Most of the time the dome is a bustling epicenter of voices, trotting footsteps, pots clanging, treadmill pounding, chairs rolling, and research buzzing. Only occasionally is it quiet, usually when everyone is sleeping or when four members are out on EVA. I’ve had never noticed how much noise some people make until we were locked in and you get to hear everything, I mean everything, that happens. Every conversation carries from downstairs into the bedrooms, footsteps on the stairs shake the entire building, even playing a card game becomes an entire dome experience. In some ways this is great as you always have someone to talk to, play a game, or watch a movie. Other times when you have read the same sentence three times or are actually trying to concentrate, it can be very distracting.
There are plenty of spaces in the dome that you can try to find solitude like the SeaCan or teleporter. The SeaCan offers a tiny bit of sound proofing but if anyone needs to do some construction or get food for a meal, you will be disturbed. The teleporter is the brightest spot in the hab and is slowly being taken over by a tropical oasis of vegetable experiments (pictures to come later). It is the perfect spot for catching up on emails do one of the research tasks; however if anyone wants to do laundry or work on one of the cultured foods that we are absolutely in no way growing in the warmth of the telemetry room, they will have to walk over or around you.
So, I have scouted the best places for peace and quiet and here are the top three choices:
3. Bio Lab
The bio lab is so wonderfully fantastic because it has a door that closes. There is enough floor space to do a solo bout of P90X, lots of natural from the porthole window, warming grow lights for the plants, and it is also one of the warmest rooms in the building. The Bio Lab is Dusty’s main domain where he cultures his cyanobacteria, prepares samples, and grows plants. Cookies weighs a lot of rocks, and I also check in on my seedling vegetables. Every morning I turn on the grow lights when I get up to make the most use of the sunlight, and we turn them off when we stop generating power for the day. The way that everyone interacts with the lab is with the pull-up bar in the doorway. The rule is that to use the downstairs bathroom, you have to do as many pull-ups as you can on your way out. The jawbones tell us to drink eight glasses of water a day, so we end up doing a lot of pull-ups.
The bathrooms are actually super rad. Each has a composting toilet, and while they were severely overdue for some maintenance upon arrival, we think that we are finally on top of how to properly maintain them. The smell is starting to not completely knock you out when you go in anymore. These toilets don’t use any water, which dramatically cuts down on the amount of water we consume every day. I’ll write a post later about our most recent water and energy conservation efforts.
So, how much time do you really spend in the bathroom? Not much, which is why this is not at the top of the list. We only use the bathrooms to do our business and take showers, so it is a very small portion of our day. It is quite a treat to have your biweekly shower (especially if someone has already warmed up the water) and enjoy a few minutes of trickling water noises. If you use your imagination, you can even pretend that you are standing under a waterfall… if you are also pretending that there is a greater flow of water.
The best place for peace and quiet is definitely your own bedroom. All of my favorite places in the dome have ample lighting… the teleporter, the airlock, bio lab, and my room where I have put up some grow lights to help start my garden. By now, everyone has done their best effort at making their room home, and of course, mine has a few pieces of Montana with me (flag, garden, glow in the dark constellations). If you put a blanket over the floor vent, you can pretty successfully block out most noises and fall asleep in a blink. While we all have our own desks downstairs, it can be pretty distracting to have lots of conversations going on around you, so if you need to really focus, working in your room is the best option… unless everyone is working in their room and you have the entire dome to yourself (muah hah hah hah).
So, that is a peak at my favorite hiding spots. Next up… water conservation