Day 67: So packed, sardines feel uncomfortable

I don’t think I had a single moment of down time today, which wasn’t necessary a bad thing. I like having something to show for my day. It’s evidence I made good use of my life (for one day anyway).

This morning I got up early to go to the Resource Centre in the journalism building. It’s a sort of library, but instead of books, it’s filled with newspapers from just about any publication you can think of. To be fair, there are some books, but they’re all newspaper archives. Nothing in there is older than about five years. But that’s not the reason I went today. I was there to scout out five huge binders filled with profile assignments from past years. My public institutions class assignment is due Friday and I wanted to see if I’m missing anything in my layout.

But on the one day I decide to go to the Resource Centre (I’ve been there about four times in the past two and a half semesters I’ve been at Carleton), it happens to be running on a different schedule. It’s usually open at 9 a.m. but today it decided to say, “Nee ner nee ner, we don’t open until noon! Ha ha, Veronica. Ha ha.”

But the morning was still young … sort of. I made some calls to my sources for my reporting class’ feature assignment (refresher: this is the one about small green businesses). I managed to set up one in-person interview for this afternoon at 4 p.m. in the ByWard Market. I also sent out a bunch of emails. Only one person got back to me, and he’s bizarre.

I’ll just refer to him as Sean. Now I had called Sean at his shop and he was complaining about a head cold and told me to email him, which I did. I sent him some of my questions and he replies with this:

“Please list the name of your instructor, the course number and the course title.

Would you be willing to put up some posters around campus promoting our business in exchange for the information we provide to you for your assignment?”

Uh. No? I don’t know if this guy has ever talked to a reporter, but here’s a little heads-up for everyone. As reporters, we do not pay people for their interviews. Not through money, not through advertising, not through putting up posters on campus. If this were Sesame Street for journalists, Big Bird would be dancing around in the background right now holding a big sign that says Conflict of Interest! If I was helping to advertise their business, then I certainly couldn’t be counted on to give a fair account of how their business is doing. Such nonsense.

That is possibly the strangest request I’ve gotten from a source so far, and I’ve talked to some pretty weird people. Switching gears though, I think it’s time to press on. I had politics class today, where we argued about humanitarian intervention for about an hour in my tutorial (it was possibly my favourite tutorial so far. I never noticed how much I like that topic. It’s just fun to argue about.), and proceeded to be bored to death by our professor’s lecture. He just talks in a tone that sounds like he doesn’t care about anything he’s saying. His powerpoint slides don’t really coincide with what he’s saying, and he likes to make up facts with the expectation that someone will check them.

After two hours of feeling like I was being beaten repeatedly on the head with a blunt object, I had a meeting with my TA about my politics essay. The essay’s due in two weeks and it’s worth 25 per cent. I need all the marks I can get! Politics is definitely not my best course, but I find it really interesting so I guess it’s worth the extra effort to get mediocre marks. My TA seems to like my outline … now I just have to actually execute my theoretical brilliance.

From there I ran off to catch the bus downtown, and found myself stuck in a traffic jam. Who knew rush hour is from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.? I certainly didn’t. I was on the bus for 30 minutes going both ways, but I suppose it’s worth it to get an in-person interview. My interviewee is a small business owner who sells clothes and accessories made through free trade in Tibet and India (and a few items from Nepal). It’s an explosion of incense, colour, and geometric patterns in her little shop, and yet I kind of like it. It’s not really my taste, but I applaud the idea. She also sells clothes from Ottawa designers, which I think is a pretty good way of supporting local entrepreneurs. It’s nice to step off the beaten road once in a while and browse through a store that’s not a chain franchise.

Before leaving ByWard, there was a brief sketchy moment when a dodgy beggar followed me around asking for change. I speed walked (sped walked?) out of there like nobody’s business. Luckily another person walked by and the beggar found a new target to follow. I took the opportunity to duck into the safety of a store.

By the time I got back to res, it was pitch dark outside (and it was only 5:45 p.m.!) and I was exhausted. I used up whatever energy I had left in swimming and now I am officially drained. But I suppose it’s a good kind of drained. I didn’t even get to do all the things I planned on doing, but that’s what tomorrows are for.

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