Monday, August 23, 2010

Talking to Strangers

Today I was at the Starbucks on campus, and I saw a woman carrying a Project NExT totebag, so I was all, "Hi! What color dot are you? I'm a forest dot." So it turns out that she is new in the math department (and a sun dot, in case you were wondering). So by my reckoning, the tenure line faculty in the math department is now more than 5% female but less than 10% female. I even learned the name of this stranger, and I think that her office is near The Topologist's office. I did not meet her at the math department picnic this past weekend because one of the best things about no longer being in the math department is that I am under no obligation to go (and, as The Topologist is out of town, I may not even qualify for an invitation). The math department picnic is always held outdoors on a day when it is nasty-hot outside. Neither the computer science department or the research group that I work with has made any noises about hosting an unpleasant picnic.

And in only tangentially related news, my entire house is now covered in construction dust. Both photographs were taken today from roughly the same point of view.

You can see one major source of dust in the second photo. This morning if you had opened the white door, you would only have seen the cellar stairs. Now there is a hole through to the hallway. That will be the new cellar door, and the door in the kitchen is being filled in. I am having flashbacks to the old math building and the layer of chalkdust that covered everything in the classrooms. I now need to decide if I should ignore the dust or if I should have roomba take a shot at de-dusting a room or two.

And finally, not really a stranger, but another connection in the math department. I am not the only one who feels stupid about driving alone from near campus to the Other Workplace (35 miles away). Starting tomorrow morning I will be part-time carpooling with a socially awkward mathematician who lives a few blocks from campus. I'm pretty sure that in my seven years in the math department that I never had a conversation with him.