It was the first week in December when Reyan Madani went to the high-school where Addalyn Forbes taught English Literature to give a talk about Futuristic failures. She was instantly attracted to him but she was in a three year relationship with Don, a college professor. And she didn’t think that Reyan would be into her. He was East Indian and she was black. Besides, he was probably married or in a relationship.
After his presentation, many of the girls went up to him, encircling him like sharks circling their prey and she had a feeling it had nothing to with what he said. They all thought he was dreamy and wanted to ask him personal questions. She thought she ought to go over and break things up. She walked over to them. “Ladies, I think you should head back to your classes. Thank you.”
When they were alone, he smiled at her. “Thank you.”
She smiled. “I could see that you needed rescuing.”
“I did. They didn’t ask me any questions about my presentation. One of them asked me if I was single.”
“I’m sorry about that.”
“No harm done.”
“Thank you for coming and doing this. I know what a busy man you are. I really appreciate it. Your presentation on reported failures of artificially intelligent systems was so informative. I remembered about the Concorde being dubbed the plane of the future but I wasn’t keen on flying on one. I thought the regular jets looked safer. I didn’t know about John DeLorean unveiling the futuristic automobile in 1975. You said that it was his first and last. How disappointing it must have been for him.”
“Yes. However, the machine was featured in the 1985 film “Back to the Future.”
“So, it still served a purpose.”
“Still, that wasn’t as big a disaster as when Pfizer had to swallow a $2.8 billion failure with its botched launch of its Exubera insulin inhaler in 2007.”
“Yes, it was a pity because it was a product which was a long time in coming. It allowed type 1 and type 2 diabetics to avoid painful insulin injections. The problem was that the device was bulky and embarrassing to use in public, unlike smaller inhalers used for asthma. The needles used to inject insulin were so tiny that people didn’t mind using them.”
“Still, as they say nothing ventured, nothing gained. It’s always best to try something and fail than to not try at all.”
“That’s true. Many people experience lots of failures before they are successful in their ventures like Thomas Edison experienced more failures than any of the other movers and shakers but he didn’t give up. He built on his mistakes and succeeded in more ventures than anyone else and as result contributed to the advancement of American life in extraordinary ways. When asked about his failures, Edison said, ‘I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.’ For him, failure wasn’t the end. He focused on what he could learn or improve. The important thing is to keep on trying until you succeed.”
“Yes. That’s what I always encourage my students to do. If they don’t do well on a test or assignment, try and do better the next time.”
“How long have you been teaching?”
“If any of the teachers looked like you when I was in school, I would have been a very happy youth.”
She smiled. “Thank you.” The way he was looking at her made her body tingle all over.
“I’m not married but I’m in a relationship. What about you?”
“I’m not married either but I have a boyfriend.” I wish I didn’t.
“Do you think it would be wrong for us to have dinner together?”
After she recovered from her shock that he had just indicated that he wanted to have dinner with her, she replied, “No. As long as we don’t go back to your place or mine.”
He smiled. “Would you have dinner with me on Saturday?”
“I have your number. I’ll call you.”
“All right. I’ll see you on Saturday. Thanks again for coming.”
“You’re welcome, Addalyn.”
“Goodbye.” He watched as she walked away. From the moment he saw her, he knew that his relationship with Mandira was in serious trouble.