After having a long, involved conversation the other day with a coworker about the advantages of shield-and-sword versus two-weapon combat and the sometimes-infuriating mechanics of rover-based planetary exploration, the pleasure I derived from this particularly geeky chat made me very aware that I have an extraordinary dearth of nerdy friends which share my interests.
Sure, in college I knew a few bonafide nerds, but they were of the more scholarly sort – the underground audiophile, the emotionally conflicted and incohesive poet/anarchist, the manic, cheerfully artistic Casanova. But now that I’m out in the “real world”, I find myself wishing that I knew more people who thought of fighting with foam swords as a fun time, who think that making a fool of yourself with Guitar Hero is a heroic endeavor, people that can define “woot” and who think think arguing the virtues of Star Wars against Star Trek is not an unworthy pursuit. I want to know people who think dressing up and going to conventions is *fun*.
Because the truth is, I’m sort of a closeted geek. I think all of these things – Dungeons and Dragons, cosplay, LARPing, etc… – look like a ridiculously good time, but as a writer the friends I’ve attracted over the years have been pretty weighty in their pursuits, which is okay until your entire life becomes a neverending stream of cynicism and politically-aware snark. My one foray into true geek territory was a solo quest that I made into my local video gaming club a few years back, since I knew not a single soul who would be willing to go with me. I actually recognized several people I went to high school with, watched some anime (which I am on the fence about, depending on what the series is) and battled my way to victory in a vicious Mortal Kombat tournament, even managing to beat the club’s leader, who was flabbergasted to be laid low by a female gamer. I should have warned him that I never enter contests I don’t intend to win. I never went back, but I do remember the evening fondly.
I need to find more people like that. But in my current line of work, things tend to be on a much more serious bend, and as an extreme introvert it’s difficult for me to push myself into extracirricular activities which earn me the key to the geekdom.
Looks like I’ll have to try harder.