Tuesday, February 02, 2010
That morning, I left the house at 6:30 a.m. in order to ensure I could get to San Francisco, specifically the edge of the Mission/Cesar Chavez area, by 9:30. This may sound like overkill, but it turned out I needed that entire time (plus a little) due to the fact that it rained heavily throughout the trip and didn't let up until I got there (of course). But it was worth it, of course. Once I arrived, I knocked on the door of what appeared to be a sort of warehouse, which houses the Mythbusters/M5 Industries offices and workshop. In the photo above, you can see the check-in table and a few of the other volunteers (there were about 25 of us). We got name tags and proceeded to wait in what seemed to be the kitchen/break room area until we were called down for our turn to participate in the experiment.
While we waited, we were asked a few inevitable questions such as our ages--at which point I found out, happily, that I was NOT the oldest person there by a long shot, though the group was a bit skewed towards 20-somethings. Also, we were asked The Ethnicity Question. That's always been a fun one (or not) for me. As a child, I enjoyed giving the most complicated possible answer by going into excruciating detail about every single fraction of my ethnic makeup. Now I try to suit the answer to the situation, usually going for less rather than more detail. But this wasn't a multiple choice situation, just the check-in guy going around and writing the answers down.
So I opened my mouth and said "Pakistani, Czechoslovakian, and Caucasian." And then realized how that sounded, after everybody else was all "Caucasian" or "Scandiavian" or "English and German" or whatever nice and simple answers they were lucky to be able to provide. The guy kind of laughed and said "Cool," and then I was glad I hadn't given him the really detailed answer but instead just went for the largest fractions. For a second I thought I should have given him one of the mashup ethnicities that Rob and I came up with--Pakislovakian or Czechistani--but figured I sounded weird enough already. He didn't need to know that anything my maternal grandmother said about her heritage is suspect except for the Irish and probably the English parts, nor did he need to know that the Pakistani part actually originated in India but has quite a bit of Arab blood mixed in, too.
Despite the fact that discussing my ethnicity makes me sigh sometimes, and also that my answer to that question at the Mythbusters studio probably made me "the weird volunteer," I had a good time. As for the experiment itself--I'll just have to give you a post-airdate debriefing, during which you'll find out why I'm also probably now "the problem volunteer."