I was at work, and trying to track down a user, Diana, who had reported a problem a couple of days ago. Another tech had been working on the user’s computer problem and had tried to call and email the user (no, the problem wasn’t related to email) and Diana had not called back. So the other tech had asked me to check on Diana, since I was in the building anyway.

A walk around the office on the floor where Diana worked showed that all the cubicles were empty. Everyone was gone. Which would normally only happen if they were in a meeting.

I walked back to their meeting area just to check, and sure enough, walked right into the middle of their meeting. All eyes, including their supervisors, turned to me. I hadn’t ever met their supervisor, Lori, before, but everyone else recognized me for fixing their computers and seeing me around the building.

“Hi, I’m Brian, from Computer Support?” I offered, in my normal-but-quiet voice. “I’m here to talk to Diana?” I felt a bit embarrassed for interrupting. Diana stood up and separated herself from the group, walked over to me.

“Are you still having a problem?” I asked, quietly but still loud enough for the everyone else to hear, unfortunately. I briefly wondered if I should step outside the room, but a computer problem didn’t seem like a big deal.

They had stayed quiet after I came in. As I spoke, Lori’s face registered extreme shock; she acted like she hadn’t believed what she had just heard. I was surprised enough that I barely caught Diana’s response, that the problem had resolved itself.

I looked back at Lori, who now looked embarrassed herself. The rest of the group was laughing, that uncomfortable laugh of not-quite-getting-the-joke.

Everyone was waiting for me to say something, again. Diana looked confused. I started out, again, “I’m with Computer Support. Diana had called in a problem…”

“Oh!” Lori showed relief. “Do you know, I thought I’d heard you say,

I’m from Peer Support, do you have a problem?”

The room erupted in laughter. I blushed, realizing that the uncomfortable laughter had been at me. I mumbled something about how I tend to mumble, and hurriedly left the room.

Once outside, I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe.