Yesterday was a busy, busy, eventful day. It started out with a snowstorm and its attendant bad roads, which made me a bit late for my 8 a.m. deposition. I haven't been doing many depositions, focusing instead on CART at UVM, but some colleagues asked me to help them out and I agreed. So I did yeoman's duty for a full morning, in a room chock full of men in suits. After the depo, I needed a warm place to prep for the cancer-related colloquium I cover at UVM on Wednesday late afternoons, so I went into the lovely new Davis Center on campus. Wandering through, I ran into my friend Willem who was having lunch with his friend Micheal.
Well, we started talking, and I will not hold it against Michael that he broke some of the cardinal rules when speaking to a court reporter or captioner, especially on the first meeting. To wit:
1. Do not ever ask a court reporter, "Why don't they just tape it?" You could end up with a bottle of water poured in your lap in lieu of an explanation.
2. Do not ask a CART provider why those people on the TV captions make so many mistakes, like, for example, making mincemeat out of Hebrew words, or writing "urinalysis" when you meant to write "European" or some such. (Wouldn't he get a kick out of my old colleague Andrew's gaffe at the BBC when he wrote "the scent of heterosexuals wafting up off the page," in the obit of a gay cookbook author, rather than "herbs wafting..."?) Instead, it would be nicer to say, "Wow! You people are AMAZING! I bow at your feet you are so amazing!" (something like that)
Willem, knowing well my propensities for violence and making scenes in public places, quickly steered the conversation in a more positive direction, and Michael, being obviously no dummy, quickly caught on. (No matter that this was after the threat of a bottle of water being poured in his lap -- and me having just met the man three minutes previous.) Before we knew it, he was thanking me for the wonderful service I do and assuring me that I certainly must not make enough money for the work I do, and asserting that I will never get Alzheimer's since I do so much brain work all the time.
On Michael's next report card, I will write, "Shows improvement under pressure."
I should have brought my camera in. It was in the car. That's at least a step in the right direction. I did not have FULL camnesia, only partial.
Willem informed me that Michael is a retired chemistry professor who now teaches art classes at the university. I learned that he sells paintings and has a website. I like his work a lot, but I'm not going to say so. Instead, I'm going to ask him, "Why don't they just take pictures of things instead of painting them?" (Touché)
And the next thing I know, he's throwing that little four-letter word around. I know, RIGHT?! Blog.
Well, hell. I denied any knowledge of what a blog was, but Willem broke my cover. Michael made the statement, in the form of a mild warning, that he might be blogging our conversation. That's why I'm writing this; I figure turnabout is fair play.
Then I went to my colloquium. I love that colloquium and all the people in it, and we have a ton of fun together. One M.D./Ph.D. candidate is such a comedian. He has missed his calling -- he should totally be doing standup. He arrived a little bit late, and barged into the room saying he was late because he was on jury duty. "Norma was there. She can back me up." No one can accuse me of blending into the woodwork, that's for sure.
And you all remember my girl Xianglian, eh? When I got there, she whispered to me that she had something to give me, but she would wait 'til the end of class. After the presentation, and after everybody else had left, she presented me with this:
And inside was this:
I'm speechless. Well, okay, I'm almost never speechless. But not only will I hopefully not get Alzheimer's, I will also not die a poor woman. My life is so very rich. Thank you, Xianglian.