• Strangers on a train

    On my commute home I struck up a conversation with a stranger about the approaching hurricane. “I wish it would hit during the week. Then I would have an excuse not to go to work,” she said.

    “Oh, I wouldn’t like that. I love to go to work. I really enjoy what I do,” was my response.

    “What do you do?”

    Simplifying, a lot, I just said that I’m a professor and I like to do research.

    “Yeah, you get to sit back and relax while your students take exams. That’s easy,” she said.

    “Well, no. I don’t give exams. I don’t teach. Even if I did, I would still not enjoy sitting and watching students take tests. I like to do research. I like to be at my computer, analyzing data, writing papers, thinking.”

    Not yet convinced that this could be why I love my job, she said, “You get school vacations! Long summer vacations! You must love that.”

    “Um, no, I don’t get long vacations. But I really do like the actual work. I love my job.”

    We had reached our destination. Exiting the train and walking away she just shook her head and muttered, “Professors …”