Day 11: Running in circles

I’m so physically drained! When I got up this morning, I did not expect to exert this much energy.

Today was my first day of Politics. I’m pretty excited about this course. It’s called International Relations (or, for those in the know, “IR”): Global Politics. Last night, I was doing the reading for today’s class and I have to say, I was not impressed with that textbook (as you may recall). But the prof seems to be pretty good. He seems to have a plan of action (I hate when professors have no lecture plan at all and talk in circles) and he got to the point. There were a few tangents, but we were back on track pretty quickly. So far so good!

We’re learning all about the different globalization theories right now, so it’s a little dry, but later on, we’ll be getting into the juicy stuff – international security and war, the UN, human rights, environmental issues, and terrorism and nuclear proliferation. This should be good!

But before I went to this lovely class, I made a fruitless, and entirely unnecessary journey to Dunton Tower,which is the tallest (and some would argue, the ugliest) building on campus. In addition to it being named after some old past president of the university,  it is also conveniently located at the top of a hill! So like a fool, I trekked up there at 10:30 a.m. just to see if they were going to have tutorial on the first week.

They weren’t. I sat in the empty hallway for a good ten minutes. I figured that was enough humiliation and returned to res where I whiled away the next 20 minutes putting up some more posters in my room. (I had gone out earlier this morning to the poster sale, just to get a couple more additions for the last of my bare walls.) I’m pleased to announce that my room is officially fully decorated!

When at last it was 11:30 a.m., I headed back up the hill (only halfway this time) and went to class. Those two hours didn’t feel long at all! I hope it stays that way because we’re not going to be having a break in that class – too much info, too little time. I guess that means I’m going to have to bring snacks. I hate that they have classes scheduled over lunch time. It’s just an awkward time. Do I eat beforehand? But that will just feel like a second breakfast. Do I eat after? It’s too close to dinner! Life can be so difficult.

After class, I went to the CKCU office, Carleton’s radio station, and met with the program director. He showed me around their recording studios and we talked a little about what exactly I wanted to learn there. For now, I’m thinking I just want to see how they make a radio show, just to see what the difference is from print. If I do any shows, I think it’ll be more on politics and culture, not so much on their music programs. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe I just don’t know enough about it yet, but radio doesn’t really get me pumped and excited like print does. Open mind!

The minute I walked out of the CKCU office, my day started to go downhill – nay, downhill doesn’t quite capture it. It was more like a downward spiralling vortex of confusion, chaos and general doom. I tried to run a few errands since I had a spare afternoon. I had to get a swim cap for swim practice tonight and let me tell you, that is not an easy find!

I tried to be ambitious and aim high. I looked it up online where I learned Canadian Tire has about 10 different options. Wal-Mart had one, and all the other stores that carried them don’t have locations anywhere near Carleton! So I made the effort to go out of my way into uncharted territory to find the closest Canadian Tire. It took me about half an hour to get there! (This is not counting the 15 minutes extra I waited after missing my first bus out of Carleton. I ran for it like a fool, even as I saw it close its doors and pull away.)

I spent so long standing around in the swimming accessories section of Canadian Tire. There was no one working there who knew where things were. All I got out of one employee was, “Our system says there’s 10 in stock. But I don’t see it on the shelf.” Thanks a bunch, lady. I could have told you that. She made me wait there in the aisle for the “sports expert” to come help me. I bowed out after the 15 minute mark. I didn’t have time to wait around for nothing.

I decided to go to South Keys and try the Wal-Mart there. But as I was heading out of Canadian Tire, I spotted a Shoppers Drug Mart next to it (and by next to it, I mean a good 10 minute walk. Everything is so spaced out! It’s not pedestrian-friendly at all!) and decided to give it a try. No luck. I headed to the bus stop to go to South Keys.

The bus to Billings Bridge (a mall with a big Zellers) came first. I popped in to ask the driver which direction South Keys was, just to make sure I was standing on the right side of the road, and she didn’t know! Not only that, but she told me to sit down and go to Billings Bridge where I could catch a bus to South Keys. That meant at least another 20 minutes of waiting time! I didn’t want to take any more transfers. But before I knew it, she shut the door and started speeding off to Billings Bridge! Great. I guess I could go check out Zellers.

Nothing! By now, my legs were beginning to feel like pillars of lead. I was tired and disappointed. It was already nearing 4:45 p.m. I popped into Rexall Pharmaplus before heading out of Billings Bridge, but the chipper lady who worked there said, “Why don’t you try Zellers!”

“I did.”

“Oh . . . how about Canadian Tire!”

“I did.”

“Oh . . . other drug stores might have them.”

“They don’t.”

“How about Wal-Mart!”

“Great. Where’s the nearest one?”

“South Keys!”

“Of course it is.”

So off I went to South Keys. We ended up heading back up the exact same street that I took to go to Canadian Tire. Case in point: I could have just waited for the bus to South Keys instead of going to Billings Bridge. Thanks, you know-nothing bus lady! Thanks a bunch!

Since I was having such wonderful luck so far, the bus to South Keys decided to add a little cherry on top of my day. Just as we were pulling up to South Keys, it takes a giant turn in the opposite direction! I panicked a little. Was I on the wrong bus? But I couldn’t have been! I asked the driver before getting on! But there we were, bumbling along in a residential area. Turns out the bus is also dropping off kids and business people in their little neighbourhoods. What does that mean for me? An extra 20 minutes of sitting on a bus, glowering as passersby, thats what!

It was 5:15 p.m. when I finally made it to South Keys. I was beyond exhaustion. I barely remember the walk from the bus stop all the way to the other end of the plaza where Wal-Mart was (of course it would be the furthest store away). I just know I plodded along rather dejectedly, trying to stay upright.

I asked the welcome lady at the entrance of Wal-Mart, “Do you sell swim caps?” I was so ready to hear her say that horrible two-letter word that would send me  right back to O-Train station. I was all set to go back empty-handed. But lo and behold, she said (a little too enthusiastically) that they probably had some in stock. The way my day was going, “probably” was sounding pretty good.

She sent me off in the Home and Beauty department, which I thought was kind of strange. But I figured Wal-Mart employees should know what they’re talking about. So I headed off and found . . . nothing. I asked another employee, hoping they got the department wrong. This one sounded more promising: Sporting Goods. That’s more like it!

She pointed off into the distance at the tiny blue sign with the department name printed on it. Well that’s just great. It was all the way on the other end of the store. But my hard work didn’t go to waste after all! Victory was mine! I found a swim cap! There was much rejoicing. I also grabbed a roll of aluminum foil on the way out (Pillsbury pizzas!) and finally made the journey back to res.

It was 6 p.m. when I finally returned to campus. I was completely and utterly exhausted. And to top it all off, I had swimming in two hours. Yay!

Actually, I surprised myself at swim practice. There was one of those tough old ladies in my lane and she was a hardcore swimmer. Her favourite race is I.M. (which includes all the strokes: butterfly, backcrawl, breaststroke, frontcrawl). We had a choice for our main set, meaning we could choose whatever strokes we wanted and work on our times, but we had to decide as team. That sprightly old lady was adamant about her decision: I.M. including butterfly (believe me, we tried to talk her out of it, but there’s no budging with the old lady). And so we ended up swimming 1100 m of I.M. I almost died! And my calf was starting to cramp by the end of it. I think I need to do some intense stretching. But despite all that near-death swimming, I have to say I really enjoyed it.

Of course I also got a chance to put my brand new swim cap to good use. Usually, I don’t like swim caps. They make people look like giant sticks of roll-on deodorant. But everyone had one, so I bowed to peer pressure and got one too. It’s been about eight years since I last wore one and I guess I never noticed what a huge difference it made!  Swim caps actually make you swim a lot faster! I knew it in theory, but I didn’t think I’d actually be able to feel the difference. I was like a bullet! (Yes, I don’t mind singing my own praises.) It also keeps my hair from getting all knotted and nasty. And it makes my head float!

So I guess my bad afternoon was saved by a good swim. Three cheers for physical activity (I love when exercise doesn’t feel like exercise. Swimming’s just fun.), and the endorphins don’t suck either.

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