Driving into the library parking lot yesterday with my car radio blaring out a Beethoven concert, I was hit with the realization that I am the epitome of geekness. Not sure if it was the Classical music that my teenage boys do not allow me to play in their presence, or the fact that discovering a novel that I fall in love with makes me giddy, but I was hit with the self-realization that I will never be cool. Never.
I just can't do it. In college, I attempted to blend in by wearing the popular dress code of college t-shirt, blue jean shorts, and flip flops. The shirts were boring, jean shorts never felt comfortable, and flip flops hurt my toes. Try as I might, blouses and skirts and summer dresses would always sneak into my closet and beg to be worn. I don't even know how those clothes got there.
The most popular form of social entertainment, the television, has not been in my house for over a decade. After a few years, I learned to stop revealing this oddity as the reactions I received were severe. Most strove to be thoughtful and offered me one of theirs, thinking that the only possible reason for my lack of TV was that I was too poor to afford one. When I said it was a choice, that I preferred to read, they would look at me as if to say, 'Oh, okay, we'll just accept your lie and know that the reality is that you don't want to accept my charity.' The best reaction that I ever got was from a friend who was shocked into asking what on earth I talked about with others. People were trying to be helpful, but I decided to keep the non-TV choice to myself--a discussion to be avoided like politics and religion.
So let me keep my secret that I love to read over watch TV. Don't bring it up if we meet, it brings up so many bad memories.
The music issue is painful. While I love Rock n Roll, the lyrics pull me in and insist that I listen to them. This may seem innocent enough, but then I am not open to dwelling on a story that I'm writing. There must be something wrong with my brain that I am at so challenged to think about one thing and listen to something else at the same time. Seems like every other car driver in America can do this but me.
Now I sound like the ultimate whiner, but in reality I embrace being a Geek. There are more of us out there--we make up a significant number of a niche market. Look for us on the fringes. We often lurk in libraries, dark shadowed coffee houses with a book in hand, and the far corners of used bookstores. We'll be the ones at the symphony who stay awake throughout the performance--and probably even know some of the pieces.
When you see one of us, please don't run away, or laugh at us. We have feelings too. Just leave us to our music and books, and we will never bite you.