austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

You can't be twenty on Sugar Mountain

For the latest in a series of entries about how dumb a guy you can be and still have a mathematics Ph.D.: I needed a picture of a real-world documents last night to upload to a web site (the details are uninteresting to everyone but me, and I'm not that intrigued by them either), but, of course, I don't have a scanner. But it's needed as soon as possible ... I know where my old department had a scanner, but my new one? And even then that's a delay of the better part of a day (the night) waiting before I could even look for it. Later I remembered: I do have a scanner. I've had it for more than a year. I've used it to scan things like the cover sheet showing off my extremely 1962 bed sheets. It sits on a little shelf under my coffee table, near my left foot when I'm on the computer, and it's the thing on which I set the foam padding from my laptop when I have the computer open. I'm just glad I realized it before I went to bed.

I had an appointment today to get my air conditioner units cleaned. I didn't make it; the maintenance office just called me out of the blue the other day to ask when I'd be free. A Friday mid-afternoon appointment suited me fine, although naturally work for classes meant I got home just a few minutes ahead of the appointment. I had time to do most of the straightening out I wanted, including throwing out miscellaneous junk like empty shampoo bottles that I never seem able to throw out without letting them age. I know they didn't care what state my apartment was in -- why would they? -- but I felt better for the effort. Then as they got to cleaning the air conditioner in my study, where the majority of my books are, one asked, ``Do you have any old newspapers?'' They had opened it up, and there was a spot ready for draining water, and it was perilously close to the row of books I keep on top of the shelves.

Well, that's a good way to make a person who can't quite grasp how people ever get rid of books nervous. But I did have a couple old newspapers around and none of the books I had stacked on that were quite where they'd be dripped on. So they got the air conditioners cleaned out using a portable vacuum cleaner, and they explained it to me (``they're cleaned out''), and now the place feels a touch colder than it had been this time of night.

Trivia: Gottfried William Liebniz and Isaac Newton were, in 1700, made the first foreign members of the French Academy of Sciences. Source: Men of Mathematics, E T Bell.

Currently Reading: The Footnote, Anthony Grafton.


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