Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Dishwasher

A professor once told my class that if you have a question you should ask it and not feel stupid because most likely if it is not clear to you there will be more people who don't get it too but are too scared to ask and will be grateful you had the courage to. I took this lesson to heart and have found that when I have asked profs to clarify something there are a lot of murmurer and pens/pencils moving! So I have decided to apply this lesson to my blog, Nonna asked about the Dishwasher, who starred in my documentary about the pink goo. She wanted to know if he minded being called "The Dishwasher" and why I call him that (note: I call him by his real name most of the time).

To answer the first part of that question watch the documentary, notice that when I called him "The Dishwasher" he didn't miss a beat, the poor guy has been working in the same lab with me for way too long and so that totally didn't phase him nor upset him. The skip in the vid was my deciding to explain to him why I called him that (I totally forgot in my excitement to get the interview recorded to inform him of my privacy policy and what I named him for the blog) and asking if he minded or if he'd prefer another nickname or his real name. He laughed and said he liked "The Dishwasher" and so that he shall remain.

And as to the why, besides me being insane there are actually two reasons I call him "The Dishwasher". The first is because of the lab jerk (aka Prof Wannabe). The lab jerk is one of those go get 'em types in many regards, which can be good. His is a first class butt kisser when it comes to the higher powers (professors or people he can exploit), but us lowly fellow lab workers do not deserve his precious time that he doesn't have enough of. Idiot is a grad student in I have no idea how many clubs and wonder if he knows, and wonders why he has no time! I am in one club, which I might quit since he recently joined and seems to be taking it over, besides I don't have enough time for it really since I have to focus on my research, writing and prelims (currently 100% focus is on research). When he first started as a grad student it was after he had done a summer internship in the lab, during the summer he managed to piss everyone off including me, and I was only in for a few days before my wrist forced me to take the summer off.

Everyone but I was an undergrad in the lab and when I came back he was trying to be friends with me in hopes of having one person in the lab not loathing him. The arrogant SOB was telling me how he felt the lab dynamics should be, basically the undergrads should be our slaves and do all of our prep work and wash our dishes and basically do our job while we just do the thinking part. I tried to nicely explain that our lab did not work like that, the undergrads in our lab had experience and were among the top of their class and hand picked by the lab's prof to do actual research. These were not minimum wage freshmen, they were slightly above minimum wage upper classmen! They were hired for specific projects and undergrads here can only put in 20 hours a week working for the university while classes are in session as per university policy, that is not much time and really they did not have time to do their work and ours! His response was to say we should hire a slave then, I told him that was highly unlikely and that the prep and cleanup was our job and most grad students have to do that stuff too, least the ones I have worked with in all the labs I have worked in. His views have not changed, his attempts at trying to get me to change mine failed and we are currently mortal enemies. What has changed is the lab dynamic, the undergrads graduated and one got a real job while another decided that grad student life was for her (poor misguided soul!), suddenly we were a lab of grad students and there was but one undergrad, the lowly Dishwasher. Being the pain in the butt hilarious coworker that I am I would tease him about how he is the undergrad and I am the grad and so he should do all my work for me and wash my dishes and everything! He and I would go back and forth exaggerating the lab jerk's insane ideas a bit as a form of playing around and stress relief, working with someone like the lab jerk is highly stressful which is great for blogging since it triggers GI issues that make it hard to sleep so might as well write a blog post and feel guilty my brain is too mushy to do lit review to make my boss happy.

The other reason behind my naming him "The Dishwasher" is because as an undergrad he takes a ton of coursework, which requires a lot of time and does not leave as much time for him to do lab work. One thing that tends to suffer when one is busy and trying to get their job done is dishes. You HAVE to do prep work or you can't do the research, of course doing the research is the whole point, and in the end the only thing one can really slack on is doing the dishes afterwards. Sometimes this causes conflict, it is very annoying when you come in and all the dishes are dirty and my pet peeve is when all the sinks are full of them, the lab has 3 sinks with two basins each there is no excuse to fill them all! Also sometimes one of us who is feeling benevolent or who has given up on the person ever doing them, will just wash the dishes for that person, this makes Dishwasher feel very guilty. His way of trying to avoid conflict and guilt was to write a note on the board saying to leave the dishes for him to do. Being the smart ass comical coworker that I am I would usually either write under it that my test tubes are waiting for him on my bench or I'd tell him it in person if I saw him. Sometimes I would refer to him as the lab's dishwasher and such, yep I'm a hoot to work with!

And that my adoring public is why I call him "The Dishwasher", the combination of inside jokes and slight insult aimed at the lab jerk (who I'm naming my ulcer after if I have an ulcer, find out in a few months probably). The Dishwasher is a great person to work with, he is laid back and puts up with my silliness. I would never let him wash my dishes as that is my job, the only one I let do so is V and that is because we share when we are both working and rotate who cleans the dishes and does the prep work, easier than splitting everything up. And I told him I was going to make him famous so look forward to hearing of him in the future, when I get around to it, lol.


WeaselMomma said...

It sunds like he's a good sport.

The Microblogologist said...

He is, never would have lasted in this lab if he weren't!

Anonymous said...

Having just found your blog, hmmmm, well, what to say? It makes me think I DO NOT put enough thought into the nicknames I give people!~Mary

The Microblogologist said...

Mary, just because I am crazy doesn't mean you have to be too ;)! Thanks for stopping by =)!

Anonymous said...

OMG! (yeah, i know. how old am i, right?) you have been linked from McMommy!! woohoo you

ok, so that's done. thanks for the background on the dishwasher! he does seem like a good sport and somebody to help balance out lab jerk's neg. vibes. not that i'm sure i even believe in vibes, but it sounded good :)

The Microblogologist said...

Nonna: I am so in with the in crowd now ;). Thanks for noticing, I hadn't even thought to look, sweet.

The Dishwasher is definitely a good sport, we all harass him, it definitely is amusing. He often has to put up with the lab jerk because no one else can be conned into it. He definitely helps keep me saner since I can bitch about lab jerk with him, usually cheers me up a bit. I definitely believe in vibes, they are not fool-proof but often not to be ignored. I picked up bad vibes from lab jerk when I first met him, they were very correct. I am so glad that everyone else in the lab gets along so well!