Wednesday, 7 August 2013
Twas the night before fieldwork...and everything was heavy
All I can see in my office is a vast pile of equipment, ranging from laser scanning units to trenching tools. Each time a nervously glance at the luggage, I hear myself sigh. Why do we have so much 'stuff'. I am sure that last year's field season did not require so much kit? However, my main concern is the 'final frontier'...as 'space' is rapidly dissolving in my densely packed luggage. It is one of those moments that you start to wish for a Tardis-like bag to swallow all kit, but at the same time generate an internal anti-gravity zone within the confides of the luggage. I pick-up my first piece of luggage and groan; it seems impossibly heavy. I check inside the bag for any stray neutron stars that might be lurking in the darkest recesses, anchoring this stellar remnant to my office floor....to add to my fun, this year I am hampered by having one functional arm (courtesy my a shoulder injury from the 2012 field season). It seems remarkable that by just starring at the pile of kit or closing my eyes to the shear lack of carrying capacity, this does little to help me. This is when you inevitably start the pairing-down process, isolating those non-vital pieces of field equipment, such as soap, deodorant or underwear. Just as you think you are nearly there...you spy a pile of cable's, plugs and connectors...without which the mountain of multiple electronic gadgets will silently mock you and refuse to communicate. The travelling electronics store also boasts a significant computer section, with PC's Macs and netbooks gradually piling-up. Oh for a single plug/cable/software solution...isn't technology meant to be making our lives easier? Why does my bag now look like a bloated organism riddled with escaping tape worms...the abstruse wonders of 21st Century fieldwork.