Now, I’m all for lab meetings: they’re necessary and useful for the testing and drawing of ideas, the exposure to criticism, as well as the development of presentation skills and all that box-ticking stuff. However, without being sure why, I still often dread them- when it’s my turn. It’s not the speaking I mind – if I have something worth talking about, then it might be hard to shut me up. (Warning: don’t bring up Led Zeppelin when I’ve had a few to drink.) But when what I consider best approached as an informal discussion about someone’s particular bag has morphed into the guise of seminar-like panache, then, being one in a data-deficient rut still reeling from an ‘almost’ blow, I find it an uncomfortable exercise. I’m not a spin doctor and just don’t see the point in talking if there’s nothing to say.
However, it wouldn’t be the done thing to behave like a Tory politician in response to questions about Ashcroft’s taxes. I do have respect for my good colleagues. So, instead of turning up with nothing and winging it by ad-lib, I was in at the weekend, whence, in my ongoing fight with perhaps the most transient in vitro element in cell biology, I actually got a surprisingly nice result. So, I tacked a couple of images on to the end of a previous ‘presentation’ (for reminder purposes), purchased the
pacification Jaffa Cakes, and tried it out – with a slew of caveats. When I’m presenting my stuff, I am invariably the most negative sceptical in the room. Don’t get over-excited: I have to reproduce it with other cultures. But, if it’s a real affect, I may well have the explanation for the recent tripwire.
And it went okay: the usual mix of novel and repeated questions, the answerable, unanswerable and irritating, supportive and fractious comments; and I come out with that mild euphoria, having ‘got away’ with it – this scrutiny by local peer review panel – again, still to be exposed as that flummoxed incompetent. (It’s bizarre: whilst I’m sure one or two are on to me, others seem to believe it’s all going swimmingly well?!?) And that jokey friendly thing continues for a while; and, fuelled by residual adrenalin and another shot of caffeine, I attack the day’s labour with gusto. And I treat myself to an early (6 pm) finish: home to a book, and a beer, and the football on TV – and to knock this out; but before I can post it, I’m going to have to suss out this MT4 thing that everybody’s so excited about. Hmm – could take some time. Perhaps I’ll sort tomorrow.