Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Hollywood often stereotypes scientists as absentminded professors. I certainly fit the bill. It is not unusual for me to forget my purpose in the midst of an activity. I leave my desk for my bookcase, only to have forgotten what book I needed during my journey of three paces.

I starting getting sick on Thursday and my symptoms peaked over the weekend. Early Saturday afternoon, I had a hankering for hot and sour soup to sooth my beleaguered throat, so I ordered takeout and proceeded to drive to the Emerald, one of our favorite Chinese restaurants in Pullman. I hastily jumped from my car and announced upon entering, "Hot and Sour soup for Mark." Immediately upon seeing the quizzical look on the face of the woman at the cash registered, I realized that I had ordered my takeout from the New Garden Restaurant.

I was a tad annoyed with myself because I had driven to the other side of town to the Emerald; but, I calmly drove through what is uncharacteristically heavy traffic for Pullman to New Garden. On my way, I dutifully pulled over as two fire engines whizzed by with their screeching sirens and obnoxious horns.

As I approached home, I realized that I had driven past the New Garden restaurant during the fire engine diversion, so, I made a U-turn, and was once again on my way. Upon arriving, I was horrified to see a line of 20 individuals at the cash register. It turns out that a party of 20 had decided on separate checks. I patiently waited for at least 15 minutes for the line to clear.

When I got to the front and announced my name, the young woman at the counter hectically searched for my order, and asked her colleague what had happened to the takeout bag that had been sitting on the counter. The coworker embarrassingly replied that she had given the order to another customer. So, I had to wait another 10 minutes to get my order filled.

On the bright side, my order would have been cold by the time of my pickup; and, since I had originally forgotten to request that they hold the shrimp, I was able to make this change. My wife was starting to get concerned over my long sojourn. But, relieved at my return and appreciative of the wonderful soup, we blissfully watched TV while nursing our illness. My only regret is that I had less time and energy than I needed to finish my work. So, I am now even more behind in my work then ever.

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