Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Carrying the Banner

This past Sunday, I went on volunteer overload for the city-wide food drive my church puts on every year. I took a route to distribute flyers and pick up donations as usual, and went one step further when they added an extra service project to the mix.

In our third meeting of the the three hour church block, they asked for volunteers to go out on Monday night and hang banners off of bridges over the freeway. I thought to myself:

"I have never hung anything off of a bridge before. It can be one those stupid bucket list goals that you say you've done but never aspired to do in the first place, like sing primary songs while riding a scooter up a mountain or signing a petition."

So I raised my hand.

The five of us who went agreed that we should meet the following night at 5:30, hang our four signs, and then go to our church potluck at 7.

At 6:45, we were still fastening the first sign. Any hopes we may have had of going to said potluck were gone. I'm sure you can all imagine my devastation and disappointment.

All in all, it took us four hours from initial meet-up time to when I got home instead of our planned hour and a half. We are very grateful we decided to go at 5:30, as opposed to our other option of beginning at 8:30.

Here are some other things I learned about hanging banners, in case you were wondering:

1. When one of your bridges is in the vicinity of a stadium that is hosting the Battle of Alberta (Stamps vs. Eskimos), it is advisable to get there before all the crazy football fans are swarming the area and celebrating as they leave the game.

2. If possible, choose bridges that have other signs already fastened to them. That way when you have five novice sign-hangers, you can look over at the other banners every thirty seconds and copy what they do even if you don't have nearly as many cool tools.

3. It is advisable to not waste all the screws you are given on the first sign, even if it is the most obnoxious bridge you have ever seen and has a grate over the rails. Doing so will require a side trip to Canadian Tire.

4. Zip ties are the greatest invention imaginable for securing the bottom and can reduce the time to put up a sign from 45 to 20 minutes. That, and experience.

5. When putting up a sign to advertise for your event, you can gain free advertising by waving at passersby. They will usually honk back their appreciation (especially if their team has just beat the province's capital), and the whole process becomes quite enjoyable until one driver decides to show his appreciation by showing off his middle finger to the food bank.

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