Thursday, April 19, 2012

Coconut bait

Coconuts are cheap in Ukenzagapia, so it was a favorite high-calorie field snack. I'd crack them open and then use a butter knife to chip out pieces of coconut. I love coconut, but I don't ever buy them whole here in Big City. It just feels... out of place.

Today I went to an event to be recognized for a modest award. I didn't know anyone else at the event but I hung around afterwards for the food. I had a small lunch, and I'm a real sucker for cheese and crackers. They had a nice spread of fruit, too, and there in the center of the fruit plate was a big chunk of coconut in the shell as garnish. I really, really wanted to eat it.

I decided that eating the garnish would be kind of weird (and awkward without a knife), so I stood around eating my heaping plate of goodies, hoping no one else would take the coconut so I could pick it up on my way out. Through little effort of my own, I started talking to two other awardees before I could finish my food and split. One thing led to another, and I ended up in conversation with a computer science graduate student. Just yesterday I hit a wall (right at the beginning) trying to figure out how to use a Perl script to manage metadata (translation: simple computer science problem). This student is working on a very similar method in Python, and will almost surely be able to help me. All because I wanted some coconut.

There have been many times in grad school when good things have come from "just showing up", but in this case it took some bait to make me stick around.

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