Sunday, February 22, 2009

paradox and diplomacy.

the paradox of age:
when i get older, i would be happy to still appear young.
for now, i am young and would rather look older.

at least, i wouldn't mind not looking like a student.

perhaps it's my clothes; if i wore a three-piece suit, then at least i would be known as "that overdressed peacock of a postdo¢" and not be confused with being a student ..

.. not that it's a horrible thing, being a student. i enjoyed those years as long as they lasted. all i want to say is that with age confusion comes minor problems.

for example,
  1. while visiting colleagues this weekend, i stopped by the main office and asked where the coffee pot was. the secretary told me that it's meant only for professors.

    diplomatically, i asked if it is also meant for visitors. to identify myself, i pointed to an abstract of the talk .. only to remember that i was wholly unidentifiable in it.

    despite that, she apologized and showed me where the coffee pot was.

  2. on the second leg of my return flight, i was sitting next to a bearded man, and the magazine he was reading had the symbols IEEE on the upper-left corner of the cover.

    aha, i thought, a fellow techie! it would be safe to do math in front of him. jotting down a few ideas, some minutes later he looked over and asked,

    "say, what class is that from? it looks familiar."
    the thing is, i was using my own notation.
    huh. so he thinks i'm a student.

    "oh, it's not from a course," i said diplomatically, "but the notation is from a measure and integration course. it's not unlike probability and statistics."

    he nodded silently.

    "are you a scholar?" i asked him.
    "oh, no," he replied, "i'm an engineer."

    he then returned to his iPod.

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