Me, thinking ze is asking where I work: "Organization X."
Other Person: "No, I mean, I work with diplomats, and I'm good at picking up accents. I thought when you spoke I detected a bit of an accent. You're from here then?"
Me: "Huh???? Yeah. I am from here. Born and raised."
Other Person: "Oh, must be an academic accent then. I used to have one myself, but I lost it over the years. Haha!"
Me: "Yeah, I'm gonna go sit down now ... away from you. I think the presentations are about to start."
I walk away and sit down safely -- so I thought -- between two already occupied seats, but Other Person follows like a puppydog and sits right down in the row in front of me. Apparently ze wants to continue the conversation. The presentations have not started yet.
Other Person: "So, where was it you said you worked?"
Me: "Organization X, but I just started there a few weeks ago."
Other Person: "And where were you before that?"
Me, thinking Think Tank and New Think Tank might be liabilities too complicated to explain in this environment: "I was at Grad U, stupidly teaching my way through a PhD in English."
Other Person, overcome with delight at hir clever detective work: "I knew it! You really do have an academic accent!!"
I stared momentarily at Other Person in disbelief. Thankfully, finally, the event began, as the moderator stepped up to the podium and told everyone to shut up.
* * * * *
An academic accent?????!?! WTF is an academic accent!! Have any of you ever heard of such a thing?
Maybe it really is true: You can take the post-ac out of academe, but you can't take academe out of the post-ac.