“It’s all in the aperture,” he said.
I frowned at him. I didn’t bother trying not to.
“You know, the aperture you view a situation through,” he said. “It may be wide, it may be narrow, but it can only ever point in one direction at once.”
I didn’t bother hiding my sigh. “I do wish you’d speak plain English sometimes. Why is it that whenever we get on to a serious subject, you start talking round in circles?”
His smile transformed patience into serenity. Just in case patience wasn’t infuriating enough.
“Because,” he said, “if I speak plainly, I’ll tell you how things look through my aperture. That won’t help you, and then you’ll stop bringing up serious subjects which would be a great loss for us both.”
“You mean I need to see things through my own aperture?”
“No,” he said.
Sometimes I think he wants me to punch him.
“You’re already seeing the situation through your own aperture. You can’t see a situation through anything else, any more than I can see a situation through any aperture but my own. What you need to see is your aperture itself. How wide is it? What are you pointing it at?”
“I came to you for help, not a riddle in weird words,” I said. “I have a problem. I’m asking you for advice.”
“You don’t need advice. You need-”
I cut him off. “Don’t you dare say I need an aperture. Look, it’s a straightforward issue. My colleague keeps dumping work on me whenever she leaves early, and I’m sick of getting stuck in the office until all hours covering for her. How do I stop her doing it?”
“How does she dump her work on you?”
“She usually calls me. Says she’s got some crisis with her kids or her car or something and could I finish something she’s left.”
“To which you reply how?”
“I say yes.”
“Of course every time. That’s the problem.”
His reply was to blast me with silent serenity.
“Ah,” I said.
Then I said, “hmm.”
He still didn’t say anything. He really is infuriating.