Expectations, or when drunken girls turn nerds into heroes….
I was reading a post by Lisa on “Zen and Pi” when an ancient memory came back, one I haven’t thought of, mostly likely since it happened all of those years ago. First, I want to say that I don’t want to downplay her (Lisa’s) serious post with this bit of silliness, but there was something in there that brought this up.
One weekend night during my Senior year of college, one of my roommates and I went out drinking. This was Ohio State, so this was a very big past-time 😉 All of the nightclubs were off of the southeast corner, while we lived off of the northeast corner of campus. This is a huge campus…
We were both Introverts. I don’t know about other college age Introverts, but back then I often had trouble going to clubs, though I did it all of the time. The sensory overload makes my brain turn off. I see all of the excitement around me and want to join, but don’t know where to start. Back then it too often ended up with one or two too many beers. No, I wouldn’t get sick or falling down drunk or anything like that (not often), but I might be a little more than just slightly tipsy.
It was very late on a very dark night as the two of us made our way back through campus. Despite being Introverts, we were being pretty silly. Nobody was around, so why not? Actually, after a while I discovered that someone was around. We were being followed…
Two young ladies, also a bit more tipsy than they should have been (perhaps a lot more tipsy than they should have been), were right behind us. I think I became aware that they were purposefully following us when one made a Cagney and Lacey joke (for you young folk out there, that was a popular TV show about two female detectives. Look it up.). I tried to pretend I didn’t notice them, but I also listened into their conversation.
They were following us for their protection.
I’m not stupid and realized that it wasn’t that we were big, hulking hero types, believe me, we weren’t!, it was because they knew we were safe. We pretty much had the word “nerd” written across our foreheads. They didn’t tell us, but from their conversation I knew that their plan was that if anyone bothered them, they were with us. And that was cool. My roommate and I had a very short conversation and agreed that we’d keep more than half an eye on them and make sure they made it home safe and sound. We might not have been hulking, but we were willing to play hero types for these ladies who placed their trust in us.
Just as we were about to pass out of campus, we realized that they were going to the last dorm that was coming up. We turned and wished them goodnight. They were obviously embarrassed to discover that we knew that they were there, or, more likely, that we acknowledge that we knew that they were there, but they thanked us for (sort of) walking them home. We watched them until they reached the door. They turned, waved and said “Thanks! Goodnight!” and went in. We turned and walked home.
I didn’t really think of campus as being a dangerous place, and there weren’t many reports of attacks, sexual or otherwise, on campus, but the women I knew back then wouldn’t walk across campus alone at night under the best of circumstances, and these two were pretty drunk. Even though it was two of them, they didn’t feel safe until they tagged along with us.
Obviously my roommate and I didn’t do one thing different from normal. If we did anything good or special, it wasn’t because we chose to do it but because we were chosen. And I’m sure we were chosen for two reasons. First, and most important, we were there. Second, was that we were total nerds and so we were safe. But the interesting thing is, since we were chosen, we would have lived up to any challenge that could have been thrown at us. We would have fought to the death to protect our charges. Thank goodness nothing happened 😉
So the next time you look at those that are there and initially think that they won’t do at all, raise your expectations and trust them. You may be surprised that they will live up to those higher expectations.
(See the photo at the top of the post? The guy who is sitting with the keyboard in his lap was me within a year of the events of the story. Not too intimidating, was I? ;) )