A very friendly woman asked me to get lunch with her, and I’m hoping (still on the friend hunt) to make a good impression. We set our trays down on a table and she notices there is no salt shaker.
“I’m going to get one from another table,” she says.
I smile, and somehow manage to come up with an impossible tongue twister in response. What I wanted to say was, “There seems to be salt shaker shortage.” What I actually say is more like, “There seems to be a shalt saker sortage–shalt shake–salt sake sort–”
She remains unruffled, smiling through my stumbling, and agrees that there was indeed a shortage. Despite my tongue being in a hopeless twist of sibilance, our lunch goes well after that.
I’m in a study group that meets once a week to discuss the Kitáb-i-Iqán, the Book of Certitude, which is one of the most holy books for Bahá’ís. For whatever reason, the majority of the group is IT guys. It’s a funny group. I have to confess that my stereotype of programmers involves social awkwardness and thick glasses. While there are some thick glasses in our party (mine), these guys are surprisingly chatty and even constantly wisecracking. Like, constantly. And with computer science allusions galore. The facilitator studied computer science so she picks up on their references. Me, on the other hand–I know a few HTML <b>codes</b>, but when it comes to real programming, I haven’t got a clue. I console myself by thinking that if these men were to find themselves seated in a college English seminar, they’d be as lost as I usually am with them.
This particular day, we’re discussing progressive revelation, which Bahá’u’lláh explains with an analogy involving the sun. There’s the concept that all the Manifestations (Abraham, Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, Krishna, etc) are the same, yet distinct. He explains that it’s like the sun–I could say that today’s sun is the same as yesterday’s, or I could say it’s different. Either statement would be true. The sun is fundamentally the same sun, but it’s undergone changes since yesterday, so it’s also new.
“It’s kind of like object oriented programming,” one of the guys says. Everyone laughs and agrees–“That’s a great comparison! Progressive revelation and object oriented programming!”–while I lean back in my chair. Well that clarifies things, I think, letting my mind wander back towards the humanities.
He’s on a ladder in the women’s restroom, and I am peering up at him. I’m the contact person for problems in the building, including this case of the restroom door shutting too loudly. It really is quite thunderous, but that’s mostly due to the acoustics of marble floors and bare walls.
So this young repairman/engineer is here. I let him in and explained the issue to him, and now he’s set up to work on the hinges.
“Is there anything else I can do for you?” I ask.
“I need you to get out,” he says flatly.
I stare for a moment, my friendly admin smile still on my face, wondering why my presence is so obnoxious to this friendly guy. Then I realize: “I need you to get out” means “I need you to help me get out.” My building has limited access and lots of locked doors. I laughed, explained my interpretation, we laughed together, and then there was nothing left to do–I got out.