Of Strangers and Discarded Clothes

Sometimes, life as a web designer can feel a bit thankless. If you’re not careful, you can start to feel like you work all the time, study new stuff the rest of the time, and all you have to show for any of that is a bunch of ugly, client-ruined sites, spam email templates and hideous, wordy banner ads. You end up secretly waiting for a friend to move or have a meltdown just so you can step in, help and feel sort of useful. Seeing as how only one set of friends is moving in the near future and I don’t actually wish meltdowns on people, what’s a girl to do?

In an effort to feel like less of a waste of flesh, I signed up to volunteer with Hands On Nashville.

Hands on Nashville has a super neat online calendar where you can just sign up for volunteer jobs a la carte instead of having to commit yourself for long periods of time. I looked at my schedule and signed up to help sort through donated clothes at a thrift store. Granted, going through giant bins of clothing at a thrift store doesn’t feel as “kumbayah” as feeding the homeless or doing flood relief, but it’s something, and it takes place in air conditioning.

My co-volunteers ended up being two high school students who were volunteering to get free Ke$ha tickets. Let’s not judge. We all make mistakes in high school, and if wanting those tickets gets those kids to do community service, then that’s a good thing.

So, it’s me and two teenagers digging through bins of donated clothing, keeping the good stuff and throwing stained and faded things into a giant box. I think it took about 3 minutes for us to become the fashion police.

“Oh my God, acid wash. This should be trashed just out of principle.”

“Who donates underwear to a thrift store?!”

A few highlights included a t-shirt emblazoned with “FREE DANNY TATE!” (a phone web search revealed that he was some musician who was imprisoned for some white collar crime), a home made toga (as opposed to those designer togas) and a shiny gold jacket that prompted me to yell, “STOP! Hammer Time!”

After our shift was over, I did a little shopping (I am physically incapable of entering a thrift store and NOT shopping) and found a skirt and a vintage hat which cost me all of 4 bucks after my 50% college student discount.

Do I feel like I’m saving the world? No.
Do I feel like I did something helpful? Kinda.

Did I get out of my house, break the monotony of day to day life and do something new that didn’t cost me anything? Did I have a good time with two total strangers and a bin of other people’s discarded clothes? Well, yes.

I have always been a fan of strangers and discarded clothes.

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