10.30.13 // When Did I Realize I Was a Geek?
Guest post by Chemjobber (who was also one of the scientists in our hugely popular DIY Science Zone at GeekGirlCon ’13!)
Confessions of a Sneaky Geek
My family did not support television as a regular habit. Nights were for studying and for quiet reading. Because I am a sneaky sort, I figured out that I could watch television when my parents were away. Of all the things I could choose to watch, what did I happen upon Saturday nights at eight? Star Trek: The Next Generation, of course. I think that’s when my geekdom was cemented.
My memories of truly geeky 90s television are combined with the memories of listening for the sounds of the garage door creaking open, so that I could turn off the television and race upstairs to my room. Through my surreptitious TV watching, I was able to watch enough TNG episodes to learn to thrill to the sound of Majel Barrett’s voice saying “And now, the conclusion.” Secretly, I watched Agents Mulder and Scully chase a truck carrying an E.B.E. After that, I was really hooked. (One of my favorite teenage memories is sneaking downstairs late at night to watch TV. While I soon figured out that Lorenzo Lamas wasn’t a very good actor, I am proud to say that I started watching Highlander during its earlier seasons.)
When my parents moved me to college with my own computer and without my own television, I think they did not realize how much they were enabling my further move into science fiction geekdom. Routine access to the Internet (and USENET groups) were a great reminder that I wasn’t alone in being a total science fiction nerd. I have strong memories of reading a highly recommended X-Files fanfic until very, very late and immediately e-mailing the author and telling her what a powerful story it was.
Amidst all the classes, time in the research lab and bombing exams, I managed to make time to watch every single episode of Deep Space Nine—on someone else’s television, of course. When I graduated and moved to my first job, I had my own television (finally!) and was able to indulge my full geekiness, including multiple rewatchings of The Wrath of Khan and catching up on all the episodes of DS9 that I missed the first time around. I was also casting about for a replacement for that show, which I don’t think I ever really managed.
Since the end of Deep Space Nine, I confess that my geekdom has gone a bit fallow. In the meantime, I got married, managed to finish graduate school, and found work as a scientist. Between then and now, I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to consume science fiction and participate in geek culture as much as I’d like. Sure, there are the lost two hours here and there to Memory Alpha or Wookieepedia—who doesn’t want to know exactly what happened to Jacen Solo? And, of course, I’ve read every single novel in John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series five times over.
But now that I have a tiny bit of spare time, I feel my geekdom coming back to me. Going to GeekGirlCon was rather a wonderful refresher in what I’ve missed in the years where my inner geek has been dormant. There’s a over a decade’s worth of science fiction and fantasy to catch up, not to mention all the webcomics I’ve missed.
Finally, now that I have two small children, I look forward to the day when they will have their own geeky pursuits. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll let them watch a little TV with me.