Thursday, May 08, 2008

Weird in a Good Way?

In the language class I am taking, my fellow students and I recently gave final oral presentations. We also did presentations in the middle of the semester, so this is the 8th presentation we have given in the past 4 semesters.

In these presentations, we get to talk about anything we want to talk about. I like to tell stories about random Professor Adventures I have had over the years, and many of these end up being about unusual situations that result from my being a FemaleScienceProfessor.

In my most recent presentation, I picked a somewhat complex story that I didn't feel I could adequately describe until now. As I was telling the story, I was very focused on the vocabulary and grammar, though I also enjoyed the storytelling aspects of the anecdote, which was about an incident that took place several years ago in a country that speaks the target language of this class.

The typical procedure is that everyone claps at the end of every presentation and then each student in the audience asks a question of the presenter. Typical questions are "What is your favorite thing to do during your summer vacation?" or "When did your grandmother teach you to sew?".

When I finished my presentation, which I ended in a very clear way by saying (in the appropriate language) "The End", there was only silence. That was unnerving. Had I been
completely incomprehensible?

Then one student said "You have a strange and interesting life." And then everyone clapped.

I liked that comment a lot
, especially since it was said kindly.
If one's life (or the person living that life) must be strange, strange and interesting is vastly preferably to simply strange, or strange and uninteresting.

There are certain adjectives that will never be used to describe me even though it would be professionally advantageous to have these characteristics -- e.g., cool, elegant, tall, distinguished, sane, bearded -- but, given my limitations, I am quite happy with
strange and interesting.


Gingerale said...

A lovely story, FSP!

PhysioProf said...

Yeah, strange and interesting kicks fucking ass!

Anonymous said...

Can you share your story with us (in English, of course)?

Alethea said...

Most communication is in the intonation. Thank you for qualifying the comment.

Do we get to hear the anecdote? (And congratulations for telling it entirely in that other language!)

lost academic said...

I think these students are going to regret it if you're not in their class(es) any longer. Specifically, they're going to consciously be disappointed.

Emily said...

"Strange and interesting" rocks -- I hope someday someone says that about my life! :)

Ducky said...

My mother once found out that a neighbor described her to a federal agent as "kooky but harmless". Kooky but interesting would have been better. She was offended by being called harmless!

Female Science Professor said...

I much prefer "strange" to "kooky", to the extent that I have a choice in the matter.

Rebecca said...

Hee. I love this story!

EcoGeoFemme said...

I have described your blog persona as "awesomely awesome". I think "strange and interesting" complements that quite well. :)

DancingFish said...

Funny you mention kooky in addition to strange- In my first phone conversation with my PhD advisor, he described himself as kooky. The labmates were kooky. If I were kooky, it might just be the perfect place for me. If he had used strange instead, I might have been scared off!