April 16, 2011

Geek Weekly: We. Are. Everywhere.

I'm starting to think it was a bad idea to put a specific day of the week in the titles of my theme posts. I'm not this good at committing.

I work in an office that is only slightly different from any basic corporate/government office in that we all know and use sign language on a daily basis. Otherwise it’s exactly as you’d expect… fluorescent lighting, cubicles, people who tetch and roll their eyes at each other’s music, a kitchenette with a sign on the microwave imploring people not to make popcorn. Just another of the many, many skyway-adjacent offices you’ll find in any Midwestern metropolitan area.

Being a geek is a bit like being gay.

Bear with me on this.

Both sets of people tend to hide this part of their lives in the everyday world. Or at least, not call attention to it. Both will steer clear of subjects that bring it out in the open when they are in certain environments (like work), for fear of alienating people with their unique nature. Both were probably traumatized by bullying and ostracism by the “normal” folks when they were young, and often when they find out that a person is gay- or geek-“friendly” (or gay/geek themselves) in a work or similar environment, the floodgates open and they can finally be themselves.

At least geeks can marry each other.

But I digress. My point was that it’s sometimes hard to know who I can talk about random geek things with and not get the blank stare (or worse, polite smile and shifty eyes that says I’ve set off some sort of DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! signal in their brain). So mostly I just keep it to myself… unless someone sets off my geekdar. Or even better, I set off theirs.

The two geeks I’ve met in my Office Space-like environment are H the delivery guy and K the security dude. Both of them are almost always in uniform when I see them, which is why I didn’t catch the geek signals from either of them… although I have seen K in his civvies on a few occasions, so I suspected. But H hides his geek well, under the guise of his good looks (and awareness of them). But in both cases, I ended up out myself to them.

With H it was excited babble about a pending trip to the UK, during which I’d be attending a “Doctor Who”-centric sci-fi convention. When he heard this, he promptly told me how he’d always dreamed of going to Comic-Con, and that he’s a total Star Wars nerd. It was an instant connection, the walls came tumbling down, and we were suddenly geeking at each other with the kind of enthusiasm rarely seen or heard in Cubicle World.

It was another con that outed me to K. I do sign language stuff for a local sci-fi/fantasy convention, so had brought some flyers to work in an attempt to maybe grab the attention of some of the deaf folk who never bothered to go because they didn’t realize there were interpreters. K spotted the flyer, with its eye-catching Metropolis-inspired artwork, and it was 45 minutes before we emerged from our horror-themed geek fugue.

Sometimes it's hard to imagine that all the normal people we interact at our jobs or in our daily lives with could be as geeky as us. But the truth is, geeks are everywhere.

1 comment:

  1. NotoriouslyuniqueApril 16, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    LOL! I can totally relate! BOY CAN I RELATE!!! Only diff is that I'm what you call a flamboyant geek cuz I either never bother to hide my geekdom or can't actually hide it even if I tried.

    I have a friend at work who is my exact opposite in everything except geeky interests. We were sorta enemies at first but then through long shifts of tolerating each other professionally we couldn't help the geek-magnetism and became friends. Now we're the only ones who understand each other's HP/Star wars/X-Men/Pirates of the Caribbean/Sweeney Todd/etc references and we constantly recommend new stuff for each other to watch.

    Also: My bro is currently trying to choose between 2 girls. I'm nagging him to go with the one who likes Harry Potter *g*