The videoconference

The postdoc says ‘hi’ and waives at her colleague across the screen. They both look a mess and thoroughly unwashed, and know they have to be grateful for the poor quality of the videoconferencing software. There were three paper deadlines this week, plus the usual things. He’s moving house.

The postdoc clears her throat and subreptitiously removes a sock from the back of her chair, which she realises might be visible for her interlocutor. ‘How’s the experiment?’ she asks, knowing perfectly well that neither of them has ticked one single item on their to-do list.

They smile benevolently at each other, glad they made it to the call, punctual as a world meeting planner, confident in their utmost professionalism.