The Loh Life

Not the Sea of Tranquility

Sandra Tsing Loh says two co-workers really annoy her.

I have two colleagues I work with, a man and a woman, whom I call the Bickersons. They’re not married, the Bickersons, but with the all of the absurd FIGHTS they have, maybe they should be. It’s a marvel to WITNESS: they can spar VIGOROUSLY over hybrids versus Fit cars, which U.S. city has the best-tasting TAP water, which Trader Joe’s has the worst PARKING lot, the merits of seeded versus SMOOTH Dijon mustard, which is the worst Olympic SPORT to watch—SHE hates archery because of those new-fangled compound bows—“Where is the skill? How can you possibly miss? There’s practically a laser on it!” HE flashes back that WHAT is women’s judo but “just a coupla HEAVY gals in puffy coats KICKING each other?”

Of course, I think they must be SECRETLY madly in LOVE, because the next day they always start RIGHT up again on a new topic, as though YESTERDAY never happened.

But RECENTLY came an argument I’d never heard the likes OF before. Dan comes in—good mood, cheeks flushed, eyes bright—says:

“Oh hey, did you see the Mars Rover landing last night?”

Lisa, casually pouring coffee, shrugs her shoulders:

“Oh, I didn’t watch it. It’s not my thing.”

Dan stops dead in his tracks. Thunderbolt.

“Not your THING?” he asks, incredulously.

“Well I YouTubed it later. It was fine. Bunch of guys in a control room, computer simulation, meh.” She actually went “meh.”

“Meh? Oh! 40 years ago, going to the moon! Was THAT also not ‘your thing’?”

“Oh no,” she says. “THAT was amazing. That was an actual PERSON.”

“This is the future of SPACE travel!” he practically shouts. “What—were you too busy trying to set a new RECORD playing four-deck Spider Solitaire?”

This is a sore point—Lisa has a weakness for Spider Solitaire.

That was it. It was talons out.

“You know what, Dan? she snarled. "I’m SO over Mars! I’m SO over the Mars Rover! I just CAN’T get that excited about it! What happened to the OLD days when space exploration was about moons like TITAN and poisonous GASES 100 degrees below ZERO and possible EXTRATERRESTRIALS? NOW it’s all about a computer simulation of this little golf cart, dropping down onto a sand dune! And then this little squeaky arm lifts up, and scoops up, hey, some dirt, and they analyze it for—drum roll—selenium! ‘Maybe one time there was a microbe here? Maybe.’ Ok, and maybe I’ll just Tevo it later.

“Oh for God’s sake woman,” I had to finally break in. “I can’t believe you have a beef with the MARS ROVER. Get over yourself!”

To Dan I said, “Lay off women’s judo.”

And thus endeth today’s episode: the Bickersons on Mars.


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