Monday, April 25, 2011

The Cairo University Professor

She walked in and we exchanged names, positions and selection of coffee or tea. Then we sat down, and she lost little time in expressing her frustration with the meeting which had just barely begun. She complained that she wanted to hear from us, but we seemed determined to ask questions of her. Which, to be fair, we did - there was a lot that we wanted to understand.

But then she wouldn't stop talking! Finally she did ask a question and my colleague started to answer. My poor mate never got a full 10 words out of her mouth before the good doctor would either express her agreement by explaining, in depth, her point of view, or she would interrupt saying that my colleague had just reminded her of something else that she and her think-tank were good at. This was a fundraising visit for her so I guess she wanted to impress us. She does so much, she commented mid-sentence, that it is hard to remember it all, and as we talked, she remembered more and more!

She also told us that she knows about 75% of the old-school intellectuals in this fine country - an ironic claim considering that we were talking about youth-centred work. She also mentioned that she's up for promotion: an academic promotion that would pull her away from the project we were discussing. Good to know.

One highlight of the visit was when our boss walked by so we introduced him to her. She said, "You may remember me if you read my articles in the paper. My photos are there, I'm a well-known face!" She said this as she framed her face with her hands. "Keep reading, anyway," she continued as our boss just nodded vaguely. "I have an article next week that you'll enjoy!" How did she know his taste in journalism, I wonder? He smiled and nodded and stifled a snicker. But those of us who know the office, we saw it.

Another moment in the conversation was when she wanted to refer to a small group of people but instead said that there were 'a little bitch' in the group.

And she was sure to leave us with a fine farewell. As we said our goodbyes, she apologised that she has a slight cold so we didn't have the opportunity to enjoy her usually lovely voice during this meeting.


happygirl said...

Welcome back to Egypt. Politics NEVER end. Stay safe and serene.

LauraX said...

oh my!

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