Sunday, October 25, 2009

The engineer

My father is something else. If you don't explain something in minute detail - he argues with you about the minute detail you left out.

I'm convinced it must be the engineer in him.

My father is brilliant - really. You can give the man anything to read from any discipline and he understands it and can explain it. So - I'll sometimes give him an academic article to read that I'm having trouble with so I have someone to talk through it with me.

Today I was working on my diss at my parents house and I sent him an academic article to read via email so we could talk about it.

Dad: I have two emails from you.

Me: Yes. Don't read the draft of my dissertation I sent you. Please read the other email - I've attached a journal article I want you to read.

Dad: Okay. Fine. What is the subject line?

Me: I don't remember.

Dad: Okay - which one is longer?

Me: My draft is over hundred pages, the article is like 15.

Dad: So you want me to read the 100 page or the 15?

Me: The shorter one.

Dad: So the fifteen?

Me: Yes, the fifteen.

Dad: Okay.

He shuffles off to his office, wearing the pink slippers he took from my mother. He liked them, so he took them. My mom went back to the store and got herself purple ones. So they wear matching slippers in pink and purple.

A few minutes later...

Dad: I can't open the paper because it is a doc.x. I don't have .docx on my computer.

Me: No dad - the .docx is my dissertation draft. You need to read the pdf file.

Dad: No. You want me to read the .docx.

Me: No. I want you to read the pdf.

My mother: Why do you ask your dad to do anything?! You know how he complicates everything!

Dad: Well'k (an arabic term - a curse that I will not translate), you want me to read the .docx!


Me: I THINK I KNOW what I want you to read, dad!

(now we are raising our voices - something that middle easterns do - and something I only do when I am at home with my parents. Paul can't handle this mode of communication)

Dad: Can I say something.

Me: Dad...

Dad: Can I say something? (louder)

Me: Fine.

Dad: You told me to read the longer paper. Correct?

Me: (sigh) Yes.

Dad: The longer paper is the .docx file.

Me: NO!

Dad: Well'k the .docx file is 3295 kb and the pdf file is 345 kb.

Me: Well the pdf is longer!

Dad: How can the pdf be longer?!

Me: I don't know! It's only 15 pages and the .docx is 103!

Dad: Well how am I supposed to know that? I go by kb, not pages. The pdf is 3295 kb and the .docx is 345 kb. That tells me the pdf is longer.


Me: (I take a deep breath in). Dad. Maybe the pdf file takes up more kb than the document file


Me: And I didn't know you went by kb.

Dad: Well I do. I go by kb.

Me: Okay. Will you please read the 3000 plus kb?

Dad: Sure. I'll read it.

And THIS is just about opening the file. We haven't even gotten into discussing the contents of the file. 

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