Friday, November 13, 2009
Lunchhour at the Institute
A table full of scientists. Biologists, applied mathematicians, sociologists and demographers. Graduate students and post-docs working for the Institute. Maybe 20 of us, each eating a lunch brought from home. The several conversations are mostly in English, with some German and Italian thrown in for emphasis or clarification. The concert she went to where there were five bands but only four audience members. The hallucinogenic properties of toads and banana peels. The upcoming Kristmasmarkt. The worm in my pear. It takes me several minutes to realize I am the only native English speaker at the table. These several scientists, about half from Germany, have no common language but the language of international science, English. I'm sure glad it isn't German, or I'd be in a different line of work.