My most recent experience with educating the public came the other day NOT while at work, but when I went to the mall to buy shoes. I was looking for a pair of dress sandals, something comfortable, I told the lady, because I'll be doing a lot of walking in grad school.
"Oh, grad school?" she asked. "What subject?" And when she heard bugs, she and the other sales lady launched into a full blown story of their cockroach problem. "We've had people come out and spray... But it didn't do anything!"
And that launched me into a full blown discussion on integrated pest management (IPM). They...were...fascinated. They'd never heard of IPM. They asked a ton of questions, repeated the advice and steps I gave for remediation like it was an incantation, and wrote down what they couldn't remember. It was great. Then they began asking questions about using IPM methods on pests in and around their homes. They seemed so relieved to know there were other options, ones that addressed the source of pest problems and nipped 'em where they start. They couldn't wait to go home and try out some new approaches to long-standing frustrations.
I looked down and realized I was still in the shoes I tried on more than 30 minutes prior. So comfy I didn't even realize it. How 'bout that. Given half a chance, they sold themselves... Just like IPM!
I'll miss my job in Arizona. But it's nice to realize I don't have to leave the work behind when I move to Oregon.