It was two thousand and six or seven in the home of a friend who was greatly relieved to have his PhD and a sane life working at a technology development company.
He marveled that whereas at his new work the tiniest theoretical fact accomplished big solutions, in the grad school days Professor X would build up this fantastic solution - you know cute definitions, brilliant lemmas, leading to the eventual short proof (QED, Al-hamdulillah) - leading the student to ask Bill (Professor X) for an example, any topology, in which you can apply this theorem.
My friend's punchline? Professor X answers earnestly after a second's thought "Consider a square (of dimension) 1 by 1."
It was autumn of two thousand in the year before graduate school when My Good-Looking Prof. reported this from his own grad school days:
Professor X walks into class and starts to write all available chalkboard sections full of math, while MGLP is stomped, simply not getting it.
Of course the other students are nodding as if to say "well, obviously, we understand."
MGLP decides he really doesn't understand and raises his hand. "Professor" - now Professor X stops and turns around - "I really wonder what this thing means..."
X looks back at the board and quickly apologizes, "Oh Shit, I write it in German!"
Coming soon: I'll scan a picture from the summer of 2001 of my first impressions/expectations of grad school. I had visited Pasadena, and the Western US, for the first time in March of the same year and was to return in September. It was an encounter with a whole new world and as usual I was seriously excited.