There are a set of standard questions that people ask other people, because they tend to be rather universal. You know the ones. When you first meet someone, it's
"What do you study?"
"Where do you work?"
"How big is your family?"
Then, after the acquaintanceship has been established, the questions upgrade to
"How are you?"
"How was your day?"
Then, once more of the particulars of each other's lives are known to the two people engaged in the acquaintanceship, they become a little more tailored.
"How's your book?"
"How was the date?"
And, the one that I am coming to strongly dislike,
"How's the research?"
This post now takes the form of a request. I greatly appreciate all the support I've gotten from so many of you so often lately. I really don't know how I would have gotten through some tough spots without some of you. Thus, I understand the desire to know how things are going and the desire to offer continued support, and asking how my research is going is a generally acceptable form of expressing that concern or support. However, it generally leads to a conversation like this:
Well-meaning person: How's your research going?
Me: It's not. Nothing has happened since you last asked.
Well-meaning person: Oh . . .
[Awkward silence ensues]
See? The only exceptions in this conversation tend to be when I'm being addressed by someone with a background in molecular biology or genetics, in which case the conversation then takes a turn which would, frankly, put the rest of you to sleep, or convince you that I secretly speak another language loaded with acronyms and strange Latin-sounding words (it's called Genetish, by the way).
In any case, it's getting rather tiresome to repeat this conversation over and over, even with the variety of people I've had it with. So, for the sake of my public personae, which is getting rubbed a little raw, I am requesting that such well-meaning questions not be asked at present. I assure you, when things start going well, I will be so elated that I'll be sure to tell everyone I know. It won't be a problem. For now, let's assume that no news means . . . no news.
I want to emphasize again that I really do appreciate the support and concern. Maybe I'm being petty. But that's the way it is for now. Thank you, and good night.