One of the demonstrations at the Exploratorium is called “Where Do You Sit?”, and it’s basically just a philosophical question where visitors can sit around a table at “Yes”, “No”, or “Maybe” and then talk about their opinions.  For example, some questions we use pretty often are: Can anyone be a scientist? Should people always tell the truth? Is there a specific age when you become an adult?

I was running this demo and the current question was “Do memories last forever?” when a young Asian girl (eight years old, maybe) and her father stopped by the table to chat with us.  The girl reported that her earliest memory is from when she was one year old, and her father butted in and bragged that she was talking at 3 months.  Then he goes on to ask us whether we are students and whether we have a college degree.  I said I had just graduated from Caltech, to which he responded, “Wow. You need to get a real job.”

First off, I’m a volunteer, but this IS a real job for the other Explainers.  I mostly just feel bad for his daughter.

On a different day, I was looking at plankton through a microscope with some other Explainers and we were talking about how they can be hard to find/follow because a lot of them are see-through.  At which point my coworker Garza remarks in his Peruvian accent, “At least they can never steal your chocolate because you’d know right away.  Like, if people were see-through and you ate somebody’s chocolate, you couldn’t just deny it…pretty awkward.”  Awkward indeed.  Good observation, Garza.