If you ever need to lure a graduate student out of the lab (or into it, depending on the situation), you only need one thing: FOOD. Free food. Free sugary or fatty food to be precise. Sometimes we have to make vital decisions concerning time and money management, a real-world risk vs. reward analysis. And let me tell you buying and eating food usually comes in somewhere between folk guitar lessons and psychic readings. My time and money can be much better spent.
We are like vultures in an arid desert, and when food presents itself in the form of a seminar, lecture, or club meeting, we swoop in for the kill. I’ve been to lectures on speech pathology, logging policy, and The Who just to name a few, all in the name of free food. Today was a relevant lecture on quantum control of atoms and molecules, though, so I don’t feel as bad. What am I saying, I never feel bad. It’s a jungle out here.
And faculty, despite their meek, salt-and-pepper bearded, pacifist appearances, will mow you down in a hearbeat for the last jelly-filled tea biscuit or cup of stale coffee. Today while (stupidly) waiting in the jumbled mess of a line at the refreshment table, a 200 year old emeritus with mild parkinson’s standing behind me said, “You have to have patience around here.” To which I responded, “Yes, and strength.” We both laughed. Then he said, “This is where the strength comes in,” and knocked me around like a rag doll and stole the macaroon I had been eyeballing. By the time I recovered and got to the table the only things left were an apple and half a cup of decaf.

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