Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Stainer Conversation

Have you ever been sitting at work, doing your job, when suddenly a conversation pierces the radio you're listening to? And that conversation makes you stop, roll your eyes, shake your head, and almost start talking to yourself? Out loud. Where your co-workers could possibly hear you. The other night, at work, this very thing happened. Although I may have mumbled a few things out loud . . . hopefully not loud enough for anyone to actually overhear said mumbles. Here's the set up:

Two ladies are hollering at each other over machines in regards to a stainer that stains blood smear slides. For anonymity's sake, I shall call them Lady 1 and Lady 2.

Lady 1: Is there something wrong with your stainer?

Lady 2: I don't know. Is there something wrong with my slides?

Lady 1: There's something wrong with your slides. I think there's something wrong with your stainer.

Lady 2: I don't know what's wrong. What's wrong with my stainer?

(At some point Lady 1 comes to Lady 2 to try to figure out what is wrong with said stainer. Turns out, the stainer was out of Methanol, which fixes the blood to the slide so it won't wash off when the slides go through the actual stain cycle and the rinse cycle. There was a long pause in this conversation because apparently neither lady knew where the Methanol was stored if it was in the magical cabinets within our department. When they find some, Lady 1 has Lady 2 refill the Methanol in her stainer, and the conversation proceeds . . .)

Lady 1: You're slides are still messed up. Did you prime the stainer?

Lady 2: Is priming cleaning?

Lady 1: Yes. Cleaning is priming.

Lady 2: How do I prime?

Lady 1: Just prime the stainer.

Lady 2: So priming cleans the stainer?

Lady 1: What? No. Priming isn't cleaning.

Lady 2: So what is priming?

(Now mind you, at least three people who are hearing this conversation know the difference between "cleaning" and "priming". For starters, there's a button that says "CLEAN". And there's no direct button for priming. Also, these three people -including myself - are chuckling to ourselves because this all sounds totally ridiculous. They are literally hollering to each other over machines. And any one of us could easily have walked to the stainer and shown Lady 2 the difference and how to do it. Yet . . . we didn't. And finally Lady 1 comes back to the stainer . . .)

Lady 1: We need to prime the stainer. It's washing the blood off the slides.

Lady 2: I've been telling you I don't know how to prime. Isn't priming cleaning?

Lady 1: Oh . . .no, it's not. I have it priming, just clean it when it's done.

Lady 2: What do I do to clean it? (Oddly enough, she actually does know this, but by this time I'm not sure she could find the stainer, which sits right next to her, considering Lady 1 has her turned upside down).

Lady 1: Just clean it once it's done.

Lady 2: It won't let me clean it, I have to prime it again.

Lady 1: Why are you priming again?

Lady 2: You want me to clean it after priming?

(By this time, I'm ready to either burst out laughing or scream in frustration.)

Lady 1: (back at stainer) I'm cleaning it. Stain some slides when it's done and I'll check to see if your stain is ok.

Lady 2: So you don't need me to clean it?

Seriously. Almost sounds like a horrific version of "Who's on First" to me. Yes, granted, I could have stopped it. Two others could have stopped it. However, we were busy. And though it was annoying as hell, it was also quite entertaining. Because at some point it really hits you as to who is having this conversation.

They're your supervisors.

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