I have a friend who suffers terribly from wrong window syndrome. I feel great empathy for her because it is a 21st century cousin of my more old-fashioned foot-in-mouth disease.
Keep in mind that all of the instances I am about to narrate has happened to the same person, and is 100% true.
The first I heard of her affliction was when she IM-ed her immediate boss on Google talk by mistake. She was rounding up all of her office-buddies for the customary coffee break one afternoon with a “Let’s go for coffee!” and accidentally pinged her boss as well. Her poor manager, thinking that his team members finally wanted to bond with him, replied with a cheery “Sure. Where?”
My friend (shall we call her Anamika?) was annoyed by what appeared a really stupid question from one of her regular coffee-buddies and answered with a curt “What do you mean - ‘where’??”. Only to belatedly realise that she had just asked her boss to join them for coffee. (Never a good idea). “Wrong window!” she replied and fled to where her friends were waiting.
A few months later the whole team went out for an official dinner. And our Anamika had to miss it. The next day she gleaned some information about the dinner from her team mate sitting right next to her. Wisely deciding that the more interesting gossip couldn’t be discussed loudly within the office, she turned to her system and proceeded to pump her colleague in earnest about the spicier parts of the evening. “What did Ron (the Vice-President of the company) say about his girlfriend last night?” she briskly typed out and waited -- all agog for the response. The VP of the company replied with a “hehehehe…” that said it all. She still didn’t get it, and turned to her friend to ask what he was playing at when the truth dawned on her. “Sorry…Wrong window!” she replied and nearly wept from embarrassment.
This story has passed into the lore of the company, and is still discussed over lunch by many.
One would think that Anamika would’ve learnt her lesson, but of course she hadn’t. Just for variation’s sake this time, she SMS-ed her husband one night with a “Sweetums, where are you? I’m hungry and I need to have dinner. Come home fast!”
Of course, you all know she didn’t actually send it to her husband. That would be too simple. She sent it the MD of her company, no less. He sent a message back (you have to give it to these guys for being great sports) saying “I am not Sweetums. And if you’re so hungry fix yourself some dinner.”
One last example and you’ll be as convinced as I am that she suffers from A-grade ‘Wrong Window Syndrome’. Her gang has a tradition of getting a surprise cake for each member’s birthday. (Of course the whole question of how much of a surprise it is when it’s a tradition has been discussed but never seriously considered.) On one such occasion, she and a friend went to pick up a cake from the customary place but found it locked up tight. So they had to make do with an unsatisfactory cake from a rather downmarket bakery nearby.
Anamika came back and pinged another friend of hers about the cake: “Yes, the birthday boy WILL be surprised…by how godawful the cake is!”
Yep, you guessed it. She sent it straight to the birthday boy…