Thursday, September 16, 2010

Needs no introduction

And why doesn't anyone introduce themselves around here? When I first arrived, I was perplexed by the fact that when I would meet someone, they would say hello, and then move on without telling me their name. I have no names for @1/3 of the people that I know. I privately ask other people to name the nameless, and, indeed, often they don't know either.

This week I was on a scavenger hunt to borrow chemicals from other labs. I reflexively started by telling people my name and my lab affiliation. It was clear by the alarmed expression on their faces that I was providing "too much information" about myself.

The people that have introduced themselves to me include: my labmates, my immediate neighbors, the kids' principal and the mailman. My working hypothesis is that introduction etiquette goes along with people here being polite but rather standoffish. I guess that names are on a need-to-know basis only.

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