Posted on November 13, 2007 - by MG
I looked at my site stats for the first time ever. Intimidating! Not that there are that many site visits, but apart from the four or five people who comment here, I didn’t really believe anyone read my blog.
It’s better to imagine that no-one reads it except for a tiny few. Now I feel all intimidated and inhibited in what I might write!
I spent yesterday evening with my brother-in-law Paul. We ate Szechuan food and he talked to me about scary stuff; scary because of just how serious it is – his biotech company, the share price, investors, pitching to big-shot stock brokers, mergers and aquisitions, clinical trials.
And not for the first time recently it struck me how all my friends from my science days are now reaching quite elevated positions in their work, where the fortunes of quite a few people rest on their shoulders. Magda making full Professor at Monash University, my Spanish friend Ana considering a job as Country Manager for a clinical research organisation, Paul as Vice-President for Drug Discovery at his super-cool biotech outfit Phylogica.
Meanwhile I make up stories about conspiracy theories and actually get paid for it…
When I listen to Paul and Magda talk, I can’t help but wonder what I’d be doing now if I hadn’t left science. It’s not regret as such but curiosity because you know what…science is so, so, SO cool, especially biological science. It’s world-changing, awesome, totally mesmerizing.
Why would anyone study anything else?
Which I guess shows just how much I’ve been rehabilitated. Because when I left science I was tired and jaded, fed up of running gels and spending my weekends looking after tissue culture cells and worrying about funding.
Meanwhile Paul is as hilarious as ever. It was freezing as we walked to the restaurant, and Paul remarked that he wished global warming would properly kick in if it’s going to, cos all this cold was pretty rubbish. He’d just come back from Davos, Switzerland where they’ve had some nice deep, early snow. We talked about carbon footprints and people’s guilt over that. “The only people I’ve got time for,” he said, “the people with the tiniest footprint are people like my Dad. He consumes almost nothing, cycles everywhere and recycles as much as possible. And he doesn’t give a damn about the environment – he does it out of thrift! Good Scottish thrift. He’d reuse a nail! That’s why people shouldn’t waste stuff.”
I’m very fond of Ted (Paul’s Dad) too. When we go to Perth we stay in a flat built by Ted, on top of his own house. (He’s not a builder by trade, actually he was a Professor of Philosophy…but why hire builders, a real man should be able to do that himself!) It has terrific views towards a meadow and a pond which is almost dried out when we are there. Palm trees grow at the side of the house, which has a verandah all the way around the top. The trees are and nourished by waste water and the septic tank under the house. When a breeze blows the palm fronds rustle against the roof. Ted pre-stocks the fridge for us with a stack of Aussie beers, a huge slab of cheddar cheese, bread and industrial quantities of ice-cream. And because he knows I’m terrified of spiders he always does a special check for huntsmen and redbacks, scourge of Western Australia.
Best of all, the flat houses the collection of books with which my brother-in-law and his six siblings grew up. Including an entire collection of E.Nesbit books, which I settle down to re-read with enormous pleasure.