Sunday, February 20, 2005

What is a stock, anyway?

Today I printed out the paper I'm proofreading, with all the changes so far, and took it to Denny's to read it over and also to rewrite some parts. Denny's is my favourite place for this sort of thing. I used to study there all the time. It's the only place I know of (including my home) where I can get a whole large table to myself and spread out my papers and really concentrate on what I'm doing. The refillable coffee is helpful, too.

When I'm reading over something I've proofread I tend to mumble as I read. It slows me down. This means I don't skip bits by reading too quickly and can catch more mistakes. At Dennys they're used to me sitting in there mumbling to myself, though, so I didn't worry about my reputation. They already know I'm not a normal customer. And anyway, they probably consider it a major improvement over my behaviour when I was studying phonetics and phonology. I remember giving a waiter a horrible fright one day when I was trying to find out what an ejective sounded like by following the instructions in my textbook. He appeared rather unexpectedly beside me to offer me more coffee just as I got it right, and from the look on his face I suspect he thought I was about to throw up all over him.

I've got to the fun part of the proofreading job now, though, because when I met my client on Thursday he explained some of the concepts in his paper to me. Now I've finished with the nitpicky grammar and vocabulary I can work on the text itself, making sure it hangs together logically and that it's presented in the best way for his particular argument. His ideas have apparently been floating around in my head when I think I'm not thinking about them, because last night while I was in the bath an idea suddenly bubbled to the top of my brain, and as soon as I was dry I emailed him. "I don't really know what I'm talking about, and feel free to laugh your head off, but what if...? (blah blah blah)," I wrote. "I think you might need to change your argument a little if I haven't misunderstood completely."

Then I went to bed, and woke up this morning thinking, Nah, it was the glass of wine I had with dinner, what was I THINKING, I don't know this field at all, he'll be laughing at me ...

But this afternoon he wrote back to say that he'd been thinking about it too, and he thought I was right, and perhaps he needed to change this and this and that and adjust the introduction and the conclusion accordingly, and what did I think? So now I'm feeling exceptionally clever and smug because this man who is an expert on economics and financial matters is asking me for MY opinion. I think I've made up for the footnote fiasco.

Do you think I should break it to him that actually I'm not entirely sure what a stock is?


Anonymous said...

If your dictionary fails you, then by all means ask him! ;^)

Cheryl said...

Difficult question!
Would it deflate his ego and flame his life purpose to consider that you can sort his arguments out in your sleep without ever having studied the subject? Or would he be cheered that his 'excellent teaching style' allowed you to grasp the concepts and question them?
Probably something in between....