I have a Bachelors degree in Anthropology and Geography, and I am currently working on a Post-Bac certificate in Pre-Med studies. Pre-Med studies include: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus. I’ve performed laboratory research, spent quite a lot of time interning with PhD’s and MD’s, and have also studied and written more pages than I care to admit.
Ok, so I have spent the last seven years up to my eyeballs in science. Here is what it has done to me in terms of how I interact with my world and the people in it.
1. When I am having a conversation with someone, I tend to assess the structure of their skull. I have spent so many hours drawing the bones of the skull that I literally can picture their skull bones as they’re talking to me. I think about the protrusion of their foreheads, the motion of their mandible going up and down as they talk, etc.
2. I think about ideal conditions for bacteria very often, and it inhibits my consumption habits. I have three water bottles that I rotate throughout the week. I usually put ice cubes, a lemon slice, and water in one in the morning, and carry it with me throughout the day. If the water bottle sits for too long, and then I get thirsty and open it, I stare at the lemon and wonder what type of bacteria favor the level of acidity and temperature of the water. Oftentimes, I dump the water out.
3. The concept of “normal vs weird,” is VERY hard for me to NOT get soapbox-ish about. I have a hard time entering a conversation discussing how a culture is “weird.” I can certainly feel uncomfortable with customs of some cultures, but I really don’t get very judgey when I hear about dogs being a main dish in some cultures, or lip plates or neck extensions. I find them interesting, but not necessarily weird. Which is probably why I have a TON of tattoos; I just see them as “my normal.” Same with different types of family arrangements, (homosexual, heterosexual, multiple partners, etc.)
4. Discussion of death, birth, biological functions, and bodily functions are not taboo for discussion with my four year old, or my grandmother. Sex, death, bodily excretions… they’re all pretty common for me to feel very comfortable talking about. In fact, something sensational like sex (which might make your grandmother uncomfortable talking about) actually is something I can make sound pretty academic and mechanical. My son knows about oxygen in blood, and what happens when you get cut and blood clotting happens, etc. I don’t mind discussing death, because it is biologic in function, and understanding it makes him not be afraid or uncomfortable with something.
5. I have a comparative collection of various animal skulls and skeletal bits in my living room. The boar skull is my favorite.
6. I know an awful lot about the history and prehistory of pretty much every culture on the planet, except recent American history. I was taught by a South American archaeologist, a Central American archaeologist, and a Central African archaeologist. I just spent way more time learning about the cultures in those areas, and either never learned or forgot what I knew about US history. It is actually a goal of mine to re-learn some of it.
7. I hard-core critique any movie dealing with zombies (infectious disease) or cultural / period-pieces. It’s really difficult not to apply what I know about evolution, emerging infectious diseases, disease transmission, cultures, and ancient practices to watching extremely well-funded movies. If you can afford $150 million to make a movie, you can hire some scientists to help you out. Don’t just make stuff up, seriously. It’s a favorite past-time of mine to cut down movies and TV shows. That being said, I don’t care how inaccurate The Walking Dead is, I’m literally addicted to it.
8. Reading labels in the grocery store has literally caused me anxiety attacks before. After learning how to correctly read ingredients lists, I recognize hundreds of different words that mean “poison,” in one form or another. Understanding chemical names, and the different names applied for things like fat and sugar, different sorts of unnecessary ingredients simply for color aesthetics or preservation… I could go on forever. It’s very difficult to buy anything except organic, raw spinach without me second guessing the purchase. Grocery shopping is intense.