Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Awkward Conversation Award

You would think that it would have been easy to pick the most awkward conversation that I had yesterday. It would make perfect sense if it was "lunch with job candidate not in my area." Oh, I wish that were the case.

Yesterday morning two guys were skulking about in the hall outside my office. One, with an accent from central or eastern Europe popped in and asked me a question about my name and its origins. I assumed that they were some sort of nobodies around the math department; we have a lot of hangers-on, and I do administrative work, so people know who I am even if I don't know who they are.

Time passes. Lunch with candidate ends up taking the lead in the running for the day's most awkward conversation. I return to my office to do some work.

Afternoon. Europe-guy returns to my office, walks in the open door, sits down in a chair and starts talking to me. He identifies himself as "a chemist" (by which I interpret "chemistry graduate student"), and tells me that he never liked math. (!?!?!?!?!?) He then excuses himself, as he is giving a quiz to his students in a nearby classroom and must go check on them.* He leaves my office.

Foolishly, I do not take this opportunity to close and lock my door. A few minutes later, the chemist returns, quiz in hand, and continues to talk to me for a few more minutes. But then he has somewhere to be and leaves.

I'm thinking that I probably won't come in to my office next week on Tuesday.

*Note to self: if administration complains about low ratings of math classes, check to see if we rate any better than Chemistry.