all of these photographs are reenactments. the names have been changed to protect my lab partner.
first week of school:so i ended up next to this kid on the first day of my marine bio lab (8am monday morning- yikes). he seemed normal enough- kind of one of those guys that just look too big. not grossly fat or freakishly tall, really just too big for his own comfort. just in case more than 10 of you look at this blog, i will refrain from using his name and simply call him "lp" (for lab partner). so i said "hello," and sat down. my professor explained the lab and we set to work.
now, let us all remember that i haven't been in a math or science class in many years. more importantly, i haven't been asked to do a lab in about 7 or 8 years. i mean- the microscope looked intimidating and the thought of things like "the scientific method" only brought back bad memories. thanks to the large gap in my lab experience, a few of the questions tripped me up a bit at first. my initial thought was, "i'll ask my lab partner! and look how diligently he is working... that plus the glasses is suggesting that he is intelligent. i must be in luck!" [all that was in my head].
your right, i stereotyped this young man. that was wrong of me. but the karma gods smote me back quickly- just as i leaned over to ask my question, he looked up and said "do you know what we are doing?"
...i hate this question. i raise an eyebrow at lp and say, "we are supposed to measure the organisms on the slides." "oh," he says. i then decide not to ask lp my question. a few minutes later, i notice out of my peripheral a giant mistake taking place under his microscope.
"no no no!" i say, "you can't do that or you will break it!"
"oh," he says again.
an hour passes. so far, i have learned that lp has broken five of his fingers, is blind in one eye, and cannot multiply. at the beginning of our class, the teacher passed out forms that we were asked to sign and hand in (so we won't sue if we die out on a coral reef). we sign it, turn it in, and then the teacher signs it. the teacher is labeled "witness" on the form. 2.5 hours into class, lp looks at me and thrusts his paper in my face, "would you like to sign as my witness?"
i explain the situation and he says, "oh," turns in his paper, and leaves. he leaves behind his lab. his lab!!! the one we just worked on for almost three hours! that we are supposed to finish at home and turn in next week! ahhhhhh! i turn it in for him and leave.
this week: we had mlk day off (a monday) so we didn't have lab last week. i had almost completely forgotten about lp. i walk in, sit down at a table, and who walks in behind me?? lp... he sits down next to me again. he says nothing, but breathes really loudly.
the professor comes in a bit later and passes out that days lab. i read through it (as does the rest of the class) and then the professor explains it. we have now read and heard exactly what we are to do in this lab. we are studying osmosis and using potato cells as the example. i go gather the materials including the potato. lp asks if we are allowed to eat the potato. i look at him like this:
and assumed it was a sufficient answer. then he asks the professor, "are we allowed to eat the potatoes? i skipped breakfast..." "no," she says. he takes a bite of the potato anyway, looks at me and says, "thats like a three week old potato."
i give lp the most basic job. literally a job that toby could have done, had he been blessed with thumbs. i ask him to fill the petri dishes with the different solutions and make sure to fill them to the line. he comes back with each only half full.
i say, "you have to fill it to the line." he says, "close enough isn't it?"
i say, "no it isn't."
he says, "why? this stuff doesn't have to be exact..."
i say, "it's science. of course it has to be exact."
he rebuttals, "science isn't exact! just ask doctors! the guy that invented penicillin?? drunk. discovered it totally by accident."
"i can't talk to you right now. please just go fill the dishes to the line." he shrugs and goes back to filling the dishes. i begin removing cores from the potato. lp comes back and says, "now what." i say, "measure these into two centimeter pieces." he hands one to me that is clearly not two centimeters.
i say, "i think you measured inches."
"no, i measured centimeters."
(holds potato core up to ruler)
"those are inches."
"oh... ok here are centimeters"
now i go and weigh our first potato core. i write down the weight and then go to slice it into 5mm pieces. one slice, two slice, three... slice? wait. this is not two centimeters.
"lp, this is not even close to two centimeters..."
"i'm blind in one eye."
many many mistakes later, i assign lp to all the things that involve zero math or intelligence. i make a wet mount slide of larval organisms and tell him to find six of them and show me each one. he stares through the microscope for a long time- all the while- mumbling and cursing the little larvae for escaping the field of view. this gives me time to complete the lab. then i help him find the organisms.
finally! 11:00! time to leave this terrible nightmare! i clean up, lp and i pack up our things, and i remind him not to leave behind his lab again. as we walk out the door, he says, "that wasn't too bad, was it? see you next monday!"