I sometimes wonder whether my co-workers think I’m completely batty, and are just too kind to let me know.
Take yesterday, for instance. I was on a group call with half a dozen of them, and we were discussing Zoom videos, camera angles, background environments… all the normal casual chit-chat of today’s conversations.
“But Quentin”, said one of my colleagues, “what’s your profile image like?” She was asking about the new prototype staff pages on the department’s web site; a key topic of discussion at the moment.
I, however, was still in my own little world, thinking about camera angles, so I thought she was asking what I looked like from side-on! (Answer: no better than from the front, and probably even worse.) ‘Profile’, you see, has more than one meaning. So my response to her question about my account on the website was to turn sideways and talk about how sparsely my hair was distributed from any angle. It was only about 24 hours later that I realised what she must have meant, and collapsed in giggles. Everybody on the call was so nice that nobody said, “Eh? Have you completely lost your marbles?” The worrying question, though, is how often I’ve done this without realising my mistake afterwards…
Talking of ambiguity, there was a scene I always liked, which I think was from one of Steve Coogan’s films, though I can’t now find the source. Anyway, he was having a medical check-up, and it went something like this:
Medic: Blood pressure: fine.
M: Heart rate: fine.
M: Cholesterol: fine.
M: Urine sample: outstanding.
C: Oh, thank you very much!
M: No – that means we haven’t had it yet.