On day one of college, I came prepared. I had expertly packed (well, crammed and stuffed) all of my belongings into the backseat of my parents’ car. While I wasn’t looking forward to tackling three flights of stairs with my hands full, I was determined to get the job done. Two hours and toned thighs later, my entire life was sitting in the center of a tiny dorm room.
Having moved everything in, I began to unpack. As I opened the first box, a million questions came flying out at me. Is the refrigerator close enough to reach the outlet? Do you have your shower shoes in your bathroom caddy? Did you connect to the Wi-Fi so you can email Mom and Dad later? After two hours of running down this seemingly endless mental checklist, I needed a break.
Now, I’m a fairly creative person and having to focus all of my energy on practical move-in-day-decisions had left me starving for some sort of innovation. The only remotely creative decision I’d made so far had been choosing where to stick the Command hook on which I planned to hang my wallet and keys. Exciting stuff, I know, right? It was then that my new roommate said the ten words that just about made my day.
“Hey, we’re going to Michaels, do you want to come?”
Glory hallelujah, I was saved! I agreed to join them and quickly grabbed my wallet from its hook. With a sudden spring in my step, I carried my now-energetic body out of the building and off campus. Outside the sun was shining bright with hope and happiness. Smiling, I crossed the street and followed the girls into a quaint, little building. And then I realized what had just happened.
I want to take a second here to defend myself. It had been a rough day, everyone was tired, and I had been so focused on moving into my dorm that my mind wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders. So, please don’t judge me or laugh too hard at my stupidity when I tell you that when she said Michaels, I absolutely thought my roommate had meant the craft store. You know, the one that sells art supplies, and fabric, and picture frames? Well, instead, I found myself before the hostess stand at a diner that supplied its customers with scrambled eggs, not paper mâché ones.
Oh no—what am I going to say?! I thought, panicking. The last thing I wanted was to be a laughing stock on my first day of college. Be cool, just be cool, I told myself. They don’t know what you had in mind. Just act natural. So, with the fraudulent swagger of the unfazed, I slid into the booth and picked up a menu. I put my napkin on my lap and sipped my ice water as the waiter approached us, pen in hand. And when he asked what we’d like, I didn’t even have to change my order. “I’ll have some eggs please,” I said with a smile.
Photo by Steven Depolo