My research is all about adaptation.
Recently, a pump started acting up in my lab. So I pulled the system apart (with the help of someone who might have an idea of how to put it back together) and ordered a new pump and new hoses to go with it.
Except the new fittings on the new pump now don't match the old fittings. And one of the new hoses won't work in the system.
So, today I ordered some bushings that simply will allow us to screw the old fittings into the new fittings.
And then, I went to the auto parts store. This is how that conversation went:
Me: Hi, I'd like to buy a straight radiator coolant hose.
Attendant: Ok, what size do you need?
Me: 1 and 3/8 inch inner diameter.
Attendant: ... What kind of car is it going into?
Me: It's not for a car. It's for a water pump.
Attendant: Oh, so not something I can look up for you. This will take a while to find for you. Can you wait a few minutes?
She handed me over to another attendant.
Me: Hi, I'd like to buy a straight radiator coolant hose with 1 and 3/8 inch inner diameter.
Attendant2: And you don't know what kind? Where's your car? Let's go look at it.
Me: It's not for my car. I recently had a pump break down in my lab and when we took it apart, it had a radiator coolant hose for part of it. We tried another type of tubing but it just won't work as well.
Attendant2: Well, ok, then. Let's go to the back and see if we can find something.
<He took me to the back and pulled out a tape measure>
Attendant2: Nowadays, the tubes are never straight but are shaped to fit exactly around the engine so let's see if we can find one that has a long enough straight section that has the diameter you need.
<We looked at lots of different tubes>
Attendant2: How about this one? Is this straight section going to be long enough?
Me: Yep, it looks like it will.
<He whips out the tape measure - it looks kind of close enough>
Me: Wow, thanks. I guess this isn't the weirdest request you've ever had.
Attendant2: Definitely not.
All in a day's work.