Jason (jcreed) wrote,

zare_k's last post made me think of age-perception, and reminded me to relate a little story that occurred last night.

The scene: Morewood Gardens dormitory, the practice rooms that have the pianos in 'em. 10:59pm. I'm in one, playing "Have you met Miss Jones", I think. A girl walks by, pokes her head in, says


"Uh, if you're a student [meaning "precollege student", which are housed in morewood right now] you have one minute until curfew"

I blink.

"Um, no? I'm 25. I'm a grad student here."

"Oh, I thought you were a student. You have a baby face!"

"Hey, wait a minute, aren't you that 15-year old? [implication: aren't you that genius 15-year-old third-year undergraduate who shiue, rmitz, meshach, and I met playing DDR in the basement of the UC a while ago?]"


"You should talk! [implication: looking conversely a good few years older than you really are, and in any event being in a position of authority here despite being the same age or younger than everyone else."

She makes some sort of noncomittal smile and goes off to make sure everyone else is heading to bead.

After maybe 15 minutes, I head back to the main desk of the dorm to return the key and get my studnet ID back. The desk area is full of maybe like six counselors, all of whom are surprised to see someone apparently egregiously and casually violating curfew. "No, no," I try to explain again, "I'm just a grad student. I was here to use the piano."

"Oh," says one of the counselors, "then you're not allowed in here at all."

"Oh", says I, suddenly remembering that yeah, I guess I have heard about such rules about PGSS and precollege and stuff, the difference this year being I guess that they're housing them in morewood for the first time. "That's funny, though, I thought I'd been coming here for weeks, and nobody said anything."

"Yeah, we thought you were a student."


So I passed repeatedly and to several completely different people as being what, 16 or 17 or so? I find that really weird.I certainly don't think of myself as looking that old, but not that young either. I guess they all had contextual reasons to think that if I was in the building, acting like I was supposed to be there, then I surely MUST be in the program, because everyone knows that nobody else is allowed to be in the building, right? (despite the lack of any signs that I could see to that effect)

On the other hand, it says "Graduate Student" pretty clearly on my ID. Maybe CMU needs better color-coding for different student/staff statuses or something.
Tags: age
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