Sunday, July 09, 2006

I take things apart, damn it!

Last night we left early because things were pretty boring. I drove. My brakes are making a low grinding noise that I plan to have fixed on Monday. I noted that it's been doing that ever since I had it in for a oil change on Thursday.

Earlier in the week Anna told me about how turned off she is by people who don't have callouses on their hands from doing lots of manual labor. I tried to defend those of us who (a) use hand lotion (partially due to a fear of eczema) and (b) spent a significant amount of take-stuff-apart time doing other labor that involved more cuts than callouses and required more nimble fingers than repetitive movement. It was no use.

Thus, now that I admitted that I had a shop change my oil, I wasn't about to also admit that I was having them change my timing belt and belt tensioner. (most people's response to that so far, "You know you can do that yourself? It's really pretty easy." Thanks, bub) It was bad enough that I was going to admit that I was going to have them look at my brakes. What do you want me to do, take time out of my day to climb under my car in the middle of the apartment parking lot? The opportunity cost was just too high. (yeah, I could be blogging during that time! Shoot.)

Anna has also been insisting on putting up a "force field" whenever I say anything that involves activities that might go on in Dreese or Caldwell Labs. She did it once last night to Phil too. She also insists that I bring these things up out of the blue, but usually I'm just responding to something MechE-oriented that she said.

I'm really not a fan of these walls that some engineers like to put up between them and other professionals in their fields. I think grad school is a large part of this. Grad school brings engineers together; it doesn't drive them apart. It seems like at the end of undergrad everyone is so excited about how different they all are from everyone else. However, as they specialize in grad school, they start appreciating that at one point in their lives they're probably going to have to deal with a problem that cannot be solved with such limited knowledge. They start to appreciate that it's more about the "engineering" and less about whatever comes in front of it. It's paradoxical, but generalization comes via specialization. The spinner learns about electronics not because he's a geek but because he must learn about electronics to make his own effects in order to become a better spinner. It's the same deal here. If RunDMC can tell me about a push-pull amplifier, so should a Mechanical Engineer.

So I feel like I'm being severely taken for granted, and it doesn't help my mood. :)


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