Just woke up from a brief fragment of a dream that woke me up—not in the frantic sweat like most night interruptors lately—and left me wide awake with an unfamiliar kind of horror.
I was reading my email in the lab, and received an email (3 small paragraphs or so) from the 2nd-year undergraduate female who works as a work study student in the lab, doing general cleaning chores, and the occasional experiment.
“I wanted to thank you so much for going through doing X and Y with me the other day, and explaining how those experiments work. I was really hoping that those stories of grad students & postdocs taking advantage of interested undergrads to teach them how “chemistry works” were true1.”
What the fuck?!?
There was some other paragraph of nonsense in the middle that I didn’t even look at. I was still too much in shock over those first two sentences in the first paragraph. I was starting to tune out reality at the horror of the realization until I saw the following lines constituting the last paragraph.
“I had some questions about how to put together experiments into those nice figures in posters and papers like you were showing me, and what I have to do for these poster sessions at the end of our undergrad research periods. If you have some time to kill and want to talk about that, I would much rather do that right now than deal with filling tip boxes.”
I know I’m going through some rough stuff emotionally going on right now, but this is just downright twisted & disgusting of my subconscious to be manufacturing. Some elements are real amalgamations of the current state of affairs2, but the overall message—like some twisted Japanese manga plot3—is beyond anything I’ve ever feasibly considered. She & I never talk in the lab (yet the other undergrad loves to strike up conversation with her). This whole brief fragment of a dream feels like my subconscious trying to play a sick, twisted joke on my conscious.
What on earth does it mean when my subconscious is trying to scare me so? Or is this just some ill-fated consequence of having only one beer an hour before bedtime?
Can’t really get back to sleep with that haunting me right now, so I guess it’s going to be an early lab day today…
1Mind you I have never assisted this girl with anything in the lab in reality. My mentor & the technician essentially manage her (she’s much more care-free about the work in the lab, much to the contrast of the project student who can ask me unending questions on a Friday night), so there’s no need/desire for me to help and I can just continue on with my experimentation uninterrupted.
2Thanking for scientific assistance, and the email confessional.
3The kind I have long since steered clear of. It’s just bizarre to have these fictional stories that promote taking advantage of innocence. It gets under my skin & gets me irate people think like that. But despite how small a number there may be, these people exist on both sides of the playing field, scarily enough. Doesn’t mean I approve of it any more than I do right now; I just have to accept it’s a reality for some. *twitch*