The visiting professor
The postdoc is well aware that it is a fantastic opportunity to have Professor Thingmebob visiting the lab. He is the authority on POS-tagging for Pashto using Long Short-Term Memory networks (of mild interest to the postdoc). And he knows whether a tenure-track position is going to be available in his department (of extreme interest to the postdoc). So at the dinner after the talk, she makes sure to sit in a strategic place across the eminence.
Unfortunately, as the meal goes on, her mind starts wandering towards her latest (failed) experiment, and asking whether the hypothesis is flawed or whether – the gods be merciful – it’s all just a bug in her code. So when Prof. Thingmebob turns to her and asks what she thinks of some matter, she just smiles and says which matter, sorry, she wasn’t paying attention, she was wondering about mass nouns.