Sobriety

Feeling sober today - at least right now. Not that I've been partaking of alcohol or anything druggy like the protagonists of The Goldfinch. I can't quite say that I'm enjoying the book. It's more like a train accident you can't help gawking at. All that's happening is a bit unbelievable.

No, I'm feeling sober today because I had a reasonable dinner last night, and a breakfast today. The time for indulging is over, and I shall have to get serious about some stuff. Yes. Serious.

Memories of shimming, overlaid by the Goldfinch
The journals, they need to be sorted through and then I will have to dispose of them somehow. Then there are the clothes that are left behind in the closets. Those will have to go too. Speaking of closets, I think that I have two boxes of stuff at PK's parents' home in Hove still. This from 1978 - probably too late to go reclaim or sort through those now. In fact, PK is no longer with us, and I doubt that his parents would remember me at all. I wonder who will find those boxes and what they'll make of it. Well, better they find those boxes than these journals although I have to say that flipping through them, the most common entry seems to be "Book MRI from 2am - 6am". Lord, those overnight scans. I don't know how I survived them now. All that shimming to get the magnetic fields just so so that your peaks were truly Gaussian, and not biased, and checking 1) that the thioether peaks shifted to become sulfoxide ones, and then 2) that the sulfoxide ones were shifted even more by conjugation to the Ru centre. Those were the days when you got a clean spectra, a strong 1500cm shift in the IR, and then joy of joys, a 99.8% match in E.A. (PB became my best friend), MS fragmentation patterns and then the ultimate, having SR call up and say, "Your data sets are ready - it was fast, the crystals were so well-formed, they were like diamonds!". Goodness, KM was pissed with me because crystals dropped out of my reaction solutions like raindrops in the Pacific North-West. He even asked me to lay my hands on his reaction flasks to see whether my energies would make his phosphine complexes fall out of solution. I did, but they didn't.

When I look back at those days in the dingy labs of the old block (before we moved to the new block) where it was only pristine for a few months, I must say the experience was one of several things. It was an education in the classical sense - that I was learning academic things I didn't know about. It was also limbo of sorts because by staying in graduate school, I didn't have to deal with the real world - in that sense, it was very much your typical ivory towers except I never bought into the academic cliques, nor did I participate in the club-forming booze-ups. It was also a way to hide a little bit longer - hiding from not knowing what I wanted to do, nor indeed what I hoped to achieve.

I could look back now and say what a waste of time, but that'd only be berating myself for no good reason because back then, I didn't know what I wanted to do. Today, I have a better idea of what i'd like to do although the idea of leaving a legacy behind these days seems futile mostly because the majority of people are so self-centered that they won't care. I explain myself badly and will expound on this some other time. I think. I guess that maybe...I don't know what to think...so I won't. At least for the time being.