I met with Dr. Koch on Thursday re: Goldwater. The first thing he asked me was what topics I was interested in. This I expected. I told him the truth--the less useful it is outside of math, the more interesting I typically find it.
"So I take it you enjoyed number theory," he said.
"I did," I replied. "And I'm really liking algebra right now. And geometry, even though I'm not a visual person at all." And then I went on about how saying a segment AB was really the same as some other segment PQ (except the endpoints are relabeled) just didn't make any sense to me if you just drew them and made the claim, but if you wrote it down in abstract terms by the definition, it suddenly made so much more sense because I could understand that so much more easily.
And he told me about the time he had to teach the last month or so of the geometry class a few years ago because Dr. Lewin was having a hip replacement. It was really difficult for him because he had all these algebraic definitions for things, so naturally he felt my pain. "You'd have a better career as an algebraist than in geometry or topology," he said. I do want to take topology, though--probably as a 410 next year. I don't want to see it for the first time ever in grad school.
So a few more minutes of talking about related issues, and finally he asked, "Who's your advisor, anyway?"
I tried not to laugh. "You are," I said.
I expected another joke then, but he actually buried his head in his hands in that "Aw, man!" expression and said, "You know, I don't get embarrassed easily, but this is pretty embarrassing." Meanwhile, I'm still sitting there trying not to crack up. It was definitely a schadenfreude moment.
Today I wandered into Decatur and found my way into Starbucks. A few minutes later I found my way out with a hot chocolate in hand, settled myself at one of those tables, and wrote.
For two and a half hours. Considering how little I've written in Dr. Nbook lately, it felt amazing to just let go and write.
On the way back, I noticed the perfectly cloudless sky, completely opposite the cloudy sky last night. I stopped just before crossing the road to enter the tunnel to look up at the stars and pick out the constellations that I knew. I was amazed that I could actually see them in the first place, especially with the light pollution. Finally I just stood and stared at the sky for a few minutes; several people walked around me as I did so, probably thinking I was crazy.
But that's okay.
One problem to go. I stared at it today for what felt like forever, playing with it, trying to make it work. I just couldn't then, so I let it go. Tomorrow is another day.