Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday, Which Contained Entirely Too Much Water

"It's supposed to rain today," my lab partner told me when he got into the office.  I smiled at him and nodded.  My feet were already damp from my walk into the lab but in spite of the wet feet I was sure to have for the remainder of my day, I was not worried.  I felt pretty water proof with my thickest coat and its hood.

So, off I went, venturing out into a drizzle that would steadily increase until it was fully rain by the time I arrived at my English class 45 minutes later.  But I had a good soundtrack - CNBLUE - and that waterproof coat so I was unfazed.  

English class was pretty normal.  Every few weeks, I get frustrated with my Chinese students who feel it necessary to tell me how ignorant Americans are of their country.  I try to listen to it as politely as possible but after over two years of this from each new student, it gets rather tiresome.  This was one of those weeks.  

After class, I caught a ride to the wrong library and then spent a few minutes reviewing Chinese vocabulary before wading through the downpour over to the correct library so that I could check on the derivation of thin airfoil theory.  The texts and papers I had read on the subject all used one specific critical substitution but failed to express how it was derived so that I would know when the appropriate place/time to use it.  

While in that library, I realized that my shoes and pants were both pretty wet but since there was nothing I could do about it, I pursued onward back into the rain for my 40 minute hike up to my lab.  On arriving at my lab, I marveled that only the back of my coat was dry because my backpack was soaked instead.  

I went up to my lab and watched the last 10 minutes of the Offenbach/Wolfsburg soccer game.  We won!  I rejoiced and explained the World Cup qualifiers to my lab partner who was left so confused by the world of soccer that I would be shocked if he ever became a fan.  (It can get quite confusing if you can't keep the national teams and professional teams and their associated competitions straight)  

Then I ventured downstairs to put a few replacement parts into my pump system.  Our lab manager told me up front, "I refuse to get wet," since he had been thoroughly soaked the last time we worked on the pump.  I promised him that since I was already pretty wet, I would take all the water instead.  So, whenever we removed a tube or changed a fitting, I put myself directly in the front in order to keep my word.  There were a few close calls though because I opened a valve that he had just closed and sprayed water against a wall.  Once, we both forgot to close a valve and so when I braced the spray of water and removed a tube, water shot out from the line across the room and created a nice large puddle before we managed to wrangle things back into control.  The lab manager kept laughing at me, "You're just trying to get me wet, aren't you?"  With every subsequent error.  He also marveled, "How have we not been electrocuted by now?"  I just looked at him.  "I have wondered that every single time we've worked on this pump.  Who thought putting all of these breakers and this mess of wires down in the pit was a good idea?" 

The pump worked and barely has enough flow to turn on the laser.  This is a veritable miracle and I rejoiced, sent the lab manager home and set to mopping up the water as best as I could.  

Then off to a birthday party for a friend  (45 minutes away).  As I walked through the rain, I called a friend who told me all about her wedding plans.  But since I was on the phone, I wasn't at my best at navigating the slippery shortcut and I slipped and fell and covered my entire left side in mud.  That red mud that doesn't ever wash out of anything.  I kept walking since I had promised to return something to a friend and by that point, I was only a minute away.  When I arrived at the restaurant where everyone was meeting for dinner, I tried to get my soggy phone to let me type out a message for my friend to come outside and instead ran into a few acquaintances and begged them to go get my friend instead.  She came out and saw me in my state and offered her apologies but what could we do?  Being wet was one thing but being covered in red clay mud was another.  I told my friend to wish her brother a 'Happy Birthday' and started the trek (another 45 minutes) back to my home.  

Again, I had a good soundtrack - Super Junior - but by this time, my coat was soaked through, even on the inside.  Since there was nothing left to keep dry, I didn't mind pausing to watch the train pass, letting myself think about my Grandpa and drum out the beat of the song I was listening to.  But it wasn't until I got home and started peeling off layers that I realized that how completely dirty and soaked through I really was.  

What was there left to do but take a warm shower?  More water, I groaned at the thought.  However, there was no other real recourse since I was so chilled through that my skin looked sunburned from the cold (and hurt like a sunburn too) 

I'm glad to see that Wednesday is dry and sunny.  I'd like to have a chance to dry out at least.  

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