Today, I felt like the loneliest person in the world for about half a minute.

My company sent me to attend a training for data security officers. For lunch, we went to the canteen of the Association of SHI Physicians which is just down the road. The lady at the reception desk gave us the directions: “Through this door, down the stairs and then just follow the yellow wall.” And, indeed, there was a long narrow corridor (with a little bit of imagination you could even call it ‘winding’) and one of its walls was painted a rich sunflower yellow. I immediately felt moved to remark: “Oh, so it’s not a yellow brick road”, and – realising my company consisted of IT administrators, company lawyers and similar – after an almost imperceptible pause added: “like in the Wizard of Oz.”

Were there any chuckles? Did anyone laugh out loud? Did one of the administrators answer on the lines of “oh, yeah, follow the yellow brick road…”? Was there even a condescending *old-chestnut-alarm* smile by one of the lawyers?

No. In fact, they didn’t even grant me a puzzled look.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t blame them or want to ridicule them. Probably the proportion of aspiring data security officers with special interest and knowledge in the field of literature (or even movies of the 1930ies, for that matter) is rather small – and not surprisingly so. In fact, I am the odd one out in this whole business – the “freak” as one of my best friends recently remarked.

She meant it in a nice way.

But I still feel lonely sometimes.

(Other literary scholars (be they IT administrators, lawyers, bakers, sweepers, freaks…) stay tuned for my Oxford Diary starting next Sunday.)