Universal Knowledge Is Not Found In University

, , , , , | Friendly | October 27, 2017

(I’m walking around uni with a friend of mine. We’re walking towards the library and we pass by the boardroom next door. A meeting looks to have just finished inside and the people start coming out. One of them, a large man who looks to be in his 50s or 60s, suddenly approaches my friend with a big smile.)

Man: “[Friend], how are you?! It’s good to see you.”

Friend: “I’m well, thanks. How are you?”

Man: “I’m great. Wow, it’s been ages. I didn’t realise you attended uni here.”

Friend: “Yeah, for two years now. What brings you here?”

Man: “I’m on the university board. We were just having a meeting. What are you studying?”

Friend: “I.T.”

Man: “Oh, yeah, you were always good with computers. Say, how’s your mum?”

Friend: “She’s doing well. She’s started teaching again.”

Man: “Great. And how are [Friend’s Little Brother] and [Friend’s Little Sister]? They must be getting pretty old now.”

Friend: “Yeah, [Brother] is six and [Sister] is four.”

Man: “Wow, how time flies. Anyway, I’ve got to go. It was great seeing you again. Tell your mum I said hi, won’t you?”

Friend: “Sure thing. See you around.”

(The man turns and walks away as my friend and I begin walking up the library steps. As soon as we’re out of earshot of the man…)

Friend: “I have absolutely no idea who that was.”

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Sharing Is Consciously Caring

, , , , , | Working | October 6, 2017

(It’s early morning, and we are making ourselves some breakfast before we start working. One of my coworkers is of an ethnicity where the sharing of food is of utmost importance. She will not eat her food without offering it to others, even if she only just has enough for herself. She has just made herself some toast.)

Coworker #1: “[My Name], would you like some?” *holds out her plate*

Me: “No, thanks. You eat it.”

Coworker #1: *pushing plate towards me* “Are you sure you don’t want some?”

Me: “Yes, I am; I have my own food on the table.”

(Another coworker comes into the room.)

Coworker #1: “[Coworker #2], would you like some toast?” *holds out plate*

Coworker #2: “Yes, please. I didn’t get anything for breakfast today because I thought I was going to be late.” *reaches out for a piece*

(I watch in amusement as [Coworker #1]’s hand moves the plate away as it is reached for. [Coworker #2] puts down her hand.)

Coworker #1: “Aren’t you going to take it?”

(Again, [Coworker #1] pushes the plate towards [Coworker #2], and again the plate is withdrawn as [Coworker #2]’s hand moves towards it. [Coworker #2] has a confused look on her face as she puts her hand down.)

Me: “You can have some of mine; I still have more in the packet on the table.”

Coworker #2: “Thanks.” *starts moving towards the table*

Coworker #1: *starting to get agitated* “Why won’t you take some?”

Coworker #2: “I didn’t think you wanted me to have a piece.”

Coworker #1: “I’ve been trying to give you the whole plate and you won’t take it.”

Coworker #2: “I only wanted a piece.” *she is finally able to take a piece of toast*

(I could see that [Coworker #1] had no idea that she was doing what she had been doing; it was obvious that subconsciously she did not want to share!)

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The Grass Might Be Greener If They Had Smarter Friends

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 21, 2017

(A friend has been telling us about his trip back to where he was born.)

Friend: “That sounds so sweet. It makes me think of that song, Green, Green Grass of Home.” *starts singing the first verse* “It’s such a lovely song.”

Me: “But that song is about an execution.”

Friend: “Where did you hear that from? No, it’s not; it’s a lovely song. I’ve been singing it for years.”

Me: “Try singing the last verse.”

Friend: *singing* “Then I awake and look around me,

At four grey walls that surround me,

And I realize, yes, I was only dreaming,

For there’s a guard and there’s a sad old padre,

Arm in arm, we’ll walk at daybreak,

Again I touch the green, green grass of home.”

*stops singing*  “What’s wrong with that?”

Me: *internally face-palming* “Four grey walls are a prison cell. A guard and a padre?”

Friend: “That could be anything.”

Me: “Okay, what about the last line?”

Friend: “He’s lying under the old oak tree.”

Me: “They lay him under the grass by the old oak tree.”

Friend: “Holy s***; why didn’t I notice that? I was going to sing this song at the old folks home next week.”

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Cannot Accommodate Your Personality

, , , , , | Friendly | September 14, 2017

(A friend posts on social media about needing accommodation while she attends a seminar. I know the post is aimed at me, as I am the only person she knows that lives in the area, five hours from her home. I feel obligated to “invite” her, but also hopeful that we can rekindle our friendship that has started to drift apart. I soon notice small things that make it obvious that it’s not the case for her. She expects me to pay for her meals, when usually we go dutch, or the person visiting pays for the other’s meal. Conversations are short and curt. She demands that the television be turned off when she goes to bed at 8:30, because any sound disturbs her. My husband decides to try starting a conversation with her.)

Husband: “It’s nice to see you. I know [My Name] is happy to spend time with you after so long. It’s good that you are able to stay here”.

Friend: “Well, where else was I going to get free accommodation?”

(My husband just did a double-take, wondering if she was joking. He then gave me a look before leaving the room, when he realised she wasn’t. When she was leaving, she informed me that, seeing as I had invited her this time, it meant that it was an open invitation to come whenever she had another seminar in our area. Thankfully, she soon gave up on the course she had spent thousands of dollars on, so I no longer had to worry. I also cut down our communications on social media.)

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Pray They’re Not Taking IT

, , , | Learning | August 7, 2017

(I work in student services at a university. The following phone call takes place a few weeks before semester starts, when new students need to accept the offer of a position in a course in order to enroll in subjects.)

Me: “Welcome to Enrollment Help. [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Hi, I need help accepting my offer.”

Me: “Okay, not a problem. Do you have our website open?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Me: “Okay, I need you to click on the ‘New Students’ button.”

Caller: “I can’t see that.”

Me: “If you just try scrolling down a bit, there should be four big buttons across the page, and one of them should say ‘New Students’.”

Caller: “I don’t see any big buttons at all.”

(At this point I assume the caller has, prior to calling me, accidentally navigated to a different page on our website and is not on the home page.)

Me: “Okay, you might be on a different page. Can I get you to just click on the [University] logo in the top left corner to go back to our home page?”

Caller: “I can’t see the logo anywhere.”

Me: “Hmm. Okay, I’ll just get you to enter our web address into the URL bar and we’ll get back to the home page that way.”

Caller: “What’s the URL bar?”

Me: “It’s the white box at the top of your screen where you type in a website’s address.”

Caller: “Okay. But there’s already writing in it.”

Me: “That’s okay, just delete that and we’ll put in the web address.”

Caller: “How do I do that?”

Me: “Just click in the box and hit the ‘backspace’ button on your keyboard until all the writing has gone.”

Caller: “Okay, done that.”

Me: “Great, so now you have to type in www-dot [Univeristy initials]-dot-edu-dot-au. Then hit enter.”

Caller: “Okay, got it.”

Me: “Great. Can you see the ‘New students’ button now?”

Caller: “No.”

(I pause for a moment, wondering how we’ve gone wrong this time. Just to clarify, I ask:)

Me: “And are you on our website? Can you see the [University] logo in the top left corner?”

Caller: “No, but it says [University Name] on the page.”

(This has me stumped.)

Me: “Can you describe the web page you’ve got in front of you?”

Caller: “Well, it’s mostly white with a lot of words on it, and it says ‘Google’, and—”

(Suddenly everything falls into place.)

Me: “Oh, you’ve done a Google search! Tell me, do you have two white bars at the top of your browser?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Me: “And were you typing the address into the one on the far right?”

Caller: “Yes!”

Me: “Right. That’s not the URL bar. That’s a google search bar, so what’s happened is when you’ve put the address in, it’s done a google search for that term instead of just going straight to the website. The page you’re looking at is listing all of Google’s search results. Now, where it says [University Name] in the first search result, is it in blue and can you click on it?”

Caller: *pause* “Yes! I can see the logo in the top corner! Oh and there’s the New Students button!”

(And then I had to spend the next fifteen minutes stepping her through the process to accept the offer!)

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