July 13, 2010

It really is remarkable

Just how much work work manages to be. I remember next to nothing from these days, just a cloud of sleeping off sickness, infecting others (Dawson, I'm sorry), and reading paper after paper after endless paper.

Oh, and writing. That second milestone was a fair bit of work, I suppose, although I think a better chunk of the 13th was spent pretending to read S. Mckee's thesis on nuclear energy, which I never did get all the way through (although I did manage to forget to cite her half-life data. Whoops).

I'm going to say that this was the day that I walked to dinner with Jared and Bashir, because it will make for a more interesting post.

Bashir is the crazy Lebanese guy who works in my lab. He is, as I've said, crazy, but you will probably get more on that later.

Jared is Bashir's roommate. Jared is a big Asian guy from a big city (and I say big in a relatively loose sense of the word, because, while tall and muscle-y, he is still extremely skinny) who wears baggy t-shirts and long shorts and waves his arms and gesticulates in a manner suggesting a comfortable existence in a ghetto.

On this particular day, I walked out of the dorm with the pair of them.

"Why," asked Bashir, "are there no black people in RSI?"

Jared and I looked at him.

"There are not! I look, and I see black people, and they are all MITES. There are none here. Why are there no black people."

Jared looked pained.

"Why!" demanded Bashir.

"Well, there was supposed to be one, but his visa fell though, and he was, like, actually from Africa," I said.

"No, look, see," said Jared. "You can't just ask this shit."

"I just did. You say I cannot ask this, but then look! I do!"

"I think what Jared means is that it's not the sort of thing that one generally talks about. It's a sensitive subject."

"Yes! That's it. We don't talk about it. You just pretend that it doesn't exist."

"Why would I pretend that it doesn't exist when it so clearly does?"

"Because that's what you do," responded Jared. "You pretend, and then it just, I dunno, goes away."

"I'm not exactly certain that it--" I started.

"It will not go away. Look at your movies."

"What?" said both Jared and I.

"All the black people in the movies--they are stupid. Stupid. So stupid. They cannot talk, they cannot live, they cannot make money. They are poor and stupid. What am I supposed to think about black people here when all I see is 'blacks are dumb'?"

"SHUT UP! Bashir, don't let anybody hear you!" Jared looked worried.

"Well, what do black people do?" asked Bashir.

"I dunno, they play basketball," said Jared.

"I'm not sure that's the sort of thing you would think that you should be saying," I said.

"Shut up."

"Jared, I thought that you played basketball."

"I used to."

"Why'd you stop?" I asked.

"Were the black people better than you? Did they make your asian-boy look stupid?" asked Bashir, before beginning to laugh.

"Bashir, someone is going to hear you, and they are going to beat you up."

"No, they will not. The only one who will beat me up is you, and you won't, because you love me."

"I do not love you."

"You are my roommate. Of course you love me."

"You are so fucking crazy."

Bashir just laughed.