17 October 2005

Control Freaks and Lists

Waiting. I'm forever waiting in this lab. Waiting for primers to be synthesized for qPCR work, waiting for imported chemicals to clear customs, waiting for wheat to grow. Currently, I'm waiting so that I can infest my wheat plants with aphids at 18:00. Joy. If only all lab work was this stimulating. In the meantime, I'm keeping myself occupied by reading Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis. I read The Rules of Attraction a couple of years ago and didn't think much of it, initially. Now I consider it to be one of the better books I've read. Maybe Top 50 or so. Is this continuous making of lists a male attribute as Nick Hornby suggests, or simply my scientific (but hopefully not unimaginative) mind trying to create order of some kind? I like making lists, hierarchical phylogenies, the taxonomy of our culture. I feel more in control when things, objects, ideas are neatly compartmentalized. Variations on a theme. Butterflies pinned to a board.

I wish I could employ somebody to infest my plants for me. Then again, I know I won't trust anybody else to do a proper job. I'm a prisoner in my own obsessive perfectionism. The curious thing is that I prefer it this way, masochist that I am. Tomorrow will be more of the same: picking up aphids with a paintbrush, letting them crawl onto the apical leaves of the wheat, allowing them to feed and initiate resistance responses in the wheat, collecting wheat leaves into liquid nitrogen for RNA extraction later this week. Hopefully this experiment will yield good results soon. The only thing to do now is wait and see.