It’s Catching

How au fait!

We live, of course, in an age of viral cat videos.  Even the most clueless of us will at some point come across the latest meme, a contagion that spreads to even the most limited of internet users.  The means are apparent – the Facebook posts that automatically stream video, the Yahoo home page banner, occasionally still, emails (although, one indisputable benefit of Facebook is the near fatal blow to chain emails promising evil to those who don’t pass them on).  And so, not so slowly, knowledge – such as it is – reaches the echelon of “common”.  At work, it happens through meetings.  Here I am not just talking about the latest tidbit of gossip (which regularly fails to reach certain ears especially if it’s whispered), or information pertinent to the functioning of the organization (which seems to take longer to take hold) but rather, words.  The kind you use in conversation.  I recently experienced the contagion with “au fait”.  I heard it in a five person meeting at about 9 am, and naively thought, “now there’s an expression you don’t hear too often (at least in this part of the world).”  By the end of the next day, spread from meeting to meeting to water cooler to cafeteria and back again, everyone was saying it.  At least in the office.  I wasn’t privy how it may have infected my fellow workers’ homes.  A few though, I am sure, weren’t immune.  And, New Zealand, being a small, I wouldn’t be surprised if it spreads to the far reaches of the country.  So if you hear it anytime soon, let me tell you, I was there, ground zero.  Although, perhaps that was only the latest of a series of local outbreaks.

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