I’ve mentioned a few times my failed attempts at friendship in the recent past. Kite flying in San Francisco, anyone? It was awkward… and kind of pathetic… but I don’t regret it. Because that was not a missed opportunity for friendship. Granted, it didn’t develop into a friendship either. At least I know! Because missed opportunities for friendship? SO MUCH WORSE!
I earned my undergraduate degree from Michigan Tech way up in the UP. I was a chemistry major and really liked my program, except there were very few women (although that applied to most programs up at Tech) and I often often felt like something of an outcast. It’s not that I didn’t like the people I had classes with, I just didn’t really know how to be friends with them and I spent a lot of time nursing hurt feelings over sexist comments and awful nicknames. (Belgian Vixen– really?! what does that even mean?!) But there was one girl I had a lot of classes with named Nicole. She was COOL, you guys. Like real cool. Everyone talked to her, people didn’t make fun of her, she wore cool shoes and her clothes were all “I’m walking around being confident and cute in something you couldn’t even have dreamed of putting together” and she even had super great curly hair (and this was waaaay before I had tamed mine). I wanted to be her friend. Like for real.
At this point you’re probably feeling super bad for me. But don’t! It’s not like I didn’t have any friends. I met some seeeriously awesome people in the dorms my first year and made a lot more friends working in the Writing Center and elsewhere around campus. So it’s not like I had the urge to stalk or kidnap Nicole or anything. Really. I wasn’t that desperate. I just thought she was real cool and would have loved to have been friends with her, especially since we were both in chemistry.
But I never said anything. I never even tried. To this day, I can remember where she sat in Inorganic Chemistry (oy, that class… what kind of chemistry professor covers up the periodic table during exams?!)– a few rows to the left of me. Opportunities day after day after day as we filed in and out of the classroom, as we did dangerous (horrifically dangerous, truly) things in the lab, and as we commiserated over the ridiculousness that was that class in the chem computer lab upstairs. (Seriously, I hated inorganic so much– more than p-chem, analytical, instrumental analysis and FORTRAN (yes, I had to learn FORTRAN90, I know, pointless) combined). Enough about Inorganic Chemistry! Get out of my brain!!
Back to Nicole. This story actually has a super great ending. No. A super great re-beginning! So keep reading!
You see, thanks to the miracle that is the modern internet and to Mark Zuckerberg, inventor (maybe– have you seen The Social Network? It’s good!) of Facebook, Nicole and I have remained in touch. As in, sometimez she posts cool stuff on FB and I’ll “like” it if I’m feeling brave. But then! THEN! I got really brave, and I wrote this blog, and Nicole got really brave (turns out we’re so nervously and cowardly alike that we would have totally hit it off in college had anyone had the courage to actually do something!) and commented on something I posted and we talked… and talked some more… and dang! What a chance to make up for a missed opportunity! And get pumped, because something really, really cool is coming out of it!!
Have you ever heard of the list of 1,001 books you need to read before you die? I hadn’t either… Nicole brought it to my attention. Just like she brought a reading challenge to my attention in the first place. Because we like to read, Nicole of Brash Biochemist, Dawn of Cups Running Over (another missed-opportunity-followed-by-internet-reunion-friend), are linking up to bring you the NEVER ENDING BOOK CHALLENGE– a challenge to read (or at least try to read, it’s ok to not finish a book if you’re really not digging it and if it’s something you’ve given yourself permission to do) all of the 1,001 books on that list!
Want to play?
Great! Here’s the deal:
I used the list available here to generate a list of all 1,001 books in a Google docs spreadsheet. (It’s public– feel free to check it out here.) Every time we’re ready for a new book, the three of us will take turns picking… either randomly or not (picker’s choice) and we’ll all read the book du jour.
I went first. I used a random number generator to choose a number from 1 to 1,001 (because I really don’t trust myself to be unbiased) and got the number 814. Number 814 corresponds to Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Master of Ballantrae (available free on the Kindle!!). So here we go!
As we read, Nicole, Dawn, and I will post about the books and our experiences and we’ll also add our names and the date the book was completed to the spreadsheet. If you’re reading along, please feel free to do the same! We’d love to see lots of names and dates… all of us reading together!
I suppose the moral of the story is this: Learn from me, nerds! It’s so worth speaking up! The response isn’t always ideal (see kite example above), but it’s better than missing an opportunity altogether! Granted, there’s always the internet and over a thousand books to make up for it…