It is a cloudy morning. The postdoc has just been sitting on the beach, drinking her coffee and musing about the boundary between concepts and lexicon. When she eventually gets up to go to the office, she gets called out by a guy wearing a black shirt with a regular white skull motif. He’s speaking Italian and inviting her to have a drink. She refuses politely but Skull Man insists, telling her she’s beautiful and following her all the way to the bike stand.
Now, don’t get her wrong, she has nothing against skulls. Her last laptop was adorned with a glow-in-the-dark skull sticker and when it finally stopped glowing, she changed the computer. So let it be clear, she’s positively biased towards skulls. It’s the ‘beautiful’, that rubbed her the wrong way. It seems misplaced right now, because according to her current trail of thoughts, the beauty is out there, on the ripples of the sea, the systematic patterns of the birds and of course, the careful balance of word meaning. She wishes he could see that. Then, they could have a chat about collocations and magnitude adjectives.
He’s still standing next to her, telling her he’s sorry for the intrusion, but how about a drink tonight? She tells him that no means no and he says why not?
She eventually cycles away, hearing him shout ‘Have a good day!’ She’s not sure it is a good day – she’s by now lost track of her previous thoughts.
And it’s a further shame because in another place, another time, another world, she could have told him how so very fond she is of skulls.