April 17, 2010

Particle Physics Careens Towards Boringness

I went to SHP today and, for the most part, completely ignored my class. I tried to pay attention, I really did, but then I decided to take a break to do a math problem, and by the time I was paying attention, the lecture had advanced so much that I no longer could follow it.


The train ride there was relatively boring. It was just Helga, Archie and I. I sat between them, and we managed a little bit of conversation before Helga pulled out her book, I untangled my ipod, and Archie fell asleep. At one point, Archie actually started to snore. I could hear him through the music, so I started cracking up. Helga laughed a bit before returning to her book, which was for English and, according to her, incredibly boring.

Interestingly, both Helga and Archie are looking forward to the end of SHP, whereas I am dreading it. How utterly fascinating, how different people can experience some of the same events and have such entirely different reactions.

I had originally planned to meet up with Rube for Mariokarting, but he had done badly in something and requested a raincheck (Allana was actually confused by the whole thing, which is kind of odd, but, hey, I get by). I texted Helga when there were about 10 minutes left in class to ask where to meet, and she and Ariadne were already outside, so I met them there.

Archie was still in class, they had no clue about Mario, but Ariadne had texted him, so he, of course, called me. To be perfectly honest, I'm still not following that logic.

We as a group had a horrifically large number of awkward silences. It's really remarkable how it's easier to avoid them when with just one other person than when with four. I think that with one person, you feel pressure to actually carry on the conversation, but when you have a lot, you typically let someone else handle it, and when nobody does, it just kind of dies.

I'm going to relate a couple of conversations, but be aware that both are interspersed with a considerable number of unpredictable and unnecessary pauses.

Archie: Middle schoolers are nasty.

Mario: Sorry, what?

Tea: He doesn't like middle schoolers. What was the phrase you used?

Archie: They're awful.

Mario: To who? Us? Each other?

Archie: Everybody.

Tea: This is true.

Helga: Middle schoolers are just nasty. I mean, looking back at it, people were so mean.

Tea: It makes high school look better in comparison.

Ariadne: I hate high school.

Tea: Really?

Ariadne: Yup.

Helga: It's so short, though.

Tea and Ariadne: But it feels like forever.

Helga: Really? It seems like it's only just started.

Archie: Agreed.

Conversation Two:

Ariadne: So, where do you want to go to school? Like, a city or a country?

Tea: I don't know. Somewhere other than here.

Archie: Not a suburb.

Helga: Definitely not a suburb.

Tea: How would you define school suburb, then?

Ariadne: Yale.

Tea: I believe New Haven is a city.

End Conversation

You may have noticed Mario's lack of participation. This stems from the fact that I'd given him my math packet #4 and requested help, and he had been staring at factoring problems (no writing implement, just staring) for about twenty minutes. I then spent the entire forty minutes in which we were standing because the entire train was packed, passing him various math problems, watching him stare at them, and then listening to his explanations.

Once some seats freed up, we moved over there and spent the remainder of the trip trying to determine the number of possible ten-unit strips that could be created out of green three-unit rectangles and red one-units. We had to do out all of the possibilities, and it took a ridiculously long period of time, but we eventually arrived at the correct answer, with minimal weirdness on his part (ex: "It's odd that we arrive at the same conclusions at the same time." "What?" "Never mind." "Sure. Where did you get that 6 from again?" "I divided twelve by two." "Oh, right. That makes sense.").

We had just moved onto the collinear candles when Helga had the decency to remind us that we were at our town's stop, so we disembarked.


Ginny said...

I did that particular tile problem earlier, but I just counted them all. Is there a more... mathematical way to do it?

I also remember doing the candle one last year, but not getting it. You didn't have a geometry one with you, did you? One of the problems started with, "I am planning to siege Mandruk with a ramp."

Gretchen said...

well at least you did stuff saturday. i was sooo bored that i went and did my econ homework.