Thursday, August 18, 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________

One Thing After Another 

I would have to say that the most interesting thing that has happened to me in the past week invovled a day where absolutely nothing could possibly go right.

Having put my alarm clock on snooze and sleeping through the snooze alert (which occurs for one minute every ten minutes) FIVE times I was quite late getting out of bed. A mad scramble to assemble the things I needed for the day later, I was running out my front door just in time to watch the bus that I needed to take pull away from the bus stop half a block away from my house.

Attributing it to the fact that it was a Monday after a less-than-restful weekend, I started walking to the bus stop five blocks away to take the express bus. Normally, it doesn't really matter what time I arrive at work as long as I make the hours but this time 'round I was supposed to meet a volunteer who was starting at the first time at our lab. I didn't want her to be locked out. Plus, it wasn't as if I was going straight to UBC either. I had to drop something off on Broadway before work, which involved quite a detour.

Thankfully, I arrived at the bus stop mere minutes before the north-south express bus pulled up. I took it as a sign that the day was getting better that I could get a seat on what was usually a pretty crowded bus. I assumed that this particular bus was running just a little off-schedule (that's usually the reason buses are emptier than they typically are) and sat down. Sure, the seat was at the place where the double-long bus bends (which means no windows and more motion) but it was okay. I don't have the best balance so any opportunity not to be standing on a bus is snapped up by me. The empty seat next to me was quickly taken by an older gentleman in a track suit. From the smell of things, he was doing quite a bit of excercise (days and days worth, by my reckoning) in those clothes. I could've just stood up and left but by now the bus was moving and I didn't want to offend the guy with the offensive smell. Besides, being that this was, afterall, an express bus, my trip waas really only going to last 20 minutes.

30 minutes later I walked off the bus having learnt two things about myself. (1) I should probably take some yoga lessons if I ever want to stand up from the middle seats of the bus while the bus is in motion/about to start up/about to stop. (2) I can hold my breath for quite a long time - but certainly not for 30 minutes.

What do you know? In my rush to leave the house, I left that which I was supposed to drop off on the bathroom counter.

Chuffed that I had taken the detour for nought, I jumped on the other express bus (east-west) to get to UBC. My phone starts ringing. The volunteer called to say that she wouldn't be turning up. "Not feeling well".

Alright. Ok. The bad joke ends here. Right? Right? Wrong. I step off the bus into a huge wad of pink bubblegum. Over the summer I've worn the treads of my $4 sandals smooth enough that I get no grip on slippery surfaces. However, I hadn't quite got them down to the point where it wouldn't trap a gob of chewing gum. Quickly abandoning the futile attempts to scrap the disgusting stuff off the bottom of my foot, I start walking, sticking with every other step through the litter-strewn paths that lead to the lab.

My day at the lab was rather uneventful except for the time when a subject walked in to participate in the experiment we were running and nothing was set up. I'm very familiar with all the cables and their connections so I wasn't too worried. The chaos began when I handed Kevin (the other RA) the wrong remote control. There was 15 minutes of awkward apologies to the subject while we puzzled over why the device was not responding to the remote, looked for and replaced the batteries, banged it a little on the table and then saw the correct remote next to where I picked up the wrong one. (To be fair, they were both Panasonic DVD machine remotes.)

I decided to leave early for the day. Kevin lives on Oak Street as well and is always willing to give me a much appreciated lift. He lives quite a bit north of me, but it means that I only have to take the Oak Street bus down to where I live instead of having to take two buses. While walking to his truck I stopped dead in my tracks and swore loudly. I thought a needle left in the grass had lodged itself firmly into the outside of my fourth toe on my left foot.

I looked down and couldn't see a needle. In no time at all, it was hard to see my toes what with the tears that sprung fast to my eyes obscuring my vision. It hurt like a bitch! I started yelling, "WHAT THE HELL IS IT? WHAT THE FUCK IS IN MY TOE?"

"It's a wasp. A yellowjacket."

With those words, the wasp struggling to remove its poisoned, barbed stinger from my toe suddenly came into clear focus. In my shock, I couldn't see what was right before my eyes until it was named.

I. Freaked. Out.

"Pull it out."

"WITH WHAT? WITH WHAT?"

Sighing, Kevin bent over and extracted the struggling insect from my toe. The puncture it left was bleeding slightly. The toe and half my foot was starting to swell. It was the first time I had ever been stung by anything. In the ensuing minutes Kevin and I discussed what to do in the event I progressed into anaphylactic shock. The first thing I can say went right that day was that I discovered that I am not allergic to bee stings. I'm still limping, however. Currently, it itches like a 'mofo.

That would have made for a bad enough day as it were. On the Oak Street bus, thinking that the day's events would make for a cute anecdote I hear a BOOMCRASH. The bus rolls to a stop and the bus driver informs us that he's bent one of the poles that attaches the electric trolley bus to the power lines that supply it. We have to wait for the next bus.

Steadfastly trying to remain unfazed I limp off the bus, furiously rubbing my shin and calf (because it started to hurt there too). "What would Pollyanna think? What would Pollyanna think?" I know! It's rush hour! The next bus should be along in 10-15 minutes! I chanted that to myself rhythmically as I continued to massage my leg. The bus stop had no seats so I was forced to wait in a half-crouched position. As time passed, people are starting to get antsy. Several commuters start to hail taxis. I tried to call Jim to see if he would give me a ride, then remebered that he misplaced his phone on the weekend and probably hadn't found it yet.

Half an hour later the next bus is spotted on the horizon. My fellow commuters started to show some signs of life again. People were picking their packages up off the floor, getting ready to board the bus. Two blocks before the bus pulls up in front of us, it stops. Fifteen minutes later, we witness all the passengers alighting. That bus had broken down too. Abandoning reason I start dialling Jim frantically, praying that he had already found his phone. Twenty minutes later, he calls me and offers me a ride home.

Jim arrived after the third bus came to pick up all the stranded commuters (leaving three people behind to avoid an overloaded bus). The rest of the night progressed uneventfully.


posted by Joie! at 9:32 AM

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