So let’s turn it into a bit of a rant space this week, shall we?
Now, yesterday I was in the middle of my analytical chemistry lab. We were working on titrations (as usual) only this week we had to use something called a pH electrode. It’s this fancy doohickey that is basically a long tube that ends in a very fragile, very expensive bulb. This is hooked up to a pH meter in order to get your readings because they haven’t yet designed pH electrodes that aren’t just peripherals. Or have they? I don’t know.
But titrations. In general, we titrate and rely on the color change of the indicator to tell us where the endpoint is so we can then calculate the molecular weight of the analyte using the volume of titrant. Fairly simple stuff, unless you want to talk about last week; there were so many numbers that I had no idea what to do with them all. Still, I managed a decent 27 out of 30 and, really, the place where I got docked off the most points was in my objective for not including bicarbonate as one of the two components of the unknown. But that’s neither here nor there. What I’m trying to say is that titrations are complicated when you’re trying to be careful.
In order to fully appreciate this rant, there is something else you need to know: people rarely call me. Ever. My phone is usually silent. I have just a standard flip phone which has served me well throughout the years because getting a smartphone is 1) unnecessary to me at this point in time, as I am not in that high a demand to be constantly connected 2) well out of my means, as I have to pay for my phone by myself and I’m your stereotypical “broke-as-fuck-college-student”, and 3) I just need a phone, thanks. If I wanted another iPod, I would definitely save up for one, but I don’t. I’m actually hoping I’ll luck out and my best friend’s boyfriend (who is also a friend and a bit of a wizard with technology) will be able to resurrect my fallen iPod touch.
So, the phone is usually silent. I sometimes get texts and the like but actual phone calls are not a daily occurrence. I find that this elicits a strange response from me whenever my phone rings; I am easily startled by the sound of my own ringtone and will jump a little out of my seat when it rings. As it turns out, I received not one but two phone calls yesterday, both in places and situations where reacting in such a way to my godsawful ringtone must make me seem just a bit ridiculous.
The first was, of course, in the middle of lab. Again, one has to be careful when titrating, particularly when you’ve gone from “add titrant 1.5 mL at a time” to “add titrant in 2 drop increments” and your burette isn’t exactly as cooperative as you’d like. Luckily, I wasn’t the one titrating with the electrode at the time; my partner was in the middle of that 2-drop-then-1-drop part of the experiment and I thought it would be more efficient if I just let her have at it. Also, I wasn’t feeling very well, a direct consequence of various people who can’t seem to cover their mouths when they’re sick and cough, the inconsiderate bastards. But, yes, my phone went off, I nearly jumped off of my stool, and I reflexively answered it. It was just a phone bank asking me if I was voting for their candidate. I said “Sure” and then bid them a good evening, despite the fact that I still haven’t a damn clue, just to get them off of my phone. I pay per minute, dammit, leave me alone!
The second phone call was from my mother, calling me to report on my brother-in-law’s unfortunate situation. It seems the big lump decided to go eat out at McDonald’s and, of course, got Salmonella. I don’t normally crow on about other people’s circumstances, but it serves him right for trying to break off his relatively healthier lifestyle like that. But it was while I was in the university library, which is a dreadfully public place, so I must have no doubt seemed like a bit of a freak, jumping a couple inches off of my chair like that. Maybe I just shouldn’t sit down whenever I have my phone out. Who knows?