As of today I have officially left the lab, off to pursue other things in the City. Dan has done the same, though he’s already found his place in Industry. Lab folk who were available came out to eat together tonight – one last gathering before Dan and I vanish. Food and conversation were good, dreams and books and peculiar things, and everyone offered hugs as we parted; it was a nice way to end my time with them.
I’ve been working there for about a year and a half now, and I’ve seen several researchers and RAs go and new ones come to take their places. Labs like these are an endless fountain of thoughtful people, always changing; it gives life a strange ephemeral feeling that is probably more common than I realize.
Everyone here is brilliant, and their lives are going to be remarkable, and it was lovely to be a part of that for a while.
grumbling friday night road
When the tree that once lived here grew around this cable, it must have trigged some sort of electromagnetic time-space anomaly. The body of the tree is long gone, removed without remorse by city workers, but a small slice of it remains, hovering in the air, just as it was years ago. The area where it intersects the wire, it seems, is stuck in a temporal bubble of sorts, and so the tree-bit from years past follows us along in time, never aging, untouched by entropy.
You find these anomalous here and there in any city. Perhaps in some of them you might find a bird nest, and even a hatching egg – the beak just protruding, frozen moments away from its first glimpse at the world.
fan, tick, snooze
Shirley and Jenny are two of our lab’s newest research assistants, and for the past few weeks I’ve been training them to do the work that’s been my specialty here. It feels a bit strange that I was the only one who knew how to do this particular work – like I’ve been holding a torch to keep the room lit, and the flame needs to be spread before I move on.
(That’s a slight dramatization – the lab folk are brilliant and would surely work things out on their own if they needed to.)
It’s been nice working with these two, and I hope their burgeoning careers in neuroscience are full of insight and inspiration.
don’t let the lox in your socks
Sitting in the park and reading, I get the usual ambient flavors adding to the mood: warm sun, soft grass, the sounds of kids playing and traffic passing. Ohlone has its own rare addition, though, in the almost subsonic rumble of the Bart rushing by underground. It sets the earth in motion every few minutes, and makes it feel like I’m resting on the back of a massive creature grumbling in its sleep.
Come here, by the side of the street, and you and look down into the tunnels where the Bart passes by, and feel its breath rising.
do myself a favor
Just a scatterbrained snapshot today. Starting a week from now my days will be packed with code, so I should really be trying to find as much color in the time remaining as I can; but my thoughts have been flitting to and fro with all the things I need to have done, and it’s been hard to focus on enjoying any particular thing.
These glumly-lit flowers surprised me when they bloomed, bursting out of modest brown buds, and it seems they stay open even when night falls, casting out their molecular music around the clock. They still look a bit like aliens to me, like the eyes or ears of something mostly buried beneath the concrete.
I don’t know how long this tarot reader has been here. I passed it on the way home and the lights caught my eye, and I realized that the dingy bail-bond/money-wiring shop that used to be there was gone. Something about the excess of neon and the poorly kerned lettering makes it seem like the place is channeling its predecessor, almost like the building itself went through some midlife crisis and decided that it needed to find a more spiritually fulfilling career.
Neither business is something that I’m likely to visit, I think, but I wish them the best anyway.
I was poor in love
Laurel and I found the last bag of some legendary vegan marshmallows today. They’re of a smaller variety than would be ideal for s’more construction, but we still roasted a few over candlelight with Leyla and Mitch. Our friends were dubious of the confections’ integrity as marshmallows, but a few rounds of roasting, improving our technique, proved that they are just as good as the common gelatin-fortified sort.
It’s been a good day today. Laurel left with her hair a few grades whiter, I left with my own head a great deal lighter, and our friends were wonderful company for the whole of the evening.