Like Talking to a Dinoflagellate

Submitted by Zachary:

Irene and I met on the Internet and made plans to meet up.  She was a college student who worked in an infectious disease lab.

We sat down at a seafood place, and at once I could tell that she was bothered by something.  I asked, "Is everything okay?"

She said, "I'm just worried about my lab results.  I have to have a final analysis done by Monday, but I'm not getting any results from the bacteria culture."

"Oh.  Is it possible that having no result is sort of a result in and of itself?"

She looked at me as if I was an idiot and said, "Not at all, actually."


She looked away, still obviously upset.  I asked her, "So, do you have a favorite type of seafood?"

She said.  "No."

"Oh.  My favorite is sea bass."

"Oh yeah?"


What a conversational master I had here.  She seemed so much nicer online, over the phone, and before her bacteria ever started to give her problems.  She barely cracked a smile the entire time, but I kept trying.

Me: "What are your plans for the summer?"

Her: "I don't know."

Me: "Did you always want to go into science?"

Her: "I guess."

Me: "Tell me about your family."

Her: "They're normal, I guess."

Normal indeed.  After dinner, I bid her goodnight, and was well on my way to forgetting about her when I received a text.  It was from her, and it said, "I had a great time!  See you soon!"

Not likely.


  1. Did you at all think to ask her a bit more about her project or at all delve into things that mattered to her?

  2. Did it ever occur to you that maybe she was terse in her responses because she really liked you, and was nervous?

  3. Did it ever occur to the previous two commentators to STFU?

    Dude had a date with no chemistry. End of story.


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