29 June 2011

History repeating, not repairing

Warning: This post contains strong language. Four letter words. Curses! Swearing!

Set the wayback machine, Sherman. Back to the very early days of this blog.

Back in the early days of this blog, when I still had some of that new Assistant Professor smell, I wrote about our ice machine. Quite a bit, actually. The first post is here, dated late August 2003. It’s not a bad little rant, though I say it myself:

Over the last year, a distinct pattern has emerged. Ice machine breaks. Ice machine is taken away, leaving bare pipe sticking out of the wall where it should be sitting. My colleague Mike Persans (who is a self-admitted pushy New Yorker) keeps after the maintainence people, asking when it's going to be fixed.

Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months.

The ice machine finally returns. It works for about a week, and breaks again. Back to square one.

It's like some weird battle of nerves between the machine and maintenance versus the biologists. I think we biologists are going to be the first to break. Because as far as we've been able to determine, there seems to be absolutely no sense of urgency or comprehension on the part of almost anyone else that we scientists need this thing.

There are intermittent updates until about April 2004. Because that was about when we got this fancy new machine:

See? All stainless steel, looks like something you’d find in a real classy hotel restaurant or something.

But alas! Like Old Mother Hubbard...

We ain’t got no ice. Above the scoop is this sign:

It’s been like that for about six and a half weeks. That breaks the 40 day record back in October 2003.

And it’s the same goddamn shit all over again. Nobody outside of the department seems to have any interest in getting this simple piece of common equipment fixed during peak research season.

For. Fuck’s. Sake.

Administration tells us to use the one in the Chemistry Department. And yes, it’s good that theirs is working (even though it’s not as good as ours when it works). I mean, it’s wildly improbable that we would have two ice machines in two departments breaking at the same time... Wait, I have a blog post that records exactly that happening last time. Perhaps proof that probability is a lesser force in the universe than the Law of Maximum Inconvenience.

But dammit, what pisses me off is not that I have to go up one storey in the building. It’s the principle of the thing. This is exactly the sort of things that universities supposed to keep running with that cut they take out of research grants that faculty get. The principle is having things that work. About having requests met. It’s about competence of the people around you.

Which leave me wondering, to paraphrase Dr. Evil, why I am surrounded by friggin’ incompetence?

Cue the music, Miss Bassey: “And it’s all just a little bit of history repeating...”

1 comment:

KateClancy said...

When I finally get a grant that comes with overhead, I am going to really start bitching and moaning. Because I have never once had the floor of my office cleaned. Because the water fountain has been out of order for over a year now. Because they stopped cleaning the floors in the lab and the temperature fluctuates in there. Because they get mold in the ceiling of the lab once a year.


All of this is to say... I hear you.