It figures that tonight would be the night the power goes out

At about four o’clock this afternoon, a weird storm blew through Chapel Hill. There wasn’t that much rain, but the rain that we did have was coming in sideways. We stood around in my lab marveling at the crazy winds for about five minutes, and then the power went out. Whenever the power goes out in a lab (or a lab building), the same thing always happens: at first people freak out a little bit, then everyone realizes that they’ve been in grad school for forever and one more day (or three more days to repeat the current experiment, or whatever) isn’t going to make things worse or more prolonged than they already are. So we all sit around and laugh and figure out who has power and who doesn’t, and then we go back to our lives. 

Our power was back before 4:30, so I didn’t think much about it. I finished up the work I had for the afternoon, got on the bus, and headed for home. On the way home, I realized that the crazy windstorm that hit us on campus was a bit more widespread than I’d realized, but I buried my head in my (digital) copy (that I couldn’t actually bury my head in) of The Hall of Nearly Great and I didn’t think about it. And then I got home and realized that my own power was out. 

At this point, I had a few choices. I could sit in the darkness, read The Hall of Nearly Great until my iPad died, read comic books until my flashlight died, and go to bed. I could go to lab, watch baseball and do things that I was supposed to do days (weeks, months) ago and hope that my power came back when the Pirates game was over. Or I could go to the bar and celebrate with my friend that graduated and got offered a post doc position. 

I chose option number three. What was I going to miss during a Pirates/Cubs game? At best, the Pirates win a game they should win and at worst, they lose again and everyone freaks out a little bit. The rumor milled seemed quiet and with the deadline a week away,  I figured I was safe. 

Wrong. First, the Pirates lost. That was vaguely unsettling given that they’re playing the Cubs and the Reds are practically unbeatable right now and James McDonald has looked incredibly shaky since the All-Star break. But still, I pressed on. And then the words came across the ticker: SOURCE: PIRATES TRADE FOR ASTROS’ WANDY RODRIGUEZ.

Now, by this point, I’d turned the mobile data off on my phone. When I got home after work, my battery was down around 30% and without power to charge it .. I mean, I’m running a year-old Droid Charge (that is, an LTE phone) on Gingerbread. I needed to stay in touch with a few people tonight via text message, and so the only option was to turn the mobile data off, just to be safe, except for a few seconds of score-checking and other various activities. And then the Pirates traded for Wandy Rodriguez just as my battery was entering the Danger Zone. 

I’ve been blogging about the Pirates since 2005, and this sort of thing is pretty much a blogger’s worst case scenario. As things stand, my power is still out, so I’m hanging out at a friends’ house where there’s a nice couch and air conditioning and an outlet to charge my phone up (this is my biggest concern; with a mostly-dead cellphone and no power for my alarm clock, there’s no chance I’ll be up before 11 AM tomorrow) and WiFi. And so now I’ll begin digesting the trade, and hopefully I’ll have a post up about Wandy within the next hour or at some point early tomorrow. 

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.

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