January 28, 2011

To the cloud!

I had one of those mornings when nothing went right. Spilled my coffee and just missed the train kind of morning. Then, while I was stuck behind the grossest PDA ever on the next train, I realized I left the consent form at home. And I was on my way to do a dissertation interview that had taken weeks to schedule.

I had evil thoughts like "Maybe I can just do verbal consent. Who would find out?" And unprofessional thoughts like "Maybe I can beg the guy's secretary to let me use their office printer..."

And then I remembered there is a copy/print/fax shop downtown, located right next to the train station where I had to transfer to another line. I have been doing so much fieldwork downtown that I'm starting to memorize the retail scene. I ran in and said "I forgot a document! Can I print something off my e-mail? In like five minutes?"

Yes! You can! An employee even rushed over to the computer for me, adopting my urgency even though it was not her problem that I needed something at the last minute. I printed the document for about two dollars, ran to the train platform and caught the next westbound train in about five minutes. I arrived at the interview 10 minutes early, which was good because I had time to address the coffee spill in the restroom before I walked in.

I don't know what people did in the past, when you couldn't run into a store, access your document in the cloud, and print it out. If you forgot a document, you just didn't have it. I would not have done well in those times.


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