He took my silence for consent. "Good! Well here it is. Imagine yourself in a room, roghly 4 meters by 4 meters. 3 meter ceiling. There is nothing on the floor or ceiling. All the walls are plain and featureless. However, on the floor is a box. What color is the box?"
"What is this a riddle?"
"No, its a question to test your psychological profile."
"I seem to remember a question about a house with all southern exposure and a bear walks by. What color is the bear? This question seems the same thing."
"This isn't the same thing."
"Carole Burnett couldn't figure it out. Obviously if a house has all southern exposure than its at the North Pole, and then it has to be a polar bear. Of course polar bears probably don't live as far North as the North Pole. Is this something like that?"
"No. There's no right answer, no trick answer."
"If there's no right answer or trick answer why do you ask the question?"
"Because your answer says a lot about you and how you think." He looked like he might want to say more and was restraining himself. I was wondering if this was a joke or if he might be serious. In either case, he seemed rather disarmed.
"I think it's a stupid question. If its a completely empty room, except for me and a box, how am I supposed to see the box to know what color it is? Put a light in the room or something."
My visitor took out a stylus and pressed the blackberry screen. He started to write down some notes. Still looking at the screen he said. "Okay, have a light. Now what color is the box?"
"What color is the light?"
"What color is the light? The color of the box depends on the color of the light. Is it a white light?"
"It's a plain regular white light."
"Incandescent or flourescent?"
He wrote something else down on his screen. "I don't know. Flourscent. It doesn't matter."
"And the walls, the floor, and the ceiling. What color are they?"
"What difference does that make?"
"The box might be reflective."
He was starting to look a little exasperated. "Is the box reflective?"
"How should I know? Its your box."
"I don't care. It doesn't matter. You choose."
"Surely it matters for your psychological test. You need to know whether I am giving you the color of the box or the color of the walls?"
He scratched down something else.
"Moving on to Question 2. This has multiple parts. How do you spell Grey?"
He pressed down with the stylus. "Do you believe in ghosts?"
"If there's a paycheck in it..."
He seemed rather annoyed. "Do you believe in ghosts? Just yes or no."
Another flick of the stylus, "Are you afraid of heights, tight spaces, open spaces, or the dark?"
"Do you take psychoactive drugs?"
"Is caffeine a psychoactive drug?"
"Are you sure? You don't know how much caffeine I take."
The second question with its multiple parts went on. At first I was rather troublesome with my answers. The strange questions were annoying and seemed to require a cynical response. But I began to grow tired and respond simply "yes" or "no" as appropriate. After ten minutes however, I was fed up."
"Have you ever encountered an alien life force?"
"No. How much longer will this go on?"
Abruptly he said. "That's the end of question 2."