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professional adjustment

Yesterday at work wasn’t earth-shattering or anything, but we had a few good laughs about it…

ours is even newer than this

ours is even newer than this

We received our new GC/MS about a week ago, and the service engineer came yesterday to set it up for us – that’s usually how these things go.   He’d been corresponding with one of my coworkers, so he was aware of our schedule, and supposed to be meeting us at 8am to begin the installation.

Eight came and went.  At 8:30 my coworker called him and woke him up.  He assured her that he’d come soon.  So we unpacked the instrument, and moved our trade-in out of the way.  And went to break.  And came back.  I suggested that perhaps he had stopped at a breakfast buffet…  Finally he was escorted in around 10am.  He walked in wearing some ratty, yellowed jean shorts and a polo that has definitely seen better days.  I thought it odd, but brushed it off.   I’ve been conditioned since college about the proper attire for a lab.  Pants and closed-toed shoes are a given.  Since he had no idea where the instrument would be located in our lab, he actually took a chance coming in shorts.  Today, we thought about it and posited that maybe his luggage had been lost – although, since he came for just one night, we’d have expected him to just bring an overnight bag carryon.  But then, perhaps there was another reason for the shorts.

Apparently our friend has a set spiel that he gives to all customers when he sets up the instruments.  And it seems that he most often does installations for people who possibly have never seen such an instrument before, and have no clue what it does or how to use it.  I say this because he wasted a great deal of our time with

See, nitrogen and helium are gases at room temperature.  Water, on the other hand, is a liquid at room temp.  And it boils at 150 degrees. *pause*  Oh.  I mean 100 degrees.

and other lovely bons mots.  He later suggested to me that we didn’t have to use methanol as our solvent.  We could use acetone, or any other solvent that our samples would dissolve in.  This is when I started wondering if he could see the instrument we’d just placed on the cart to make room for the new one – or the other one sitting across the room.   I actually can’t imagine anyone who would order one of these instruments who would be unsure of the definition of a solvent.  And I know that I’ve known 3rd graders who know that water is a liquid at room temperature.

cool spectrum - not a solvent we'll use tho

cool spectrum - not a solvent we'll use tho

Before lunch, I’d been setting up our newly cleaned density meter while taking notes on the new GC/MS.  After lunch, I was fully focused on the training, and had the misfortune of sitting directly in front of him as he demonstrated how the software works.  This is when I had to start looking everywhere except directly in front of me.

Why, you ask?

Because, besides sitting across from me with his legs spread far and wide, this fellow was adjusting himself (yes – exactly what you’re thinking) every 5 minutes!  – not an exaggeration –  At least every five minutes, he had to fiddle with things in the frayed shorts.  While it was happening it felt like a visual assault, but once he had gone I began to wonder if he didn’t have some kind of medical condition.  I’m thinking that he needs to get seen – maybe get some kind of cream?  baby powder?  I don’t know.  What I know is that I ended up closing my eyes, staring at the monitor, or staring at the clock until he left.

What the crack?  Who wears frayed shorts to go see clients for their job in a *chemical laboratory*?  and then spends the day adjusting themselves forthefunofit?  Crazy.  Keep taking the meds til they run out, buddy.  Don’t skip a day.

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