Living with a Scientist

Ian and I are going to Home Depot to pick up paste and paint rollers to finish the drywall work the contractors did upstairs.

“OK,” Ian says, “Do you have a stopwatch?”

“Um, no?”

“OK, we can just use my cell phone.”

We get in the truck and he hands me his cell phone. He has a notepad with him and I’m thinking, “Well, that’s great! He’s actually made a *list* of things we’re getting.”

“OK,” he says, and hands me the cell phone. “When we get going, hit `OK’ and it will start the stopwatch. And when I tell you to hit the `OK’ button again, and it will stop the stopwatch. Then record the time on this piece of paper.” He puts the notepad between us in the truck, and I see it has some cryptic chart-like happenings on it.

“Um, OK,” I said.

“I have to do this experiment for class where I run an experiment and include mutiple :;something something somethings:::. So I’m timing myself to and from the university on weekdays, on weekends, taking different routes.”

“Sure,” I say. Note that at no time during this entire thing have I asked any questions. I completely take all of this for granted.

So we drive along the 20 minutes to the university, and when we come up to the university stopsign he’s designated as the end point, he tells me to hit “OK.”

I record the time. We go across the street to Home Depot.

On the way back: I record the time.

The surreal realization here was not that I thought this was an odd thing to do, but that I thought it was a perfectly reasonable way for one to spend one’s afternoon.

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