It was my very first presentation of my work as a phd student. Sure, the conference audience was a friendly one, made up of fellow PhD students, but I was still a tad nervous and wanted to do well.
And I did. I said everything I wanted to say, stayed within the time limit and answered the questions reasonably well. And I wasn’t drenched in sweat by the end.
So it was with a sense of relief and contentment that I took my seat later at supper. It was cafeteria style, with plastic trays and long benches. I wasn’t sitting with any of my friends and I think I found the conversation a bit boring so I was kind of not paying much attention and just focusing on eating.
“Your talk was excellent!” the boy sitting diagonally from me said, looking at me. I admit I was taken aback, I wouldn’t have called my presentation excellent, but maybe it had touched something inside the soul of this fellow geek.
I shrugged. “Oh really? Thank you!” I beamed.
“Erm, actually I was talking to him…” he said and pointed to the guy sitting next to me.
I don’t think I managed to say anything coherent, I was too busy turning all sorts of shades of red. I never finished eating dinner with such speed like I did that night.