Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Night at a Free Love Commune

I have neglected to relate The Story from my Ottawa trip. (Well, the near death by drowning of my advisor could give this a run for its money as The Story of the trip, but I am getting ahead of myself.)

We decided as a lab to top off our whole conference experience by participating in a group bonding experience. And there is no greater bonding experience than facing death together in a small inflatable raft with only a paddle to help you. That’s right, we went white water rafting.

And it was fun. Except that despite our expertise (we all had been rafting previously) and background (we all are rather active, outdoorsy folk), we could not keep people in the raft. At every rapid we lost someone overboard. Out of the seven of us, four went overboard at one point or the other. My advisor was the third over and it was, by far, the most alarming incident. He got sucked down for several, long, protracted seconds. At one point his head popped to the surface, only to get sucked back down again. We all had our graduations flash before our eyes as we scanned the churning water for Dave’s blue helmet. Luckily for all of us, he emerged, though very white faced and shook up.

Exciting as that story is…..there is another one. One that occurred later that day.

The rafting company also runs a youth hostel where patrons can stay. This is what we opted for instead of making the long drive back to the city after a full day of rafting. The company attempts to be very green and environmentally friendly: the communal showers are hand pulled to conserve water, paper and plastic products are limited (this includes dinnerware and paper towels in the bathroom), they compost their food scraps, etc. Everything was shared and everyone pitched in to help out. I felt like I had wandered into a hippie commune of sorts. The northwest girl in me really liked lighter environmental impact of it all but at the same time battled with my inner yuppie who questioned the sanitary-ness of it all.

However it wasn’t until that night that I realized that I hadn’t just wondered into a hippie commune, but a free love commune as well.

(Aren’t you just loving my segues here?)

Our rooms in the hostel were small squares that didn’t hold much more than two metal bunk beds and a chair, and the rooms themselves were separated by just a thin piece of dry wall and a latched closet door. Because it had been a rather long and physically strenuous day, we decided to hit the sack early. I was pretty exhausted and fell asleep quickly. Being that exhausted did not prevent me from waking up a couple hours later to some noise emanating from the room next door.

At first I thought that the occupant next door was experiencing a bad dream due to the loud moaning and groaning coming from the room. It wasn’t long however—a few seconds of consciousness--before it became apparent that she wasn’t experiencing a bad dream.

And because I want this to be a fairly clean, family friendly blog, I won’t go into great detail. I will however make a couple of points:

The occupant wasn’t alone, although that wasn’t immediately apparent.

The disruption went on far longer than humanly possible by anyone standards.

Had I been very much younger, I would have been scarred for life. As it was, I was just seriously disturbed.

The four of us occupying our room just looked at each other with incredulity and realization that we would get no sleep that night.

And that, dear readers, was how we ended our trip to Ottawa.


Hizzeather said...

I'm so proud of you for not falling! That picture with the X's is funny. :)

I am laughing about the love commune. You should be used to living in a hippie commune, but I don't think you had to deal with "moaning & groaning" in your last commune. ewwwwwwww.....! How romantic is a hostel? Was it someone from your group? Maybe someone who was glad to be alive? ;)

Retail Worker #48721093 said...

Hee. Now if I had been in that situation I would have banged on the walls and reenacted that diner scene from When Harry Met Sally. Sometimes it is fun to point out obnoxious behavior. Then again I'm just sassy when it comes to those kinds of situations.

This reminds me of my RA years and doing rounds in the dorms. Oh the things I heard. I won't repeat though...not family friendly.


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