A couple of years ago I started volunteering for a local theater group. Through that activity I met people who invited me to become an usher at our local Symphony Hall and at the historic Orpheum Theatre. As a Symphony Hall usher, I work for performances of the local Symphony, Ballet, and Opera companies. The Orpheum hosts small touring companies, concerts of various genres, and events sponsored by local arts, educational, and charitable organizations. I also am one of the docents who give tours of the theater. In the second half of 2015, I was offered the role of Usher Captain (oooooh!). I said ‘yes’, believing as I do, in most areas of life, there is no reason not to take money for something I was already doing for free. Besides, I get to wear a nifty, retro-looking, maroon blazer made of 100% virgin polyester. Everyone loves a man in uniform. The hours vary from week to week but tend to concentrate on evening and weekends.
In another spin-off of my skills as usher extraordinaire, last spring the City’s volunteer coordinator let me know the City was trying to hire “Venue Hosts” at the Convention Center. The hiring process to work for the City is more bureaucratic than I imagined possible but after a few months of processing and interviewing I was hired. The Venue Host gig is fun. Occasionally I will encounter a ‘friend of Dave’; a cranky senior citizen who just wants to complain and vent their sense of disappointed entitlement but most of the time conventions or expos are hectic but enjoyable. I help people find their events in the Center, and their cars afterward. I direct them to local restaurants, theaters, or other points of interest and act as resource for local information. I also get to work closely with the local Convention & Visitors Bureau. Many of the events are corporate but there are others as well. Both Ben Carson and ‘The Donald’ held rallies in the Center. The Salvation Army hosted its Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners there as well. The job is part-time. The schedule varies from week to week, depending on schedule of events in the Convention Center.
In addition to these two, I also volunteer with one of the local museums and three local theater companies.
These factors, plus the usual ebb & flow of life with its auto repairs, dentist/doctor appointments, cultural evenings, and social obligations, mean I seem to be forever updating my calendar and juggling things. I’m not complaining. Most of it is discretionary and I can thin out the calendar whenever I start to feel over-committed. But there is a loss of spontaneity and I am occasionally confronted by the density of it.
Harper’s Other Dad sent me a note last week about an invitation to meet another couple for coffee. The first gap in the calendar that would accommodate such a casual meeting was 21 days hence. Yesterday, H.O.D. learned a friend from the Midwest would be in town on Friday evening and hoped to connect. They had not seen each other in a long time. Arranging it was not a problem, really. I just moved his Symphony ticket from Friday night to Saturday night and adjusted the dog’s day care schedule. Sadly, I won’t be able to join them, however. My next uncommitted Friday evening is February 26th.