Why I Like Engineers

Bugs in the Code

I once wrote a personals ad in code. I was living Austin. Every programmer within a hundred miles must have responded, offering to rewrite my code and fix the bugs. The suggested patches were hilarious. I wrote one guy for quite a while, even though it was clear that we weren’t compatible, just because he was so witty. At one point, we even wrote each other jokes in binary code.

I like programmers, engineers, researchers and mathematicians because I know how they think. It is not true that right-brain people lack creativity. I know plenty who are also quite accomplished in visual and performing arts. For example, the other researcher with whom I shared an office played bass with a band that performed at the Broken Spoke and I know a programmer who is a kick-ass dancer.

I am not from Venus. I am a Mars chick. We have a problem, I am going to cuss like a Marine, yell “plot twist”, and then we are going to fix that shit because fixing shit is what I do. The obstacle IS the path. Obstacles are where life changes and all kinds of opportunities present themselves. For me, the solution has to produce better conditions than before the problem appeared: a better boyfriend, a better painting, a better place to live.

To survive is good, but thriving is elegant. If my last job hadn’t been so vile and odious, I wouldn’t have quit, and wouldn’t be living in one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. If the place I was renting hadn’t gone up for sale, I wouldn’t be living in the historic center of San Miguel in a house with a swing in the bathroom.

So lean into the obstacles. Be like a kid on an Easter egg hunt; look for opportunities. Don’t just survive, thrive. Find the elegant solution.

Wine, Belly Buttons, and
Strange Attractors

I was at a workshop on mathematical modelling. There was only one other woman in the class. After we were done for the day, she and I went to the pool, claimed lounge chairs, and spent the evening drinking wine. At one point, we were looking at (trying to focus on) our stomachs. She asked (slurred) “How would we model a belly button?”

“A Torus Attractor function,” I replied (slurping more wine).

“No, a Strange Attractor,” she argued.

I looked at her belly. It was true; she had two belly buttons.

We had stumbled across a sobriety test for nerds.

Love and Mismatched Socks

 

mismatched socks

I am always looking for ways to save time, so during boot season I don’t sort socks; I just pull two out and put them on because nobody sees them anyway. I used to have a boyfriend who got irritated by my mismatched socks. One day I came home and found that he had gone into my sock drawer and matched them up for me.

It was very touching.

I started to wear matched socks to make him happy. (All relationships require compromise.) Then, one day, he told me that my socks were supposed to match my outfit.

It was a fashion epiphany.  He showed me my sock drawer, which was now sorted by color.

Since I am always looking for ways to save time, I got rid of my boyfriend.