>> Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Work was a bit interesting yesterday. I work someplace people from all walks of life visit. If you don't remember, I work at a butterfly enclosure. It is no surprise that I have people call me a liar, a genius, a Satanist, an entertainer, and more. Why all the weird and differing responses? Well, some people do not like what I have to say. My tours tend to be a bit more sciencey than most of the other tours. I don't mean to do this, it is just a part of who I am. Most of the people I tour (a solid 98% I'm sure) applaud, tell me I did great, or tip. The other 2%?
Well, they like to argue. Interrupt. Ask religious questions. Try to stump me. These are people who think science is the downfall of civilization and really only came in to see some butterflies. Most butterfly enclosures have a few signs up, but not guided tours explaining the life cycle and other science things. You can tell the type from a mile away. They pretend they don't want to do your tour, then saunter in when explaining the ooze at the bottom of the chrysalis and start to rail you.
Yesterday, it happened to one of my co-workers instead. This co-worker is not usually one to give too much science info. Well, a certain tourist really laid into him. Proceeded to ask us (me and manager lady) questions in the gift shop after the tour to see if co-worker guy and our stories matched up. I had to try to explain the common ancestor theory used in cladistics and the like to this guy. He kept saying things like, "well, it still just a theory." Of course, I cannot keep my mouth shut and had to explain to him that everything we do in science is just a theory because the basis of the scientific method is to falsify ourselves.
We are constantly trying to prove ourselves wrong! Glad I got that off my chest...
Ok. My heart was pounding and I could feel the anxiety kicking in, big time. This is usually when things get really heated, after all. Not the first time I had to explain to someone that science is not evil. Not the first time I pointed out that science gave you polyester blend so you can keep buying cheap clothes at Conglomo-Mart. Or that science is what gives you the ability to watch TV, take a cruise, use a cell phone, walk comfortably in sneakers, sleep on a great mattress and more. I kept smiling. I regurgitated tons of info from evolutionary biology and genetics in a way everyone could understand... and he said "ok!"
I almost fainted.
This never happens. My arguments are getting stronger. He actually said I made sense. I really almost fainted. My manager was so happy she had a pseudo-biologist on board yesterday because she was ready to just write it off as another "that's just your opinion, sir" moment. She said I handled it well. I don't usually get told I "handle things well." Quite the opposite, in fact. She actually was glad I was there because she learned things!
I am pleased.