Monday, April 16, 2007

The bartering system

So, now that I travel as a student, I've become entangled in the whole black market underworld of grad school.

The grad student black market (for me this has happened because of the whole instrument/sample collection/field work monkey business) has grown from the fact that grad students barter time, car rides (mostly to the airport), couch space, and, well, anything (within reason) that isn't money, since we don't have any of that. This black market goes on rampantly within departments but extends to other schools as well. However, geology is a small world, so these connections usually send me home with a new, freakish list of small world connections stories.

Case in point is the arrangement I have for my Pasadena visits. A Caltech student stayed with my labmate Kena while looking for a place to live while she took a science writing class at UCSC. So Kena arranged for me to stay with this woman the first time I went to Caltech.

Anyway, eight days later, I would say she had amply repaid her debt to Kena. However, I am rapidly accumulating debt to the Caltechians since I typically stay with them when head down there. I'm sure the day I try to hand in my dissertation, some Guido-esque character will hunt me down for my outstanding debt. He probably hangs out with the same woman who checks the margins on your manuscript and tells you that you are not, in fact, a doctor yet because your margins are an 1/8" too wide.

So, if you need a couch to sleep on, or know someone who needs a couch in Santa Cruz, send them my way......

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