Challenge of the Week (CHOW #191) – Jest Kidding!

Refer to the blog WFH – Child’s Play for the context of this CHOW.

The Child has been overhearing her WFH Dad’s calls for quite a while now. Since Dad always had his ear phones on, the Child could hear only one side of the conversations. Despite that, the Child has figured that there were two kinds of calls, “office” calls and “not office”. Over time, she seems to have developed her own set of cues as to which calls were which. So, at the end of a call, when Dad hung up, she would promptly declare whether it was “office” or not. And she could call it out with a good deal of accuracy. This “game” caused much amusement for the Child as well as others in the house suffering in silence from Dad’s WFH! Even when Dad introduced some “false cues”, the Child was not easily fooled and her detection accuracy was still pretty good.

The Child herself is not able to articulate how she is doing it (she claims “she just knows”!). She is probably using several cues. Can you guess a few – in other words, what characterizes a call (official or not) in the mind of a child almost 5 years old? Won’t it be fascinating to figure out a way of finding her entire reasoning?!

Suggested Solution

I have put down a few cues which are best guesses at reading the Child’s mind and how she senses things. Here is the list:

  • Dad’s posture (stiff or relaxed)
  • Facial expression
  • Tone (serious or jovial)
  • No loud laughter in office calls; even smiling is rare
  • In office calls, Dad’s accent changes a bit; the calls are relatively long  with lots of pauses, interspersed with terse responses
  • Certain office calls happen at a fixed time every day (one call is always when the Child is having her breakfast)
  • Everyone scurries out of Dad’s WFH area for office calls; for other calls, Dad does not mind people hanging around in the WFH area and even talking among themselves
  • Official calls almost always involve Dad looking at the PC; therefore, he is sitting down in the sofa for them; if Dad is walking around, it is unlikely to be an office call
  • Extent of use of Tamil words, use of “dai” (like “yar” in Hindi), use of “saar” (“sir”) etc indicate unofficial calls

In summary, I think the Child uses a combination of hard and soft information to figure out. Any comments?

Hope you had fun with this Challenge!

What do you think?

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