I have been continuing to volunteer as a Milk Monitor at Elli's school. Initially I had hoped that getting out and volunteering would be a positive, enjoyable experience but the more I do it the more discouraged I get with the whole process. It isn't as if the work is hard or annoying as all I do is sit in a chair, take change and hand out cartons of milk for an hour. Getting out of the house and doing useful things is something I enjoy but I find myself looking for the 'useful things' part and not finding it. I am primarily selling chocolate milk. This is not a helpful thing for the kids. If I were selling regular milk it would be much more reasonable but even then I can't find a particularly compelling reason to suggest that regular milk is better for the kids than fountain water. City of Toronto water tastes fine and is extremely good for you (as much as water can be) so is selling milk even doing anything helpful? And if it is questionable that selling milk is even being useful then how do I justify selling 90% chocolate milk with all its added sugar? If somehow getting enough calories were the problem for these kids it might make some kind of sense but that certainly isn't the case; these kids need less sugar, not more.
When I started out I thought that I would probably just do a little bit of cleanup and such and keep myself busy. I was operating under the assumption that the union rules preventing me from lifting a finger wouldn't be enforced but it turns out I was mistaken. Yesterday there was only one staff member overseeing the entire lunchroom of ~160 kids so I decided to grab a cloth and clean off some tables so the second group of kids could come in and I was told to stop working. Rather than get things done in a timely fashion the staffer did it all herself while I sat on my chair staring at a wall. What a pathetic waste. It is strange because I don't mind volunteering when there is work to be done. Generally I am happy as anything working really hard even on simple tasks as long there is some reason to be doing what I am doing. Just sitting there doing nothing pisses me off though, if I am going to be putting in time my time had better be *used* for something. After all, I could be slaying pixel monsters otherwise! It reminds me of my first coop job working for the government which was a miserable exercise in boredom and uselessness. They didn't care what I did at all but at least I was getting paid to be there.
I figure I will finish out my year doing this because if nothing else I am getting to see and learn new things but my starry eyed idealism is wearing very thin and I am only 3 weeks in.