On Friday I realized that I could free up the time to volunteer for a couple of weeks. And that was the whole idea behind my giving up teaching for independent coding, so I decided that it was a moral imperative to do so. For once, there's a real need, and I can help. So I got out of all my responsibilities, and I have two weeks to groove at the big party at the Astrodome.
I've been busy getting ready, but it all went well. Work responsibilities are satisfied, play responsibilities are in a reasonably happy state, and if I stay in touch, they'll all remain that way.
I started this entry on the plane down. I'm very excited. I want to blog for real while I'm here, but don't know if I'll have time. I wasn't even able to find a place to stay the first night.
So I came straight to the dome and did a night shift. I was told that I would never be able to get in, but it wasn't difficult and I got the nice little Volunteer band without going through any official registration process. I slept on a cot in the clothing sorting room and was jolted awake by the announcement system starting back up, less than four hours later, but I'm still pretty charged. I just need to call the Youth Hostel so I can get one good night's sleep and a shower.
The system dynamics here are understandably horrible, but better than they are reported to have been a week ago. A call goes out for lots-and-lots of volunteers, and 30 minutes later they have next to nothing to do. A few hours ago, the building I was serving food in had run out while the Astrodome-proper was closing full feeding stations for lack of demand. For approximately two minutes, we were told "Don't feed anyone but evacuees-- we don't have the food!", before they realized that we a good deal more food than we needed.
I'm in one of the main computer labs now, in the Astrodome. Very excited. I'll say more later.