A Physicist and Businesswoman Meet at the Rubbish Bin

Winter, July 25th. I was strolling on campus grounds shortly after being contained in a temporary economic universe bubble that I have created on my own. Being a stranger in a foreign land, trying to fathom things around you, to capture moments around you, to breathe things around you – has been in contrast a momentary bliss compared to the rubbish bin encounter which might have changed my life forever.  

We all want to belong somewhere, to fight for a cause, to be significant. And so, I found myself staring at an anti-capitalist poster at that fateful rubbish bin placed on the far corner of the lawn that sat between Michie building and the Biosciences Library. I remember having a thought cross my head – “Ah, how appropriate. A very well done subconscious placement. To reject means of capitalization is to accept remnants of waste and recyclables in order to achieve a self-sustainable society”.  

George Orwell’s 1984’s ideology was still fresh in my head, and had it sat for a while with me as I mindlessly read the description on the poster. After a few moments, my bubble was interrupted abruptly by this man. He stood next to me, staring at the poster first. Immediately, I thought he was one of them and would be glad to intrude my space to continually persuade me the social benefits I would gain in the near future – that’s if I join their legion. I smirked, and immediately changed my decision of joining the club if this man chooses to do so. “I do not need a man to persuade me for a cause, as I am a woman of free will to come and go as she wishes,” was my exact thought.  

I smirked again, because I passed judgment on a man who was just standing next to me reading the same poster. For all that could be, he could just be somebody who’s interested as well. I caught myself right there and instantly knew that this ingrained neo-feminism in today’s society has been slowly seeping into my psyche. “I never want to end up being a misandrist, pass that judgment. Let this one go,” I told to myself and continued to pay attention to the poster.  

A part of me wanted to initiate conversation because it was my first day at UQ, so I might as well get acquainted. As I was still wondering what to say, he initiated the conversation before I could. I was utterly dumbfounded and stupefied with what he had said. I could not find an appropriate response since I have not scoured UQ’s environment enough to connect it with its students’ minds. Studies do show that a good environment impacts students’ abilities to thrive and UQ has an ample amount of big green lawns for many purposes, but that did not give me a definite answer. 

To be exact, the words he said were this: “Hey, I was sitting on that bench and decided to come over to tell you that you look pretty.” He was referring to the bench on the grass placed at the midpoint between Darwin café and the Biosciences Library. I looked back at him and immediately noticed his unruly long hair contrasted against his prominent jaw accompanied with probably 3 days’ worth of grizzly stubble. But what really shook me to my core was his intense gaze.  

Ah, the irony. I only wanted to make acquaintances with a man whom I passed judgment on in order to compensate for my lack of social empathy. However, I found myself being instantly not only physically attracted to him, but also towards his straightforwardness and intensity. To make the attraction even worse, he was a physicist. A physicist has absolutely nothing in common with a businesswoman like me, but “To hell with this overanalyzing and paradoxes,” I told myself and invited him for coffee right away.  

Of course, we hit right off the bat, and the best part is that we actually share the same birthdays. Unfortunately, this is how far I will go in telling this story. If you are lucky, you might bump into me someday since I’m still on campus. You will know where to find me. 

Megan Ventura