We have a certain long-winded SVP in my office who I like to call the “absent minded executive.” He’s nice enough – harmless most of the time. He’s also intelligent, well read, and has a special fondness for vocabulary and grammar. The more syllables and the more obscure the word, the better, says he. His love for words is evident in his over pronunciation and articulation of each letter in a given word. The guy could lead a rally against the use of a Silent H and lobby to get every last soul a pocket dictionary. Anyway. This guy also happens to be incredibly disorganized, forgetful, inefficient, and an all-around bore. The social awkwardness oozing from his every pore well surpasses Amusing/Entertaining and dominates Discomfort/Annoying.
Today, some poor soul made the mistake of suggesting she didn’t really understand derivative instruments. (Really though, who does?) The Absent Minded Professor jumped right in to deliver a sermon on the subject to the poor woman who has absolutely NO NEED or ANY REAL DESIRE to know anything about derivatives. She’s in operations/customer service.
Unfortunately this exchange happened mere feet from my desk. And the two participants are really loud. Seriously. L-O-U-D.
It was in eavesdropping on this exchange that I learned the true definition of the phrase “Hmm. That’s interesting.” We’re taught to nod our head and make eye contact when using this phrase to communicate interest and to demonstrate our excellent listening skills. Really though, each time she used the phrase, all I heard was “Hmm. Don’t care” and “Wow, I can’t think of anything else to say” and “GET THE HELL OUT OF MY OFFICE ALREADY.” Maybe it’s because I couldn’t see the head nod or receive the eye-contact.
If you’ve made it this far, I’m guessing you’re now nodding your head and thinking “Hmm. That’s interesting.”
And I get it.
I’ll come back when I have something to say. I’ll try to make it interesting, but don’t hold me to it.