"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Warning: The following post may have material that is offensive to science people... so, "choose wisely, for while the following post will bring you life..." Just kidding. Name that movie?!

I recently had my own close encounter with alien life-forms.

I could practically hear the five-tone musical phrase chime in my ears as I entered the ESC- that is science-speak for the Eyring Science Center (not to be confused with the EAC- points for naming the movie!). I was coerced, practically abducted (Barry style!) and forced to enter into the physics lab. I broke out in a cold sweat that had absolutely nothing to do with the many stairs we had to climb. The breathlessness might have been slightly associated with the stairs, but most likely it was the weight of the terror pressing in on me inhibiting my breathing. OK, fine, maybe the stairs contributed a little. But mostly just the terror. After winding endlessly through passages- some of them obscured by walls that weren't really walls- I was slightly startled when we came to the door. THE door. The unhappy, white paint on the wall should have overwhelmed me and stopped me in my tracks, but I bravely plunged forward and followed my abductors through the door. Immediately the pungent smell of whiteboard markers and sadness washed over me.

Any delusion I had entertained about overhearing snippets of conversation including the words (but not limited to, of course) "Vega," "Vulcan," "red matter," "transporters" quickly evaporated as the reality of messy-looking equations laughed malignantly in my face.

Perhaps even more disconcerting, if that is possible, than the actual equations scrawled over the whiteboards were the individuals inhabiting the room. To the unobservant eye, one might say they looked "normal" and maybe even were enjoying their stay (except of course the kid that was muttering, and probably cursing, under his breath). But therein lies the problem. The alien life forms have managed to fool us into adopting them as our own and tricked us into thinking they LIKE their choice. As if!!!! (Add a kind of dopey-teenage-girl-voice to that and name that movie!). Just kidding. Maybe they actually do like physics. (I have a hard time just letting that statement stand without adding some expression of disbelief again, but I am going to restrain myself).

My abductors reminded me that I was now in the hallowed halls of the physics lab so I should probably stop being me and refrain from doing "Tara-like" things. A few specifics mentioned were breaking out into song randomly, saying ANYTHING about Shakespeare, something about "laughing boisterously" was mentioned, and under no circumstances should I attempt to fraternize. I would be detected and (possibly) forcibly ejected immediately. I will admit, I had a little Stockholm Syndrome thing going on (I was with Amy and Kaylee), so I acquiesced to their petitions and tried to keep my cool. I did, however, make the mistake of whispering and was quickly informed that by whispering I was drawing MORE attention to myself because talking was actually allowed. More humane policies than I expected from the aliens. They were even allowed to eat, and like, actually eat, not the "snacking on children while they dream" sort of thing. (Name that movie? getting sick of that yet?)

I was adjusting quite well to my new environment, quietly going about my business, writing a paper, being unobtrusive, being a very good girl. Then, a horrific thing happened. Kaylee had to leave. Just me and Amy against the physics people. I had no way of knowing whose side Amy would take if it came to a battle. She was technically one of them. But we shared a bond (and if I remember any science stuff from high school I would throw in some word like "ionic" or "covalent," but just know that it is a strong bond), a bond forged almost the same way Sauron forged his ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Except we were in London not Mordor, and our friendship was not forged in secret- though I do hope that it has power above the forgement of friendship with the physics "friends."

But we were soon to find out how true the friendship was.

Amy left.

She said it would be for but a moment. Tried to comfort me with soft words. But she still left. She left me to the physics aliens. Most likely they were going to savagely pick me apart and take my brain just like that one alien lady did with Spock's. They would be vastly disappointed though. Not exactly what you would call a "spock" if you know what I mean.

Amy left and I tried to avoid eye contact. Kept the breathing quiet... but I had a plan. Just in case. If anybody even attempted to ask me something I would just channel my inner Dr. McCoy and throw out the "I'm an English major, not a physicist!" Luckily, everybody left me alone and Amy returned eventually.

After getting sufficiently high on that whiteboard marker smell, Amy had finished her work at the lab and was ready to depart. And let's just say that I was not like Roy, hoping to be selected to join the aliens on the mothership. Let's also just say that I packed up my stuff in record time, covertly shoved my Shakespeare anthology in the bottom of my backpack and got the heck out of there (with Amy's help of course- that place is a MAZE!). I was like Barry. Finally (!) released from my abduction. Though I still plan on maintaining a Stockholm-syndrome-ish relationship with my captors, I do not necessarily plan on returning to the home of the five-tone anthem. I hope to spend the remainder of my days sequestered in my own little mothership- the JFSB. A place with a lot of windows, a nice little courtyard area, a balcony- in short, a place where you might find unicorns and stuff. Trust me on that one. Or don't.

I'm glad I lived to tell the tale of my alien encounter and I wish all of you similar success in navigating through the perilous roads of life.

May you live long and prosper (hand signal).