I used to work in University Housing's Call Center so I know that feel. They intentional stagger employee lunch times so that someone is always working on the phones so you don't get to go out to lunch with your co-workers.
Okay, sure I'll tell this story again. It's Friday and nobody is doing work today anyway. (I'm not sure I've shared this in full before actually). In short, the lab was shut down for two days and I think I might have been the only one there.
I used to occasionally do some beamline experiments at the synchrotron source at Brookhaven National Lab. These sorts of "beam times" are proposed and planned for months in advance, so even though we knew shortly beforehand there was going to be a major storm, we couldn't really cancel the trip. It would have been too expensive to, basically. My flight in landed the day before the storm hit. Now some National Labs tend to be a little bit away from cities and populated areas, as they need a lot of space to operate for things like accelerators and beam sources. Brookhaven is kind of in the middle of nowhere on the far tip of Long Island. You have to travel a few hours by train and then an hour by taxi to get there from the airport. As I travel to the lab, there's a pizza place at Ronkonkoma station that I liked to visit. Now this pizza place only accepts cash, so I withdrew something like $40 to get some pizza. (This is important later). This pizza was good.
When I arrived at the lab, everything was still operational so actually getting to the lab was no problem at all. There wasn't a lot of people on campus, both because this wasn't a big time for research in general and because of the incoming storm, but still enough so I could get in. I arrived and got settled into my dorm and all that (these labs are basically big University campuses). The laboratory post-doc I was working with would usually greet me but he was actually not there this time because he was at a conference elsewhere. This would normally be no big deal - I had his number and I knew what I was doing already so in normal circumstance I could have gotten started without him. He was going to arrive later in the week. His absence had nothing to do with the storm, just coincidence.
Once I settled in, I knew the storm was going to hit but there wasn't much I could do. I had no car, my post-doc contact was absent, and the lab "shut down" for precaution. That means, yes, even the lab cafeteria was closed, which is kind of the only place for food nearby. I waited in my dorm and, as far as I know, I was the only one in the building. The lab wasn't in direct path of the storm or anything, but it was definitely very windy and rainy and stormy. The first day I just kind of held up in my room all day. I ended up playing Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection on PSP because I didn't have much else to do. I still had internet access, but it wasn't great so watching youtube or streams or whatnot wasn't really going to work. (even though it was only 2012, streams were not nearly as huge as they are now)
As I said earlier, the cafeteria was closed. The usual places weren't delivering to the lab thanks to the storm, and taxis were out of the picture too. The main office was closed, basically everything was closed. So, my only source of food was the vending machine in the dorm. Luckily I had plenty of cash on me thanks to the money I withdrew earlier so I could actually use the machine. I probably had like a dozen bags of those TGI Fridays potato chips and lots of powerade.
Later that night, my contact called me and was worried about the equipment in the lab we worked in. It's a basement lab, so he was worried about things like water or flooding damaging the vacuums and such. These apparatuses are hugely expensive and costly to maintain, so I certainly understood where he was coming from. He wanted me to walk over to the lab building and check a few these and put some precautions in place (like closing certain valves, etc). The problem was, this is about a mile walk from the dorm --these campuses are pretty big. So here I am in the dead of night walking in the dark with no umbrella and literal "hurricane force" winds and rain using my phone flashlight to walk over to the synchrotron lab a mile away. Luckily I had been there several times before so I had access to the building.
Once inside, I call up my contact on the phone (cell reception is usually terrible here and of course it was worse today) asking him want exactly he wanted me to do. He proceeded to tell me to find the "green valve" near some vacuum pumps and to close it. Here's the problem - there are a TON of valves and a ton of vacuum pumps so I wasn't sure which he was referring to off the bat. Not only that, the main lights were out. While there were some emergency lights, I still had to rely on my phone flashlight to get around. These labs are cluttered and clunky (it looks something like this) so I'm trying not to knock anything, break anything, hit my head, or hurt myself. With the phone flashlight as my main light source, it was hard to see which valve was the "green" valve (green and black look pretty similar in low light!). I'm also hungry and wet and tired and I remember kinda losing it a bit yelling 'I CANT TELL WHICH VALVE IS GREEN' over the phone.
Well, eventually, we got everything checked out and secured and I didn't kill myself, so I walked a mile back the other way in the wind and rain back to my dorm, ate more TGI Friday chips, and played more Final Fantasy IV. I then learned that the lab was going to remain closed for a second day, so I had 24 more hours to sit it out with little to eat and nothing to do. During those two days I didn't see any cars in the lots or people in the dorm, so I think I might have been the only one there. I'm not sure.
When the lab opened up two days later, I stopped by the cafeteria and stockpiled my platter with a silly amount of food. I was starving and got like 3 different entrees and the cashier probably thought I was nuts. I don't think I've ever been so eager to eat a meal in my life.
Anyway, some of this could have been prevented, probably, but everything turned out fine and I got a weird nifty life story out of it. I 100%ed Final Fantasy IV and its sequels.
I don't know if it' was intentional, but this reads like a horror story (power out, almost empty lab, hurricane force wind) and I was expecting some eldritch abomination to pop out of the vacuums in the lab. lol
So a few hours after the FLCL2 panel tomorrow, there's gonna be a Jojo panel:
It's the hit manga and anime series with more excitement and outrageousness than you can... STAND! Join your friends from VIZ Media for a celebration of this epic manga and anime series with special guests, the latest news and maybe even some surprizes! Get ready to pose and unleash your power at the official JOJO's BIZARRE ADVENTURE panel.