Acts of Asininity

I walked into our shared workspace yesterday and proudly informed Senior Management that I had completed some task or other – and that I had sent her an email about it. Instead of even a cursory acknowledgement, I was somewhat taken aback to be told that I was just like so-and-so who “sends send me an email, and then phones or texts me to say they’d sent me the email….”

My protestation that Senior Management frequently ignores my emails cut no ice. “It’s SO irritating…”. 

So, I was amused to see that the Washington Post’s   recent guide to good phone etiquette demands that you should always text someone to tell them that you’re going to phone them. Which is very good news for mobile phone networks who are able to charge double bubble for a ping-before-you-ring.

Also, don’t leave voice messages and you don’t even have to answer the phone: Apparently, “emotions are for voice, facts are for text” and, my all time favorite, “Don’t use the speakerphone in public.” 

Oddly there’s nothing about taking a call in the middle of a conversation, phoning while driving or jay walking while absorbed in a convo, oblivious to cars, bikes and fellow pedestrians. 

Further absurdity from the you-mean-someone-actually-paid-for-this-research? bracket: This time from Durham University’s finest who have established that your Zoom background is influential in your chances of landing a job. Yes, really.
167 adults were asked  to view still images that appeared to have been captured during an interview video. The Zoom backgrounds ranged from ones with house plants and bookshelves to bedrooms, blurry nothingness, and novelty images of a walrus on an iceberg. 

Now, which of the prospective job applicants were rated as being trustworthy and competent? Go on. Guess. Spoiler alert – if you haven’t already done so, go buy a bookshelf and a Swiss Cheese plant.

Participants also tended to perceive happy faces as more trustworthy and competent than neutral ones. They scored female faces as more trustworthy and competent overall – which, under current circumstances (GB News’ Laurence Fox and Dan Wootton being the latest to fly the flag for enlightened blokes everywhere) is arguably the least surprising outcome of this research of the bloomin’ obvious.

The final act of asininity this week is perhaps the saddest. The world famous Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian’s Wall has been felled by a chainsaw wielding idiot. The State of Nature Report published this week warns of the catastrophic decline of many species of flora and fauna in the UK. 

The Sycamore’s demise is a very sad thing but, as Robert Macfarlane commented, perhaps the collective weight of shock, anger and sorrow about it will raise our consciousness about the value of preserving the natural world. We’d be asinine to ignore it.

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