Thursday, August 18, 2011

A butterfly or a moth?

Our first test is this coming Monday. The test is only 10% of our overall grade this semester, but I, and many of my peers are really getting worked up over this. Granted, much of it is because it is the first one. But I can't help thinking that in undergrad, as long as I had been keeping up (which I've been trying to do here, but with less success and much more effort) I would have no problem. I didn't ace every test in undergrad, but if there was one I needed to kill, I'd come in and destroy it. All I can think of is this: lack of planning is planning to fail. So, I'll keep this posting short.

I was noticing my hands today. In the span of less than two months my hands have gone from moderately callused to soft and relatively supple. I still have man hands, but compared to when I was roasting thousands of pounds of coffee per week and making hundreds of lattes per week, my hands are starting to look like the hands of a doctor. I'm very happy about this. When I was a contractor, installing floors all day everyday, I had thick, grey calluses on my knees (insert jokes about professions that cause callused knees here) that stuck around long after I exited the field. Around this time last year, when I began to ramp up my load of the roasting at KBC (Kaladi Bros Coffee) it involved not only moving heavy bean bags around but the transport of hundreds of buckets of coffee. Buckets to wash (amazingly, the oil from coffee can accumulate to a substantial thickness on the inside of the buckets and needs to be removed) and then to fill with coffee, and then to move into the freezer at the roasting facility. Then, a few dozen filled buckets need to be transported in the van to the shop, where they need to be taken through the shop into the freezer there. And, of course, during the course of a normal in shop work-day, I was constantly carrying buckets to and fro. I was a big proponent of stacking and sliding the buckets, but often the best way to move them was to hold them, with thumb on top and the fingers under the lip of the lid. This created a very thick callus on the base of the pad of my thumbs. Only now is most of it gone and healed, leaving a civilized looking thumb.

For me, this means more than the sloughing of some extra layers of protective keratin, in a very cheesy and corny way it symbolizes the new and soft fleshy surface of a new creature; yes, I'm thinking caterpillar into butterfly. I don't think I would have ever been willing to use something so cliche and pedantic such as comparing myself to a chrysalis a few months ago, but with my mind so preoccupied, it feels like the lowest common denominator concerning analogies is what I have to utilize. It just goes to prove that I am still glad that I took the time in undergrad to hone and improve my writing capabilities. I apologize to anyone that reads this that my skills in this area will probably be handicapped by having to spend the next couple of hours studying the kinetics of enzymatic rxns. Oh well.

At least my hands are soft.


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