There's a computer where volunteers have to check in and out. When I got there, someone was sitting at that computer, entering data from a stack of papers. I waited politely. She looked up at me at one point, with a why are you standing at my elbow? face, but then picked up the next sheet and went back to typing in the data. So I gave up. I never checked in.
This is the first shift I've done with the E1 crew, who take care of some of the educational birds. (Educational birds are too damaged to ever be released, but tolerant enough of humans and of captivity to have a good quality of life attracting people and money to the raptor center.) There were two trainees on this shift. Trainees have to be supervised at all times, and of course we do everything slower than people who know what they're doing, but you have to give the trainees the chance to practice even when you're a bit behind and you could do it in a quarter of the time, so this shift ran really long. Towards the end, I finished writing up case notes while Leah, who had been supervising me, went off to get something else done. I waited politely for Heidi, who had also been supervising me earlier, to finish writing up her case notes, to ask if there was anything else I should do. She told me to read back the EASO (Eastern Screech Owl) and clean its cage. (You read the treatment plan and the previous seven days' case notes before you interact with a bird.) Then the other trainee came in and Heidi told her she could leave if she wanted. My feet and back hurt a lot; I had already cleaned an American Kestrel, a Peregrine Falcon, a Great Horned Owl, and a Barn Owl; I wanted to turn the EASO over to the other trainee and go home to eat dinner and watch Orphan Black with Neal, but I couldn't ask, even though the other trainee was not jumping at the chance to leave.
So I cleaned the EASO. Writing up the case notes I discovered that I was so tired I couldn't remember anything about how the bird had acted while I was in the cage. Then I just sat. I couldn't leave until I got Leah or Heidi to check off that I had done an E1 shift, but I couldn't bring myself to interrupt them. Carrie saw me and asked, "Are you okay? You look--"
"Tired," I said. "I'm just waiting for Leah to sign my handbook." And this hurt even more than my feet and my back: the humiliation of being too tired to do any work but too... shy or whatever to ask for what I needed in order to leave.
"Okay," said Carrie. "If you need anything, you can always ask me."
That osprey I mentioned last time got released. May it be many years before we see its leg band again.
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