To the great disappointment of my father I was very mediocre at mathematics. He totally gave up all expectations when it came to my physics knowledge, and knew better than to enquire about my chemistry classes. To me, chemistry was a death subject as I understood none of, resulting in my sheer loathing of it in its high school curriculum form. Despite lacking all understanding of the sciences I have nonetheless always held those who excelled at it in very high regard. The super people. Engineers have been a part of this super people group. To my soft arts-based mind, they are the hard magicians whose arse I will kiss because I happen to think that they are the more impressive profession than the lawyers, the writers, the designers, the gender studies academics. I hold them in awe because I do not understand their world at all.
I will always marvel at a bridge, I will exclaim in astonishment walking under an overpass at the weight of the concrete, I will totally get into the steel works industrial plant and wish I knew more about its functioning, and one does not have to convince me for long to get me into a technologies museum where I can look at model wind farms and old mining equipment.
I remember a conversation I had with my mate Neil when we were still both in high school. Neil asked me what I thought in general of the Lucas Heights reactor and the debate that was happening about it at the time. In an enthusiastic reply I most probably went off on some lefty-enviro-uneducated-dooms-day rant to which Neil listened to patiently without smirking (a hard task for him then I am sure). He then responded with hard scientific facts, gave me a low-down on nuclear power plant functioning elements and its tid bits, threw at me a whole bag-full of uranium information a person such as myself at that age would not have bothered to find out about and then waited seeing if I had been somewhat convinced by what he had said (which by far exceeded my understanding of the situation). I remember being impressed and realising that the sciencie people had their shit going on. Given that Neil is now working in Boston at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, my case of the super people is proven. So much more impressive than being a corporate lawyer.
Even though I hated the binge drinking engineer students when I was twenty as much as the next arts/law student, I now wish I had befriended some. Dinner conversations would have been a whole lot more interesting with amazingly different view points presented. My father-in-law is a chemical engineer and is in charge of a ceramic tile factory, plant and quarry. And even though he drives me mad at times when we’re talking about politics or the economy, most times I sit there mesmerised when he talks about chemical processes, quarry structures and the latest cutting-edge industrial machine developments in the ceramic world coming out of Italy. There.