Really, you are! I feel soooo much better about being in lab today. But, I think this sort of situation is exactly why there are few women in the higher levels of academic science. It is not, as the former president of Harvard has suggested, that we are not as intelligent as the men. It's because at a certain point, we start getting sick of dealing with all the bullsh*t served up by the men. The aggression, the competition, the feeling like it's a big boys club. All of it. And then we leave. And, I confess, I am so tired of research and being under constant pressure and stress, that I'm not sure I want to stay in research anyway, though that seems to be fairly normal thinking for a senior grad. student.
So, for now, I'm going to take Kate's advice, "Assert yourself and make statements, not questions. Repeat after me: I will never state a fact as a question." But, I've also come to the realization that there is no reason why I should even try to deal with these problems (ie disappearing glassware). I'm (hopefully) going to graduate in about 9 months, I don't have time to deal with this kind of crap (but, I do have time to write blog entries--but that's therapy and necessary). The younger students can do it. They actually like doing it, in fact (we've got one who is really enthusiastic about making things better and more efficient, which, I admit, sometimes drives me nuts because as an old student I don't like change). If I can't do my experiments because there are no suitable flasks, I will just order some and let the others figure out where our flasks are going.
I knew this day would come. I saw each of our former grad students go through the same thing toward the ends of their studies--they just stopped caring about the lab as a whole and did whatever it was they needed to do to graduate. Woe to the person who got in their way. And they were not pleasant to deal with, because they were sick of this whole place just like I am now. So, as a 3rd and 4th year grad student, I said, one day, when I'm a senior student, I'm going to become a b*tch. Not because I want to, but because it's inevitable. It's like when you start turning into your mother. There's no way to escape it. But it's still a startling realization when it finally starts happening to you.
And, here's the thing. The Boys. No problem today. All smiles and being nice just like nothing happened on Friday. This, I know, is a Male Thing. They have a fight, it's over, they move on. They do not sit around at their computer and think, oh God, I'm sooooo not looking forward to seeing so-and-so today after that fight last Friday, it'll be so awkward and what if he's still pissed off? Nope. It's all done for them. Today is a New Day. "Hi, how are ya'? Liked your email about the lab gift for the post-doc who is leaving--very amusing." All in all, it's not a bad policy, really. Just let it go. That's what I should do--let it go. I'm working on it.