Saturday, June 18, 2005

if I could bitch about this guy...

There's only one adjective to describe my lab partner: scary. I just hope that I'll survive (literaly, that is) the eight-week chemistry course over the summer.

On our first lab day, he spilled "unknown liquid" on the desk (thankfully not on my hands) and knocked over several flasks when he pushed his lab manual with a jerk of his elbow. His bodily movement is more toward choppy than suave, which makes me nervous every time he moves. He has some serious issue with accuracy as well: when our powdered "unknow solid" wouldn't sink in water, he took out his pencil and pushed it down in the water, ending up picking up most of the powdery substance with his pencil and smearing the rest onto the inner wall of the graduated cylinder we were using. What we were doing? We were measuring the volume of the "unknow solid." I would be surprised if our measurement had been anywhere near the correct answer. Well, at least an inaccurate measurement won't kill anyone.

As if they hadn't been enough to impress me, he even tried to inflate a rubber ball for our pipet BY BLOWING IT WITH HIS MOUTH, while it was still dripping with our "unknow liquid". I admit that it was an obstinate rubber ball--it had two bulbs, which were probably supposed to help us inflate and deflate the ball, but they absolutely refused to work (as many other lab equipments do at our budget-strained community college). I also admit that the "unknow liquid" was most likely something harmless (it turned out that it was isopropyl alcohol). But even so, YOU DON'T PUT YOUR LAB EQUIPMENT IN YOUR MOUTH! I was surprised my eyes didn't fall off the sockets. The last blow was just enough to let my tongue loose, which had been held silent with my enormous will power, to (almost) yell "don't do that!"

He is probably in his forties, at least fifteen years my senior. Hence I don't want to humiliate him if I could help it. At the same time, though, I have a low torelance for sloppiness, as a (proud) member of the meticulous crowd of Far East. In the near future, I probably need to come up with a better way to communicate with him... Who would think that a chemistry lab could serve dual purposes--teaching chemistry and teaching interpersonal skills. Or is it already a well-know fact?


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