I was a new graduate student freshly arrived in the US and very poor, and I couldn’t afford a laptop, so the only way I could communicate with my family was to hit up the library and use a public computer to email with them. Eventually my girlfriend back home wanted to skype, and I wanted a little privacy for this if you know what I mean, so I set about finding the most private computer available to me in the library.
On a recon mission the day before the Skype, I located a single computer in a conference room and the next morning got up at 7am to account for the time difference and walked into the conference room with my eyes totally focused on the computer. I’d actually walked most of the way in before I realized there was a group of people around the conference table having a ridiculously early morning meeting. The guy at the head of the table, apparently thinking I’d showed up for the meeting and that I was heading towards him, handed me a paper that said “agenda” and said he was so glad a graduate student had shown up, then launched into the most incomprehensible talk about electrodes and chemistry.
Meanwhile I know my girlfriend is sitting halfway around the world thinking we’re going to have sexy time Skype and I’m blowing her off and I’m feeling desperate. But everything I knew about US culture was only based on movies, so I have no idea if I can just apologize and leave or what. I miserably sat down for the incomprehensible meeting, rehearsing all the excuses I can give my girlfriend when we talk later. I was barely paying attention. Eventually questions were directed at me and I confess that I’m a new grad student and I don’t know much about the equipment they’re talking about. Everyone excitedly tells me all about it and I still don’t totally understand what they mean, except I’m starting to get that they’re going on a research expedition to [an insanely exciting inaccessible dangerous place] and they’re building a piece of equipment to bring with them.
By the end of the meeting I am part of the project. 6 months later I am in [an insanely exciting inaccessible dangerous place] helping to operate this equipment. I appear briefly in the background of a Discovery Channel documentary (only black guy within hundreds of miles so easy to spot). I happily transfer to this other lab and this other field for my fully paid and stipended PhD. I am considered a real go getter, mainly based on my arrival at an early morning meeting no one else wanted to attend. New major, new field, new life because I was too awkward to admit I had just been in the room to sexy skype with my girlfriend.
I didn’t want to go to dinner with the gang from work, including my boss, so I told them I was having dinner with my wife and her parents. I lied.
I get home, wife wants to go out to dinner. So, we head to the restaurant, and just as we’re getting near the door, I see the work gang with my loudmouth boss all piling out of their cars. What are odds of us picking the same restaurant? Shit. Busted.
There was an old couple walking into the restaurant in front of us. I held the door for them, and insisted they join us for dinner. They were quite perplexed, but accepted my offer of a free dinner.
It was the most uncomfortable dinner ever. They had no clue who we were, none of us had any shared interests… they rushed through dinner, thanked us, and got the hell away from what I’m sure they thought were a couple of weirdos.
Told a small lie to a girl I was texting that I love running, dunno how it sold because I was fat. Started running the second after I sent that. 5 years later I went from 298 to 180.