1.10.08

an anecdote:

so i was working the labs a couple hours ago when a kid stumbles in, can't be more than about five, with this expression of rapture on its face as it surveys the machines - which must look pretty cool if you're five, what with the masses of dangling cables and the huge shiny black monitors. at this point i'm the only fucker left in the lab, and i've got neon spiked hair and a glowing laptop screen alongside my monitor. to add to this, i'm listening to PTI at full volume and i'm surrounded by a glut of shiny objects, thus making me the most interesting object in the room. kid therefore makes its way towards me, grinning, and install itself on the floor by my chair where it stares up at me as it plays with my RFID equipment, which is under the bench.

i hate children usually, but this one isn't making any noise, instead connecting and disconnecting the USB cable of the RFID reader board with reverence and occasionally trying to press buttons on my Zen, so i let it be. i figure it's lost or something and somebody's gonna come find it eventually.

well, eventually, a guy who turned out to be its dad did. he was pretty pissed at the kid, and pretty damn scared of me even though i was being goddamn polite - i didn't ask why he let his kid wander off around the Engineering Faculty, which features the heavy industrial equipment labs, the chemical labs and storage, big balconies with gaps wide enough for a kid to fall and kill itself, and plenty of machines with loose cables to pull down on top of you if you're stupid and two feet tall, and i told him the kid was fine and wasn't causing any trouble. i thought he was just scared of me cause of the pallor (my anaemia's gotten a lot worse in the last month, so i pretty much look like Bela Lugosi dressed up for a rave) and the bags under my eyes (they're pretty bad) until i heard him say as he dragged the kid out of there, "You don't disturb those people! Here's your Bible."

they left in the direction of the University chapel. religious parent, and i'm pretty notorious around campus as a member of the Atheist Society committee and picker-on of religious delusion, not to mention i've got the society website up on the main monitor. i felt pretty bad for the kid, which obviously liked the machines and my equipment, getting dragged off to church after being abandoned by its dad.

just goes to show the virtues of religious values in childrearing, i guess.

3 comments:

JoeS said...

I know that this is a post from forfuckingever ago, but I just wanted to say that it sounds exactly like the sort of encounter that kid will remember years down the line. You've probably been the catalyst for a future CS genius, I wouldn't doubt.

Lepht said...

hey, thanks. and i get comments delivered to me emailwise, so i pick 'em all up. (that's gonna backfire when enough people find this place.)

L

Brandon King said...

I am an atheist autistic Biohacker, and am a pretty big fan of your work :) I know this is old, but I just had to put my two cents in. My childhood was pretty similar to the one apparently shown by the little kid, thankfully my mom has been very supportive of my atheism since I came out, even though she herself is a believer. My grandma has never been happy with my decision, and i argue with my family about religion a lot. I have takenn your advice for that situation however and its calmed down a lot, since me and my older brother are the only ones in my family who enjoy our beliefs being challenged. I'm only in my first year of college as a Biotech major, I'm pursuing a doctorate in Synthetic Biology. Between you and Kevin Warwick, a movement for practical Transhumanism has been greatly on the rise. I have only been a Transhumanist for four years but it was very life changing in the sense that it showed me what life is capable of, and it's a lot more than what we are now.