An e-mail from the assistant to an incredibly distinguished Harvard colleague (names deleted to protect the innocent):
X [very distinguished Harvard professor] asked me to see if he can get on your calendar to have a lunch with him and Y [another distinguished professor] in the near future. I say that of course, knowing that X's calendar is incredibly complicated, but I am happy to try to offer times if you give me some of your calendar constraints.
Now wait a minute. Let me see if I get this straight. X would like to have lunch with me, but X, you see, is so-oo busy that it will be really tough to find room in his calendar for me, and even though maybe, just maybe, something will be possible, I shouldn't get my hopes too high...?