This last trip I flew with a British FA who we'll call Shona, because that's her name. She does model work when she's not flying, and so armed with the accent and the looks, she's the kind of girl that's going to get into whatever there is in front of her because she can. The second night we landed in Houston, and we all met downstairs to try to figure out what we were going to do for the evening. Shona pointed to a group of folk at the other end of the hotel lobby and said, "Oi, they luke loik an interesting lot, they do." She vanished for a moment, then came back exactly one moment later.
"We're goin wi' them," she said with a grin.
Turns out they were a group of Norwegian mud scientists, and we were going with them to do sushi. I'm going to say that again. Norwegian mud scientists. To be fair, they weren't all from Norwegia... one was a Scot, and some of them were good ol' Southern boys, including one from my home state. But 'sushi in Houston with Norwegian mud scientists' sounds more completely random, and that's what I'm sticking with.
Over dinner, the obvious question was asked: what's a mud scientist? Well, now that I know, I'll tell you...a mud scientist helps oil drillers drill holes in mud. Why do you need a scientist for that when everyone plays with mud from earliest days? Well, because when you drill a hole, you've got a big column of mud around the drill, and knowing the exact cubic amount and consistency of said mud is the difference between breaking the very expensive drill in too-hard mud and losing it altogether in too-soft mud. There's a lot to it, they explained, and they get paid infinitely more to know all of it than anyone would imagine. I giggled out loud that a company would pay someone, anyone to use a slide rule and an abacus to play in mud, and the Scottish guy said, "Great, innit? Now shut it and drink." And having been so ordered, I did.
They've all graduated by now, and are out on the force, mud-calculating. Go to it, guys... MUD AWAY!