be at someone's desk?

Please imagine a context like this:
I am online on yahoo and I see my friend online, but when I pm her, she gives no reply. Therefore I guess she must me in the “idle” state so I pm her again and say: “you must be not at your desk so let’s chat later”. In this case I use “not at your desk” because a computer is usually put on a desk :stuck_out_tongue: :roll: and so if my friend is “not at her desk”, she’s sitting in front of the PC screen and she can’t see my pm. Here are 2 things I want to ask:

  1. Is it ok for me to say so?
  2. Is the phrase “at someone’s desk” an idiom, and if yes, does it just refer to that context, or does it also refer to other cases in to mean that somebody is busy,etc…?

Many thanks
Nessie :slight_smile:

  1. Yes, it’s okay to say that.
  2. “At your desk” literally means “at your desk”.

Sometimes when I call someone at their place of business, I’ll get their voicemail message, which will say, “You have reached the desk of Joe Shmoe. I’m not here right now, but if you leave a message, I’ll contact you as soon as I can.” Usually I leave a message like, “Hello, Mr. Desk. When you return, will you please find Joe Shmoe and ask him to call me?”

Thanks a lot, Jamie :slight_smile:
And in you example, is that message formal enough or does it relates to something like a bit of joking? :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s a joke based on the words the person uses in his voicemail. He doesn’t say you’ve reached him, but that you’ve reached his desk. But then he says, “I’m not here right now.” The pronoun “I” could be understood as referring to the desk, and not to the person, so I address my message to the desk and not to the person.

Got it now, thanks a lot, Jamie :wink: