Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Well, that was a day
Did another field trip with Mr. Kraft today, which was... eventful. The day started out pretty fun, as Maureen was practically green with envy. Not that she cares about the cool science we'd be seeing, but just the idea that I'd be accompanying the president of the company. Of course, she had tried to insinuate something first, but made the mistake of insinuating it to Jen. Points for identifying one of the office gossips, but a penalty for not identifying said office gossip's friends so clearly.
Still, it was more than a little annoying to have Mr. Kraft's car break down in Dedham. He called Triple-A, but, well, it's not like he's the one whose boss told him to wear a nice dress today with the temperature in the low single-digits. Black pantyhose can only shield you from so much cold. He was very apologetic and offered me his coat, because he didn't really think he could offer me his pants. That might be the first joke I remember him making. I just tried to stay warm by walking around, especially because the business whose parking lot we pulled into was a boating shop that had, no joke, a bait vending machine out front.
That's right, a box saying "Live Bait" that lets you exchange money for worms. Right next to the one for "Cold Drinks". I imagine it must have been a joke (I didn't go in and ask), but the idea is somewhat disturbing at any rate. I'm not sure why, I mean, we're talking about worms. It's not like there were kittens being kept inside a dark airless machine waiting for a kid to insert five bucks and push "tabby". The other thing was that, yeah, we were right by the Charles, but there wasn't a place for fishing and boating in the immediate area. It's not like nightcrawlers would necessarily be a likely impulse buy there. So it was probably a joke. Weird joke, though, especially when you're already ticked about being out in the suburbs - if less than a mile from West Roxbury - where everything takes longer and you can't just duck into a Dunkin Donuts while waiting for someone to tow your car and send you a taxi (I figure if you can see the next Dunkin Donuts from the one you're standing in, you can see your car). Heck, just needing to use a car to get there drew my ire. Mr. Kraft just shook his head and said I was really a city girl; I guess that would be a fair description now.
We did get to the place, though. A lot of the newer biotech firms are weird to tour; unless you're one of the main experimental scientists, you'd never know they were working with living things. All the modeling at this place was done on computer, and the lab rats are kept way in the back, behind locked doors. Just walking through the place, they could have been doing software development, copywriting, or rendering special effects for movies - just a bunch of high-end workstations with very smart-looking people sitting at them. Most didn't even wear white coats, joking that it was mostly an affectation for those who did.
Super-wierd, though - lots of people I went to college with. I didn't take a lot of bio courses, but I recognized a bunch of Wei's old classmates, a woman Kurt had dated... Even one of my suitemates from freshman year. I must have stopped myself from walking up and saying "hey, Janice, cool to see you" ten times. I was tempted, too, especially when it came to one of Wei's friends who'd struck me as pompous back at WPI. Sure, he wouldn't recognize me, but messing with his mind would be fun. Still, I couldn't figure out a way he'd have known me. This body's clearly too young to have been his classmate, and he was into older guys if I remember correctly. Michelle Garber's just not someone he would have met.
Obviously, I can't discuss much of what I saw there, just that it was a gene-splicing research lab. Not even someplace I could ask about spontaneous memory loss; there were really focused gene guys. It was a neat tour, though - lots of cool science going on, even if I couldn't see the actual lab.
Then, another cab back to Boston and an afternoon spent typing up notes and answering phones. Not my dream job, but after a few years of writing SQL queries and DTS packages to move stuff from one database to another, it's pretty cool to at least be near cool science.
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