Friday, August 29, 2008

Grad Student Social

Student Government organized a grad student social yesterday. I
decided to go to go and be social. It was in a bar downtown that they
had reserved. I had to show my graduate student ID to get in, as well
as my driver's license. The place felt like some kind of ratty old
garage or basement. It had bare floors, and bare walls with exposed
steel beams. Random pool tables and arcade games were scattered
around the place.

It was incredibly loud. There were no carpets or cloth of any kind to
absorb sound, so all of the background conversation was magnified and
distorted. This, of course, just forced people to talk louder. And
it got worse and worse as the night went on. More people started
showing up, and then they started playing music. The music itself was
not loud or obnoxious, but it was just enough extra sound to make
people want to talk louder, so it magnified the noise even more.

It was almost impossible to communicate. If you were not within a
foot of the talker, you could not understand them unless you could
read lips, or were really good at reading body language. I suspect
that this effect is an intentional feature of the environment, that
they want people to either get really close to each other or to
communicate on a primal level.

I met a few people I knew, and a few people I didn't. But because of
the communication difficulty, I really didn't get to know anybody. I
tried to be social, but I ended up just leaving early. I was getting
nothing out of it, and risking damage to my hearing.

So now I have attended a party in a bar. It was like touring the
Paris sewer system: interesting and educational, but I have no desire
to do it again.

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