A post inspired by one of my favourite TV shows – How I met your mother. If you’ve not watched it then go and sign up to Netflix and sort out this travesty straight away.
It’s fair to say that when I joined secondary school I didn’t really have the time of my life. I hated it and grew more and more concerned by the chorus of adults saying it was “the best time of your life”. If this was the best time then I was royally fucked later on in life.
So after leaving school I went to college for a bit and enjoyed a few different part time jobs. The one that really changed my life was working for a call centre where I answered tech support calls from people that couldn’t connect to their dial up internet service.. And there she was, sitting at a desk right next to me on my first day! Just kidding – that isn’t how I met her.
So this internet service was a company called Lineone (RIP). During the hours of boredom of answering tech support calls some of us would venture into the realms of their online chat service. Again this isn’t where I met her.
The reason that this job changed my life is because that chat service led to me meeting some exceptional people that more than 15 years later I still regards as good friends. Outside of the chat rooms there would be “meets” where we’d all get together and, well, get very very drunk. Before them I was quite shy and reserved after years of bullying at school so these meets really gave me the confidence that has stayed with me ever since and helped shaped my life.
My parents were very good about all of this – they would often let lots of crazy people that they had never (and sometimes I had never) met stay in their house. One weekend I invited two of those friends down from up north. Their names were Ste and Lynsey, they had met in the chat room and they were in the middle of an ill-fated relationship.
We went out into London and got pretty drunk in Leister Square drinking cocktails – a pretty usual occurrence for me at this point.
On the train on the way back Lynsey took a call from one of her friends and quite rudely said :
“I can’t be bothered to speak to you right now, here, speak to James”
I had a little chat to the person the end of the phone and thought nothing more of it at the time. The next day Lynsey asked to borrow my mobile to phone her friend and apologise as she had run out of credit on her phone. I obliged and a few hours later Lynsey and Ste were on a train back up to the north of England.
Then I get a text message on my mobile:
The last line didn’t actually happen. That would be a bit weird. I didn’t recognise the number but soon worked out it was from Lynsey’s friend that I had spoken to briefly last night. This led to months of further messages, followed by calls and eventually us meeting in Birmingham.
And that kids, is how I met your mother.
Friends of ours still seem to think that we met online. But we didn’t – we’re not geeks ya know – we actually met over the phone! I wonder how many other people can say that?