Today‘s entry reads:
“While setting up the lab and getting to know the area we currently reside in there are many things that can puzzle and entertain a conventional scientist.
Today’s day started like any other, and like any other day turned quite bizarre within the first 5 minutes. First, let me express that there is something to be said about waking up to very bad European techno music that is coming from a low quality speaker on a 30 Euro cell phone. It shapes your viewpoint on the day and can drive you to the verge of madness, or make you laugh at how ridiculous this all really is in the long run. When done correctly , and all of the researchers have set their alarms for dissimilar times within a half hour period of each other the end result is found to be the “James Glynn Affect.” This will be further discussed in later entries, for now let me proceed with today’s events.
I awoke around 6 a.m. this morning to low grade techno. While I lay in the dark letting the sunrise start to illuminate the room I noticed someone standing in the middle of our living area close to the door peering around. It was one of our Slovenian fiends. I looked at my watch, 6:30 a.m., Ok. I looked back at our bearded friend, just back from a long night at the local bar with some of our research team, and with his accent he greeted me. “Hal-lo! Vhat is up Doc?” All I could say was, “Hey?”
During the morning we brought the research gear we had packed for our upcoming trip to Germany out to a truck’s container for shipping. After some quick PowerPoint presentations on how the next few weeks would go we ate lunch and changed out of our lab clothes. It was field trip time.
Myself, Dr. James Glynn, Mr. Merv B. (our research team life coach), and Senior Fofo (our driver) loaded into our everyday white-lacking all fashion family style minivan to head for the capital to meet our underground sales contact. All too quickly Senior Fofo brought us to our destination, so we decided to wait for our contact at a local bar. Dr. Glynn and myself began the adult beverage power hour, while our comrades drank coffee. Senior Fofo is quite possibly the only living organism that I have ever come across that has the majority of his physical makeup consist of caffeine and energy drinks versus water. (note to self, consider lab and blood tests to further examine Senior Fofo at a later date). Within the time it took us to drink our 3 or 4 pick-me-ups, that we were served by our Serbian bartender Ulga, our contact had arrived. He was a dark haired man of average height and weight who spoke English very well and knew a lot about the capital area. He seemed trustworthy to an extent, but after all one must have a level of trust and distrust when heading into this kind of situation. His code name was Darkman.
It was time to go shopping for equipment that, to be blunt, we couldn’t purchase anywhere at the average town store or shopping mall, and it was equipment that we were going to require to complete our research.
Myself and Dr. Glynn got into Darkman’s car while Mr. Merv and Senior Fofo followed in the van. Darkman placed a call to the people we were about to meet with to let them know that we were on our way. Within a few minutes drive we arrived.
When one conjures up thoughts of the world of sales concerning rare items they might initially think of cold and dark alleys managed by thin pale men that have much larger, much less intelligent friends to provide life ending security measures. We have Hollywood, Ronald Regan and The Cold War, and our mothers to thank for such images.
Not so. After we were buzzed in and entered the brand new office building, with highly polished marble floors, those frigid visions were permanently deleted from my memory. Upstairs we entered the main office and were introduced to some of the people that worked there. Two men, roughly in their late 20’s and who obviously read one too many Abercrombie catalogs by the look of their polo’s and fake tans, invited us to sit and browse catalogs while they poured us some drinks. Darkman suggested to them that we just go downstairs and browse their “showroom.” All I could think was, “Awesome!”
The four of us swarmed around the small room looking at everything 3 or 4 times before finally collecting up some of the supplies we were after. Darkman was more deliberate in his shopping, he gathered what he needed, and he promptly went back upstairs. One of the Abercrombie cut outs explained that if we didn’t see something we wanted that he could order it for us. With that being said the rest of us returned to the upper level with our merchandise and back to the main meeting room. Darkman was there settling his bill with the blonde secretary that worked there. In a situation like this why wouldn’t you have a tall, thin, blonde secretary that enjoys wearing tight clothing? Something had changed though, this time an older man in a suit was sitting at the head of the table waiting to meet us. Again, in this situation who wouldn’t want to meet with the visiting Americans? We all turned and looked in his direction with some confusion. Mr. Merv B. was still obviously gawking at the secretary. “Uh-hum!!! Merv?” We ALL turned and looked in his direction. We were introduced to the owner of the business and sat to talk about what equipment we liked, disliked, and what was working well for us during our research. I frequently glanced at Mr. Merv as I found it interesting how he could face the gentleman in the suit, but still keep his eyes on someone on almost the other side of the room and the other side of his head for that matter. That someone being the secretary, obviously. (note to self, consider vision test to include detailed peripherals on Mr. Merv B.)
After some conversation with our new business friend we shook hands and went about our way. We paid the Abercrombie boys on the way out, in Euros of course, after all the “black market” doesn’t accept credit card or check. In the parking lot we said our goodbyes to Darkman and loaded into our van as a happy family. As we left the city and drove back to the small town where we were staying I couldn’t help but take a well deserved nap. Between the drinks of the day and Dr. Glynn’s constant conversation, to himself I believe, about what he had purchased it was a peaceful period of rest back to our current research facility. Once there we finished our day with salted meats, cheeses, juice, and couch naps in the club room. Later that night some of the research group prepared to head into the town to perform some after hours experiments, but I decided to stay in, look at pictures of my wife and daughter, and rest instead. Maybe tomorrow I will see what the local nightlife holds, but for now I am satisfied with my typical atypical day as we prepare for our next experiment.”