Anyways, I had this conversation outside the other day while having (GASP!) a smoke. One of the IT undergrads came up to ask me if he could bum a cig, which I obliged. There is a little "unspoken" smoker's etiquette that if you are not on your phone, or walking away, you awkwardly try to start a conversation with the person you just bummed a smoke from.
UG: So, you work here? (points to old building I am leaning against- mind you there are multiple "departments" in the building-the 3rd-5th floors have functioning labs)
Dr. Zeek: Yup, I work in the labs on the third floor.
UG: Oh, I've been up there a few times. How many credits are you taking this semester?
Dr. Zeek: (huh? whaaa?)Credits? Oh, no I went to (insert name of small liberal arts college here. I am a ....
UG: (cutting me off mid-sentence) Oh, so you just started grad school...I heard its pretty rough here.
Dr. Zeek: (trying to get a word in edgewise) No, No, finished grad school last year...
UG: (again cutting me off)
Dr. Zeek (now I am getting a tad frustrated...)
UG: (stares at me, stares at the ground, stares at me again...extremely uncomfortable at this point)
Obviously he was a tad uncomfortable after he realized that I was a Dr. just like his professors that held the fate of his GPA in their hands. Its weird, because that's one of the reasons (esp when out at the bar's and stuff with MrDrZeek and his friends) that I keep it on the down-low that I have my PhD. Its not that I am ashamed of it, its just that sometimes it seems to make people really uncomfortable, esp when they find out I have a PhD in Chemistry. The normal response "Ohhhh, you must be really smart..." And I have to laugh, "Nope," I usually respond, "I just pretend."