet.

They’re expecting maybe 200 to 300 people, but something close to twice that are already lining the block outside the theater. And that’s just at the opening.

When they finally let the doors open, the homeless population is going to the more useful booth, like the social security one, where they can get social security cards. So by the time I have to leave at 8am, there’s exactly one homeless person at our footwashing booth, and she’s already been pounced on by something like five volunteers Footwashing!? Footwashing!? I’ll wash yer feet!

So I got pictures instead.

I cut towels. I feel like Baby in “Dirty Dancing. “I carried a watermelon.” Maybe next year. Maybe.

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