If you don't know this about me, I'm a bit of a misanthropist. Maybe a nicer way to say it is that I have social anxiety. Either way, people, especially in a large group, and me don't mix well.
So when I became part of Team Unicorn at the Color Run in Brownsville, I just tried to take deep breaths and not freak out.
I was expecting to have a simple morning of giving out water. I had volunteered to be part of the Color Run, which was benefitting LLS. I was moved to a color team, which didn't seem bad. But then one of the organizers noticed my teammates and I were a small group and he still needed help with the mascot, which was a Unicorn.
The organizer eyed my teammate Jose for the role. I volunteered, but they didn't want me. I first thought it was because I was short, but then I realized the Unicorn had to be a guy.
While I knew the mascot role would be trouble, I find hiding behind a mask is easier than the job I would have. I was the handler. I had to stop people from bombarding the Unicorn. I had to corral people into some sort of order so everyone could get their photo taken.
And not just people. People who were pumped up from the run and all the excitement around them. I don't blame them. I just wanted to avoid them.
I washed my hands like crazy when I got home. You see, I would take the photos for people with their own phones. And cell phones are filthy, filthy things. People take them to the bathroom. They use them while eating. Very talented multitasking mothers use them while feeding children or changing diapers. They're dropped on the ground and inside purses, another germ-infested place.
But I digress. Let's see I got whacked with a color pack. It was headed straight for my face, but the camera I was holding up took the hit for me. And then I dropped the camera.
I played the villian at times. "No, you can't take a picture with the Unicorn. He needs water."
When it was time for his second break, it felt like we must've been there for hours. Surely, it's probably 1 p.m. It was 11. The Unicorn did some more rounds. The event was wrapping up. We happily packed the Unicorn costume away. We went to sign out. Mostly everyone was gone. But, alas, we didn't get signed out.
We got reassigned again. We disassembled some barricades. Jose stopped me from trying to carrying the heavy parts. I moved the smaller parts. And that's what I was doing, when I felt that familiar tug on my lower back. Ouch.
Jose and I signed out a few minutes later. We grabbed some bottled waters on our way out. Jose got one and asked, "Are these free?"
I replied, "I hope so" and grabbed four bottles. "I've been taking them all day."
Former high school water girl (really) finally running.