or, 48 Hours of Very Bad Luck, an Explication of the Unfortunate Circumstances Imperiling our Plucky Heroine, who could Really Use a Drink or Seven
I have never considered myself a particularly lucky person, but up until this point, I've never considered myself to be particularly unlucky, either. However, in light of the events of the past 48 hours, I may have to rethink my stance. Truly, the only explanation is that I have angered some higher power, and must make restitution, perhaps involving chickens. We begin, dear Reader, with Thursday.
On Thursday, which was the last day of two weeks of research at Bamfield Marine Science Station, nearly everything which could in any way go wrong, did so; as what I was doing during the past 48 hours involved research and travel, those are the two broad categories. For purposes of neatness, we will include one more category, entitled Weird and Creepy Shit.
Of course, research is prone to disaster as nothing else is, and so it should not surprise you that on Thursday morning, I discovered that the two populations of sea squirts I had collected, which I had been hoping would show differences and which seemed to be doing so, were in fact different species. On Thursday afternoon, I found that the plaster cubes I had deployed in the inlets for measurement of water movement had not dissolved at different rates in different rates of flow over a 24 hour period, but had instead fallen directly off. Thursday evening, it was brought to my attention that the data recorder for my flowmeter had apparently decided it was too much bother to record data, and had instead recorded only zeroes.
While these occurrences were delightful in and of themselves, when joined by the rather more impressive inconveniences in the category of Travel, they become not merely potholes in the golden road to a dissertation, but part of a sinister campaign on the part of the universe to grind me down. At 5 p.m. on Thursday, while I and a volunteer research assistant were out in the middle of Barkley Sound, we found that as a result of what can only be described as an insanely boneheaded move on my part, we were out of gas. Sadly, the tiny, rocky islet we were on did not have a gas station, and so we had to radio for help back to the station and then wait for someone to come out with a container. In the process, I spilled marine gas all over my sweatshirt.
When we got back, I discovered after dinner that my ride to the airport (about 4 hours away, 2 of which is on pothole- and washboard-laden gravel logging road) could not start his car. Well, actually, the car did start, but then it caught on fire. I found another ride, but he was only going to Port Alberni, so I would have to take two buses and a taxi to get to the airport. I finished packing up my lab gear by about 10:30 and went back to the place I was staying. When I say "went," I mean "walked a kilometer carrying all my stuff," because Alex's truck wouldn't start either.
The next day was tedious but uneventful for most of the morning and into the afternoon, but the universe was just biding its time. At 4:30, after spending 2 hours waiting for buses and 3 hours actually on them, after I was only four miles away from the airport, after I could practically taste the airplane peanuts, I discovered that my flight had been canceled. The next flight out of that airport was Sunday. So I spent another 2 hours waiting and 4 hours on two more buses, which got me to Victoria, where I got to spend 5 hours in a hotel (at, I calculate, $13/hour) before dragging my ass to the Victoria International Airport and catching the 7 am flight back to Edmonton.
While I was in the hotel, the apartment building across the parking lot caught fire.