When you're not the only old fart in the room
I may be a mature, wise gentleman the majority of the time, but I admit that even I have my moments of childish fun.
Just last week, I met a fund manager in Hong Kong to get a sense of his 2020 outlook and how his portfolio looked this year. His secretary sat alongside him, across the table from me, taking notes
About 15 minutes into the conversation, the fund manager's comments were interrupted by a sound from his secretary. Based on the look on the chap's face, and the pregnant pause in our conversation, I could tell that he, like me, believed that the young lady had just broken wind.
Both of us looked at her for a split second, but she didn't pay us any attention and barely glanced up from her notes.
We went back to our conversation, perplexed, when the same rumbling noise came from the woman some five minutes later.
This time it was unmistakable. The fund manager and I bit our lips, but continued talking. But the noise happened again. And again. And again. By this point, I was having trouble concentrating on the conversation and was more concerned about what this young woman had eaten for lunch.
Fortunately, by the fifth time, I realised that there was not, in fact, a bean-triggered orchestra being played across the table. Instead, the woman had been suppressing her sneezes! Whatever she was doing to hold in the sneezes had somehow transformed her nasal passage into a whoopee cushion.
Realising that she had no idea that her boss and I thought that she was tooting up a storm right next to us only triggered more giggles. It took more self-control than I have ever had, to stifle my laughs.