When I was younger, my favorite thing to do, hands down, was spend quality time with my dad. He was a pastor and his normal Sunday routine consisted of him driving to 3 separate towns to preach at 3 separate churches. Sometimes my whole family went to all of the services. We would pile into whatever junk car we had at the time. My parents would sit up front and turn on some classic rock, most likely to drown out the sound of 4 kids fighting in a back seat that was only meant to hold 3 kids. Sometimes, though, my mom would decide that 1 service was enough. The rest of the family would go to whatever service was closest and skip the rest. These Sundays quickly became my favorite. I loved going to church when it was just the 2 of us. Not only did I get to sit up front, a treat in itself, but I got to spend a couple of hours riding in a car with my favorite person. We would listen to classic rock together and sing our favorite songs, sit in companionable silence, or talk. He would tell me stories about history and I gained a deep appreciation of history because of those Sunday drives with my dad.
My dad is also to blame for my relationship with geek culture. If Sunday drives were #1 on my list of favorite things to do, spending time watching t.v. or playing games with Dad was #2. (Although that might have dropped down a spot for several years when I chose the imaginative world of Barbie and my Cabbage Patch named Amanda). I would curl up next to him on the couch and watch what he was watching. His favorite show was Star Trek. We watched the original series together and all of the Enterprise movies. I don’t know if I liked the show on its own merit or if I liked it because I watched it with my dad. But I loved this time together. As I grew older, I began learning about strange people who also watched these shows. They would dress up as the characters on t.v. and call themselves Trekkies. Part of me must have known that this had to be decidedly uncool. Or maybe whoever told me about them told me in a way that left no doubt that they were just plain stupid. I was an awkward child, easily swayed, and desperately wanted to fit in with my peers. From then on, I stopped watching Star Trek with my dad and turned my full attention to Barbies, Amanda the Cabbage Patch Kid, The Little Mermaid, and The Chronicles of Narnia. (Lesson from my childhood: playing with Barbies and watching The Little Mermaid repeatedly when you’re 11 does not actually help you fit in. It, in fact, has the opposite effect and you would probably be better off watching Star Trek and attending a convention dressed as a Klingon.)
Now that I’m older and imagine I might be a little wiser, I have found myself to be far more satisfied and content when embracing the dark edges of my mind that seek out science fiction, fantasy, and fandoms instead of closeting them. I live a much fuller life by blending my geek with the parts of me that are more acceptable to the closeted or mundane of the world, while encouraging others to not be ashamed any longer and embrace their own geek.