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Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm

Before continuing with the article, let me first say, ” No, I don’t have too much time on my hands.” Really. As you continue reading this I know you will find that hard to believe. While I would like to blame it on my parents push for intellectual curiosity, I know this isn’t what they had in mind. Nor should you think that noticing stupid things no one else cares about came from the HBS transformational experience. I think I was three the first time I got my head stuck in a banister. (Yes, you read that correctly, I did say the first time.) At five, I decided to conduct an experiment to determine the farthest coin I could reach in the fountain at the mall. Yes, I did fall in. Yes it was -20 outside. (I grew up in Minnesota.) And no, I don’t want to talk about it. This curiosity continued throughout my life. Things just puzzle me. I don’t know why I notice them, I just do. For instance, why does a turn signal light blink faster when one of the bulbs burns out? Why is the “Serving Size” on a can of Coke 12oz., but on a plastic bottle 8oz.?

I am sure if I went to Sloan, someone could answer each of those questions, but I would like to focus on something much more pertinent to each of us at HBS: what is up with the Spangler bathrooms?

What do I mean, you ask? There are 3 sets of large Men/Women’s rooms in Spangler. Two on the bottom floor and one on the main floor. The men’s bathroom is always on the right and the women’s is always on the left, correct? Au contraire, one of these sets is doing its own thing. The set near the IT office on the lower level is reversed.

No big deal, right? Well it wouldn’t be, necessarily, except there are these big doors from the stairway entrances that block the signs labeling the Men and Women’s rooms near the Grille . I have been here more than a year and I still look like a tourist every time I go the bathroom in Spangler. Ok, ok, yes, I’ll admit it. I walked into the wrong bathroom once, but I still say it wasn’t my fault. When complaining about this to some of my friends, they asked why I simply couldn’t remember which was which. I blame my IEF professor for this. He keeps insisting on what he calls, “midnight knowledge:” stuff you should recall immediately when awakening at midnight. I haven’t had the guts to tell him that most people our age aren’t asleep yet at midnight, but I digress. Anyway, this midnight knowledge he keeps shoving into my head includes: the GDP of the 10 largest countries; how to take EBIAT to free cash flows; and the fact that restaurants and kiosks are horrible business ideas. Is it any wonder that I can’t remember which side the Men’s room is on? While I am rambling about the bathrooms, I ask: five sinks, two soap dispensers, one paper towel dispenser?! Enough said. Why is it that a building that includes leather couches, power-assist doors, and plasma TV’s has some of the most confusing bathrooms? Makes you go hmmmm, doesn’t it?

December 8, 2003
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