- Situation: The Doc Drop.
2. Situation: Who's a Scientist Now?
My Econ Officer colleague has invited me to a lunch at the embassy for Women in Science, not because I have any science background - but as a nice thank-you for my daily efforts (and, I suspect, because she wants all the seats filled). She promises that while all the guests will be Colombian except for the few from the embassy, I won't be called on to speak. I figure I can muster some polite chit-chat in Spanish between bites and accept. The lunch starts with the guest of honor speaking of the importance of encouraging more young women to continue their studies in the sciences and how we should all be mentoring such in our various fields of science. Naturally, she has no idea there is an impostor at the table - me. As she finishes her talk, she then turns the group's attention to the rest of us, seated in a U-shaped table eating our lunches.
(Keep in mind this is ALL in Spanish:)
"Please, introduce yourself one at a time and tell us a little of your background."
As the introductions begin, I hear from the president of a university, a physicist, a professor, a cancer research scientist... and look, it's my turn next.
"Yes, my name is xyz and I'm actually an OMS. Yeah, it's kind of like a secretary. Yup, got a B- in Biology in high school. That's it. Really. Sorry for taking up your time. Shall I give back my chicken and fruit salad now and just leave politely?"
...is what's coming to mind.
Oh dear, all eyes on me. In Spanish now, I say something like:
"Hello my name is xyz and I'm your host's colleague (thought that sounded more impressive). This is my first year with the embassy and in my previous career (true, even if it was six years ago) I was a professional riding instructor, a career for which I studied equine sciences for years (two years, to be exact - but who's counting?)."
Ha! There was even a hushed, "Ohhh...? around the room as no one was expecting to hear that.
As the rest of the room introduced themselves, naturally, I thought of silly plays-on-words I could have managed to say regarding working in the "field of equine sciences - literally" but those things never come to us when we need them, do they? The rest of the lunch went fine and I used the old trick of engaging people by asking them questions about themselves, leaving little time for me to have to answer any about myself. Phew.
Moral of the story: Being an OMS means being ready to chip in anywhere and being able to punt with accuracy to get a job done.
Thank heavens they didn't ask us all to sing!