Ben got a job -- yahoo! (no, not with that company -- with an Esteemed Educational Institution, meaning everyone’s impressed but you don’t make as much money as in private industry). Speaking as another person who’s worked in non-academic academia for many years, I can attest that you get the best of both worlds: you’re surrounded by interesting, intelligent people and you get great benefits, with almost none of the pressure that comes with being a faculty member or student. He was touched to get CC’d on the e-mail announcing his appointment to the staff, as well as being consulted as to where he’d like to sit. The same thing happened to me when I started this job; my e-mail account had already been set up, my office was vacuumed, I had buddies and lots of help, and even a chrome coffee mug. This kind of northern hospitality (in the workplace, anyway) was distinctly absent from the joint where we both last worked, which I will refer to only as the Southern College of Art and Money, or SCAM. I could write a book about the, er, “foibles” of that place, but this is not the venue, and besides, I might get my knees broken.
Onto another more interesting topic: special people on the subway. The ones I’ve seen can’t hold a candle to the nifty guys described by Mimi Smartypants, but a friend of mine once had an interesting experience. She was about nine months pregnant and got into a subway where all the seats were occupied (naturally, no one offered her their seat) but almost no one else was standing, so she just shrugged and held onto a pole, her belly jutting out assertively. At some point, a Rasta-looking dude at the one end of the car got up and started ambling in her direction. My friend watched him out of the corner of her eye a bit apprehensively as he got closer. Finally he stopped right in front of her, put his hands on her belly, intoned, “It will be a boy -- call him Bob Marley,” and then kept ambling past her. Nothing that interesting ever happened to me, which is maybe a good thing. Has anyone out there had a weird experience on public transit?