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Spaced Out On Spatial Reasoning

, , , | Working | May 26, 2021

I work in a lab, and part of my job is to process biohazard residue to be safely discarded. I am at my workstation when a coworker comes by.

Coworker: “Could you please come and take one of the residue bins? It does not have a lid, so I cannot close it.”

We tell the cleaning staff not to touch those bins unless they are absolutely clean and with the lid properly snapped shut, so I follow my coworker.

Me: “How come you do not have lids to close the bin? Are there none left?”

Coworker: “Yes, there are some, but the bin I am talking about is square-shaped.”

That is odd, because the room that is assigned the square bins is one floor above us. Thinking that maybe the cleaning staff made a mistake, I say nothing else. When we arrive at the lab, my coworker points to a lidless bin… that is round-shaped.

Me: “Uh… That is not a square bin.”

Coworker: “No, but none of the round lids fit it.”

I take a random round lid, put it on the bin, and press down. It snaps shut immediately. I look at my coworker.

Me: “You do see that I just closed it, right?”

She stares at me with a blank look.

Coworker: “Yeah… but that is not its lid.”

Me: “Lids are interchangeable. All the round lids fit all the round bins.”

Coworker: “Yeah, I know. But that is not its lid.”

She keeps staring at me as if that is the most logical explanation possible. I simply take the bin and go for the door.

Coworker: “But that is not its lid! Thank you!”

Hey, at least she said, “Thank you!”