Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I was thinking about the venerable FSP's Random Person encounter post and how screwed up it was.

What it seems to boil down to is that the person in question had certain assumptions about FSP and could not comprehend the fact that the assumptions were wrong. I described the post to Mr. PhizzleDizzle, who, bless his heart, could not comprehend what sort of idiot would act that way. Being a White Male, he is very supportive of me but doesn't always understand what kind of shit can happen to non-White Males.

This made me think of an encounter of my own this summer. It was not even in an academic setting. I had just finished doing a 100-mile bike ride and was at the post-ride food area standing in line waiting for some food. Despite having just biked 100 miles, I still looked like, well, not like a Computer Scientist. I am a chick, after all. Plus, I matched and am cute.

Anyway, I notice another guy in line, who did look like a computer scientist (he had long unkempt unruly hair and looked like a slob), and he was wearing a t-shirt that said, "ACM International Symposium on Computational Geometry". I first noticed the shirt's first part, the "ACM International Symposium on" part because I myself have been to many Symposia sponsored by ACM, however I stopped short when I saw the Comp. Geo. because that is not my field. So I went up one level of commonality, and said:

"Hey, I'm a member of the ACM too".

Do you know what this jackass said?

"OooooooOOOoooooh" (implication, do you think you're SPECIAL?)

Seriously, what the eff? I was so shocked I just looked at him, trying to comprehend what he meant. Then some distraction off in the distance happened that caused us all to look towards it, and then it was his turn for ice cream so he ordered, and then left. So I never got to respond.

There are a few things I wish I could have said, but I can't decide which is best.

1) "Wow....I'm guessing you've never been laid."
2) "Hey asshole, you realize I'm getting a PhizzleDizzle, yes? Put that in a pipe and smoke it, BITCH!"
3) "Hey dipshit, I know you think I'm some sort of script monkey for some massive software company that doesn't have a soul, but I'm actually ABD. Go fuck yourself."

It boils down to the fact that I'm sure he thought I was some sort of low level test engineer or something, and that I thought being in the ACM put us in the same boat, whereas he knows that in reality, he's a Computational Geometrist, i.e. he does math and theory and publishes, which makes him brilliant, particularly because of his long hair, which is always a sign of brilliance in my general field (unless you have two X chromosomes). I couldn't possibly even understand how much I'd insulted him because I don't even know what academia is.

I described this encounter to my husband, who was incredulous. It seems every time I tell him a ridiculous true story, he is incredulous. Bless his heart, it would never occur to him to be such a jackass. He even has a mentee (chick) who worships the ground he walks on because he's been such an effective teacher and mentor to her. He judges on merit. So to know that people judge based on something else blows his mind.

If people as sympathetic as my husband can't fathom how someone could be that much of a troll, how can people who are unsympathetic? The unsympathetics would probably just flat out not believe me. Sigh.

No comments: