Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I would rather

Remember how I told you about that project I did last summer that I was going to repeat this summer that involved planting cement blocks with plastic settlement plates off the Oregon coast? Well, if you don't, see this post and this post.

The story of this particular project left off with me having all my materials ready to go but just waiting for the weather to calm down. I needed 3-4 ft seas or less to go offshore and outplant my blocks. Well, the weather offshore finally got calmer this week, so I spent most of yesterday afternoon scrambling to get all 10 heavy cement blocks loaded onto the boat. Then I came back in the evening to tie the ropes on, and I even came in early this morning to attach all the settlement plates. I had all my things ready. I had a volunteer helper. The Coast Guard predicted 1-3 ft seas. Everything was set.

Except that the Coast Guard was wrong.

One thing you need to learn, my friends, is that even marine biologists, yes, even I, get seasick. There is no way the waves today were only 1-3 ft; the boat captain and I agreed they must have been 4-5. By the time we reached our first station, I was almost queasy enough to be useless, but I had waited so long to start my experiment, I decided to push through. I won't bother telling you the details, but I will tell you this: I would rather have done a lot of things this morning than be seasick on a 42' boat.

I would rather pluck out my eyelashes one by one than be as seasick as I was this morning.
I would rather have a spiderweb tattooed on my face and wake up every morning to find my face covered in real live spiders than be as seasick as I was this morning.
I would rather shave my head and dye my skin a sickly shade of green and join a circus freak show and call myself Puce Girl than be as seasick as I was this morning.
I would rather shave my legs with a rusty, serrated blade and no soap than be as seasick as I was this morning.
I would rather live on a ranch in Kansas in the middle of nowhere without a car and without internet and without friends than be as seasick as I was this morning.
I would rather give a speech to the U.N. in my underwear with a mouth full of half-chewed crackers than be as seasick as I was this morning.
I would rather have my wrists bound to my ankles and be forced to locomote by hopping like a frog than be as seasick as I was this morning.
I would rather be forced to solve a page full of double and triple integrals in a limited amount of time, knowing that if I failed, a bucket of cold water would be dumped onto my head, than be as seasick as I was this morning.
I would rather hike 20 miles barefoot through the Serengeti dressed as an antelope than be as seasick as I was this morning.
I would rather perform the Tchaikovsky violin concerto to a room full of people with earpieces that give them an electrical shock every time I play a D, and who are armed with rotten tomatoes, than be as seasick as I was this morning.

Get the point? Good.

The hero of the day was actually my volunteer, Zabrina. That girl must be made of iron, because when I was struggling the most, she jumped in and did what I couldn't. I owe her a plate of homemade cookies. Or a plague of locust on her enemy of choice.

In the end, it all worked out, and the blocks got deployed. Next time, I will know not to believe the Coast Guard.

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