The Rosie Project Page 57

\So, I don\ trust men. I don\ believe they\ e what they say they are. I\m afraid they\ e going to let me down. That\s my summary from seven years of studying psychology.\

This seemed a very poor result for seven years of effort, but I assumed she was omitting the more general knowledge provided by the course.

\You want to meet tomorrow evening?\ said Rosie. \We can do whatever you want to do.\

I had been thinking about my plans for the next day.

\I know someone at Columbia,\ I said. \Maybe we could go there together.\

\What about the museum?\

\I\ve already compressed four visits into two. I can compress two into one.\ There was no logic in this, but I had drunk a lot of beer, and I just felt like going to Columbia. Go with the flow.

\See you at eight - and don\ be late,\ said Rosie. Then she kissed me. It was not a passionate kiss;it was on the cheek, but it was disturbing. Neither positive nor negative, just disturbing.

I emailed David Borenstein at Columbia then Skyped Claudia and told her about the day, omitting the kiss.

\Sounds like she\s made a big effort,\ said Claudia.

This was obviously true. Rosie had managed to select activities that I would normally have avoided, but enjoyed immensely. \And you\ e giving her the guided tour of the Museum of Natural History on Wednesday?\

\No, I\m going to look at the crustaceans and the Antarctic flora and fauna.\

\Try again,\ said Claudia.

26

We took the subway to Columbia. David Borenstein had not replied to my email. I did not mention this to Rosie who invited me to her meeting, if it did not clash with mine.

\I\ll say you\ e a fellow researcher,\ she said. \I\d like you to see what I do when I\m not mixing drinks.\

Mary Keneally was an associate professor of psychiatry in the Medical Faculty. I had never asked Rosie the topic of her PhD. It turned out to be Environmental Risks for Early Onset Bipolar Disorder, a serious scientific topic. Rosie\s approach appeared sound and well considered. She and Mary talked for fifty-three minutes, and then we all went for coffee.

\At heart,\ Mary said to Rosie, \you\ e a psychiatrist rather than a psychologist. You\ve never thought of transferring to Medicine?\

\I came from a medical family,\ said Rosie. \I sort of rebelled.\

\Well, when you\ve finished rebelling, we\ve got a great MD programme here.\

\Right,\ said Rosie. \Me at Columbia.\

\Why not? In fact, since you\ve come all this way ...\ She made a quick phone call, then smiled. \Come and meet the Dean.\

As we walked back to the Medical building, Rosie said to me, \I hope you\ e suitably impressed.\ We arrived at the Dean\s office and he stepped out to meet us.

\Don,\ he said. \I just got your email. I haven\ had a chance to reply.\ He turned to Rosie. \I\m David Borenstein. And you\ e with Don?\

We all had lunch at the faculty club. David told Rosie that he had supported my O-1 visa application. \I didn\ lie,\ he said. \Any time Don feels like joining the main game, there\s a job for him here.\

Coal-oven pizza is supposedly environmentally unsound, but I treat statements of this kind with great suspicion. They are frequently emotionally based rather than scientific and ignore full life-cycle costs. Electricity good, coal bad. But where does the electricity come from? Our pizza at Arturo\s was excellent. World\s Best Pizza.

I was interested in one of the statements Rosie had made at Columbia.

\I thought you admired your mother. Why wouldn\ you want to be a doctor?\

\It wasn\ my mother. My father\s a doctor too. Remember? That\s what we\ e here for.\ She poured the rest of the red wine into her glass. \I thought about it. I did the GAMSAT, like I told Peter Enticott. And I did get seventy-four. Suck on that.\ Despite the aggressive words, her expression remained friendly. \I thought that doing Medicine would be a sign of some sort of obsession with my real father. Like I was following him rather than Phil. Even I could see that was a bit f*ked-up.\

Gene frequently states that psychologists are incompetent at understanding themselves. Rosie seemed to have provided good evidence for that proposition. Why avoid something that she would enjoy and be good at? And surely three years of undergraduate education in psychology plus several years of postgraduate research should have provided a more precise classification of her behavioural, personality and emotional problems than \f*ked-up\. Naturally I did not share these thoughts.

We were first in line when the museum opened at 10.30 a.m. I had planned the visit according to the history of the universe, the planet and life. Thirteen billion years of history in six hours. At noon, Rosie suggested we delete lunch from the schedule to allow more time with the exhibits. Later, she stopped at the reconstruction of the famous Laetoli footprints made by hominids approximately 3.6 million years ago.

\I read an article about this. It was a mother and child, holding hands, right?\

It was a romantic interpretation, but not impossible.

\Have you ever thought of having children, Don?\

\Yes,\ I said, forgetting to deflect this personal question. \But it seems both unlikely and inadvisable.\


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