Weird things happen. We all know that is true. Today’s weird thing is actually from early Sunday morning. And actually it did not happen to me. It did not even happen around me. It happened at the place where I work, but on a day/night when I was not working.
Let me paint the scene. Early Sunday morning in the western suburbs of Chicago. It had been a cool weekend, a bit of rain on Saturday morning, but Saturday night was quite nice. The stars were sputtering in the face of the greater fire which would soon engulf the sky in the form of sunrise. And at a national laboratory, operators engaged in training, secure in the knowledge that little tends to happen during shutdown on such a peaceful night.
Thus, it was quite a surprise when a man stumbled into the hallway outside of the Main Control Room asking for help finding his car.
He was inebriated. Intoxicated. Blind, stinking drunk. Eyewitnesses say that he had great difficulty standing, he was relatively certain that he had left his car in a ditch.
He was incorrect.
Wilson Hall is the main building associated with Fermilab. It is the place most of the public sees. It rises above the prairie beautifully at night, far above the trees, it is visible across the fields, the ponds, the thickets, the roving herd of buffalo, to any who might pass by. I can only assume that some part of this man’s brain was thinking, “head toward the light!” He is fortunate that he did not wind up in one of the many aforementioned ponds.
If you follow the link above and look at the picture of Wilson Hall, you will see many things. What you will not see is the stairway leading down to the right at the right edge of the picture. If you were to be standing at the top of that stairway looking down, what you would see would be this …
Yes, that’s right. He was on the stairs there. The angle is steep and the stairs are not small. The crew chief on duty at the time took a picture of the car while it was there, however I cannot release it to the public.
The man was apparently a bit concerned about getting a DUI and asked us not to tell his parents. Oh, if that were the only problem facing him …! You see, he should not even be able to get on the Fermilab site at that time. We have guard posts at every entrance. They stop you and ask for your ID, and if you do not stop, Fermilab is Federally protected!*
But, Mr. Oblivious apparently just babbled on about “two cool girls” from the party he was at in Geneva and how wasted he was.
This has become a bit of a running gag around work. People now will often stop what they are doing and lament the lack of “cool girls from Geneva” to inspire wackiness (yes, some of the people lamenting are female.)
[*] Needless to say, an investigation of how he got on site is going on right now. I suspect that some of the guards will be in a bit of trouble unless evidence is uncovered that he drove across a field or something equally dumb.