Thirty-eight years ago, today, I was a college freshman. It was a Friday. I had classes during the day of course, and I had a date that night. It was a first date, although I knew the person I'd be going out with, slightly, - we'd been involved in group activities. The famous lawyer, F. L. Bailey, was lecturing on campus that night, and our date involved going to the lecture, and then going to a local disco. (Hey! I did say it was thirty-eight years ago! Those who don't know what a disco is, can go look it up on wiki.)
The date did not get off to an auspicious start. We were late (his fault, not mine!) and the lecture was even more popular than had been anticipated. Not only could we not get a seat in the auditorium, and not only could we not get into the auditorium at all, but we only just barely were able to get into the building. So we stood there, in the vestibule, in conditions worse than standing room only (I'm certain local fire codes were violated), and tried to listen to the lecture. As you might imagine, the acoustics in the vestibule were less than ideal, and Mr. Bailey's voice could barely be heard over the murmur of audience members talking to each other. My recollection is that we left early.
We headed off to the disco. I'd been looking forward to this - the music and the lights - although I was a bit concerned, because I was not much of a dancer. After we got there, I realized this was a really stupid place for a first date. The lights were distracting, and the music was so loud it was nearly impossible to talk. And my dancing was as bad as I'd feared.
I think it's fairly safe to say I didn't make a great first impression, and neither did he. And it was due to circumstances, as much as anything he or I did.
There was something there.
And a few months ago, we celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary.
If you google "first impressions", you find all sorts of things about how first impressions count, how to make a great first impression, and all sorts of self-help things on making a first impression in ninety, sixty, or even seven (yes! 7!) seconds. But life is more important than 7, or 60 or 90 seconds. Maybe first impressions count, but don't forget that it's the big picture that counts.