These are the people I share my time with, here in the void of doctoral studies. The characters, which make my day, or my teeth go numb with grinding.
The first sign of disaster
About the first thing I noticed when I got here, was some drama in the research group. We’re not talking mere tension here. No, there were outright shouting and throwing things, banging doors and storming off.
I had never expected that kind of behavior in any workplace.
Next, I heard that one of my fellow PhD students, let’s call her Sickie, was not coming in, due to occupational fatigue. All right… Then all the other team members made sure to spread evil gossip about her, while she was gone. Ouch.
Finally, I found out that my predecessor Dinah and my supervisor, Mr Feeble, did not get along. This is where I really should have taken a hint, and looked elsewhere.
But I didn’t.
The master of disaster
The early days, of course, were still sweet enough, compared to what was about to transpire. One of my peers, Silly – the one doing most of the shouting, banging of doors and storming off – switched her animosity from Sickie, to me. That poor exhausted girl never came back, and I guess someone needed to be the bad guy. That’s me.
Since these beautiful days, Silly has been acting overly cheery from time to time, and at other times downright psychotic. The sudden jumps from false kindness to very real aggression are just another part of the workday.
At times I feel as if she is determined to find something to remark upon. Some material I’ve used. Some glassware that need washing. Things. Anything.
Silly can be possessive of lab equipment. While most of there stuff is used by everyone, she feels that she owns whatever stuff she uses most. The O Machine is hers. Certain pipettes, stopwatches and ice buckets are hers. The Western bench used to be hers, but now she has switched to another to be closer to the music, which she controls fiercely. More about that later on.
She is actually pretty messy and usually leaves there lab benches in disarray, and with lots of stuff lying around. As if it’s her bench and her lab and she’s exempt from the rules. But whenever the mood strikes, she starts cleaning vigorously. If by chance she finds your stuff somewhere, you will hear about it. And then it’s always “been lying here forever”. The tone of voice, the wording, the expression all say the same: “I DEMAND.” She probably needs the outlet. She should probably think about not affecting others with her moods.
Her experiments are always most important, the best and the only thing she wants to talk about. There really is no end to how much she likes to hear herself speak about her many good qualities.
That she has the mental maturity of a nine year old should complete the picture for you. We’re talking stuffed animals, Disney lunch box and pink ruffles.
The good, bad and stupid
Then there’s Wheezer. Wheezer used to be a pretty good friend, and one of the reasons I came to work here. Now, she is pregnant, and hence stupid. All pregnant women don’t go stupid, but most. Don’t bother to protest, it’s true. My friend Wheezer knew this. Before she got pregnant, that is. Now she’s too stupid to understand her own condition. Also, all her annoying qualities are quantified and the good lost to the world. Now, we’re not… socializing, anymore.
Wheezer was never the most thorough of people, never very clean, or very picky with the details. Now it’s the same, but with the temper of a hip hop girlfriend. Or a pitbull terrier. Or a hungry tiger.
The bright side
Luckily the whole mess of a situation is ameliorated by my co-supervisor, Mr Doit. He is the mind behind most of the good ideas that surface in this place. Sadly, he’s not around much.
There are others as well, whom you will probably meet further along the way.
These and other people of interest can also be found under characters in the menu, for future reference.