Sunday, March 7, 2010

WARNING: Nerds May Seem Closer Than They Appear

The night began as any other typical Saturday evening would in Provo. A sense of restlessness, a flurry of activity and socializing, a crowded University Ave.--oft making any vehicular travel frustrating--and the expectation of a good movie with friends.

This particular Saturday’s movie selection was the much talked about “Slumdog Millionaire,” a film offered through BYU’s international cinema program—one of the University’s hidden gems (or so I thought). Turns out the movie was quite well-known judging by the roughly 437.6 people standing in line, reproducing approximately the length of the LaVell Edwards football stadium. I seemed to have underestimated the attraction of Mormons to the “clean flicks” editions of good rated R movies. We were forced to re-strategize our night’s goals.

After strolling over to the Eyring Science Center and playing with the assortment of gadgets and science experiments strewn about the building’s main area, we had collapsed in a thin hallway where we were admiring a glass display of Russian nesting dolls along with the seemingly unfit placement of a zebra Beanie Baby named Ziggy.

Enter “Spencer”—real name omitted for his protection (not to protect his safety, but future dating opportunities). Donning a Star Trek shirt and a disarmingly large grin, he greeted us in the small corridor. After a bit o’ small talk, he offered to give us a tour of some of the facilities he has access to as a physics major, forebodingly known as “the basement.” We weren’t sure why he would offer such an opportunity, but intrigued we ventured into the depths of the science center.

Appearing like some secret lab out of a James Bond movie, the basement was very cool-looking—in a sterile, mad scientist sort of way. “Spencer” led us down to one of the larger rooms with a bright yellow sign attached to the doors, reading:

“Big Scary Laser: Do not look into beam with remaining eye.”

We all laughed at it (somewhat suspiciously, I might add), and slowly proceeded to enter the room. A quick scan of our surroundings told us that this place was every nerd’s paradise. There were some computers in one corner, others scattered about, lasers and other contraptions on lab tables, a pair of light sabers in a box near us and a ridiculously complicated-looking math equation taking up an entire white board.

Eagerly, our geeky tour guide showed us around, tossing out terms like “Strontium,” “inferatory” and “U.S.S. Enterprise” (Trekkie reference) as we explored. Admittedly the tour was pretty fascinating and our escort’s enthusiasm for his surroundings a little infectious. However, we began getting bored so we said our goodbyes.

We walked back to my car enlightened, worn-out and grateful that our Saturday nights usually consist of activities with other life forms above ground.

Thank you Spencer, wherever you are, for such a special evening.

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