I was in Edinburgh getting to know a complete stranger over two days, so I didn’t know the guy from a bowl of soup when he collected me at the airport and welcomed me into his existence.
It was close to 1am as we sat in a Scottish bar inventing tall stories for strangers about how we met. Before that we were in a different bar smashing a smorgasbord of Scottish whiskey. Before that we drank two bottles of wine and loudly discussed renewable energy in a posh restaurant. But the best time was earlier that afternoon when I stood awkwardly in his small lounge room as he showed me his beatboxing skills.
You can see how quickly you can build a rapport with someone.
It’s hard to know who was most nervous about our meeting because I’m good at pretending I’m not and he was hiding in a plant pot.
He had agreed to be the first subject for my book – yeah the book I keep banging on about – and neither off us really knew what the flip we were doing. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to act all fun and flower child because I was technically Couchsurfing or all professional and together because I’d made him sign a consent form.
I’d never intended to sleep at his place either. But when I had gone to check in to my nice centrally-located hotel I discovered that the only reservation with my name on it was out at a budget hotel by the airport. I had only known the poor guy for half an hour before he felt obliged to offer me his couch.
When he took me into his home only an hour after meeting me off the internet, I took one look at his mantle piece of comic-book figurines and decided he wouldn’t hurt a fly. (Unless he is feeding the fly to a spider he intends to use to turn himself into Spider Man.) So I took up his offer to sleep on his couch under the hand-knitted rug his mother made him.
Unlucky for him, my quirks don’t manifest in my appearance and I didn’t bring my bedroom decor to represent me. How did he know I hadn’t set up the budget hotel shenanigan just to get invited into his sweet pad? Exactly, he didn’t. So he cooked me a super garlic-y chicken dish for lunch to test if I was a vampire or not.
The weekend was spent walking and talking. Like, literally; one of his favourite past times is long walks. But I swear no one on any dating website is ever going to take him seriously if he is honest about that.
He’s a good talker too. Which was a real challenge for me. I’m normally very traditional with my conversations, I like a good two-way exchange; you talk, me talk, you talk, me talk, you talk, you talk – NO IT’S MY TURN TO TALK. But because the weekend was about him, my stories were totally irrelevant. I think this whole project is going to be good for my attention span and focus skills to be honest.
His chattiness was good for my information collection though. I have five pages of notes which I still have to somehow decode.
While on first appearances it was hard to draw much about him besides the usual stereotypes of a person who is expert with computers, it turned out his mind was full of stuff that would blow your mind out of the water… as you may have taken from my notes above.
He is a deep thinker, so an ideas man. An engineer, so a problem solver. And he is good at taking complex subjects and dumbing them down so that you spend two hours going “ooooh ahhhh amaaaazing” at the dinner table.
I believe the guy is a natural genius with a lot of potential, but I also think this intelligence hinders his motivation. Years of identity issues as a European in an Indian’s body, bullying at school and the loss of his father at a young age disrupted his path. I got the sense that he feels the world’s been unkind to him – so why should he bother to actively share his greatness with the world?
Like the taste of this story? Plenty more where that came from. Stay tuned for the book.
**Note: He has since informed me that tin foil is not a product of space technology, I repeat, not a product of space technology.