Am I Geeky Enough?

Posted Friday, June 18, 2010, 1:31 PM



I am not sure if I am as geeky as I ought to be. It is time for an analysis.

I have never been someone who has made friends easily. Throughout my life most of my friends have been few, and borne of circumstance rather than true appeal. This is not true of every one of them, but enough to make me wonder.

At ages from birth through to ten, I had three friends of any significance, and that was because I lived in a small seaside village out in the country. The population was barely 150 people, and the kids who were listed as my friends were within 12 months of my own age. That's generally how it works; anything beyond is that nebulous range called either "the older kids" or "babies" both of which you stay away from.

Though we went through periods of disliking each other, and I was a weird kid even then, I had those friends throughout my childhood until I hit my teens and High School, where they were instantly abandoned as I discovered people with the same sense of humour as me. This overwhelmed me, that I could actually make friends with people I could relate to, and we spent the next five years joking around about the nerdiest stuff ever, ranging from British TV Comedies, Fantasy Action Films, and any other weird stuff that would make us giggle.

We kept to ourselves, in our own little out of the way corner of the school playground, and it never once occurred to me that we were nerds or geeks or whatever the word-du-jour was for our kind. We just did our own thing and enjoyed ourselves. And yet we discovered Computers together. Video Games! Adventure Games! Computer Graphics! We rushed to book the "Computer Room" each weekend when the schedule went up (our school had two computers back then, both Apple IIe clunkers with greenscreen CRT monitors. It was heaven!) If that didn't compartmentalise us, what did? We weren't really aware of it, but the truth is we were card carrying nerds; dictionary definition outsiders; obsessive Star Wars geeks. And yet we had no idea. Unlike how US movies tend to demarcate things, we were an amorphous bunch of kids, and all our circles overlapped. Even some of the girls liked computers at least a little bit.

Speaking of whom, girls generally dismissed us as not worth bothering with. Except both my friends got girlfriends over that time (then lost them again, I might add) while I did not. Girls have never been interested in me, despite my being interested in them just fine, and this has not changed throughout my entire life. I've given up caring about that facet, though, and now prefer my solitude.

When my friends started to gravitate towards other interests and important events occurred in their lives, they left High School, while I went through a bout of loneliness and loss. My Dad died when I was 14, but it wasn't until I was 16-18 that I started to really miss him, having reached the age where I could have used some guidance. So I felt like I was adrift. Unfortunately this lasted right up until I was about 25, and I aimlessly meandered through a sad grey little life doing almost nothing with myself.

I moved away from the little village at 19 years of age, and moved to the nearby metropolis, population around 80,000. There I stumbled upon friends who would shape my future. First a comic book artist who urged me to participate in the comics he himself either produced or contributed to. Then a movie geek who wanted to make his own films, preferably involving prosthetic make-up and pyrotechnics, who also introduced me to acting in the theatre. Then a few friends from that world, one of whom went on to be a film Director who I did some storyboard work for.

The new friends I met during the "making movies" stage of my 20s were very influential, but ultimately just as aimless as I was. Though we all had big dreams, we had no money, few opportunities, and didn't know what the hell we were doing. This has plagued my whole life.

Then I discovered the internet. Not only did this open up the literal World to me, but also the Web, a new frontier which required something called Website Designers. Could it be that two of my favourite things, computers and art, were no longer impenetrably obscure sciences, and could be accessible by poorly educated little old me at last? It was where I felt I could make an impact, and though I have continuously struggled with getting my head around the technology which consistently forged far ahead of my skill level, I have made something of a small career out of it.

When my movie-making friends all moved away to new cities, I was left behind just as my first Web Designer job ended (the Manager was a completely useless idiot). Suddenly, and it was very sudden, I had no job, no friends, and no idea of my future. I figured the best way to kick myself in the butt was a complete restart, and the easiest way to do that, I thought, is to move to a whole new country, preferably one with as little a culture shock as possible. So I moved from New Zealand to Australia.

I quickly found more work in the Internet realm, as a Web Designer and beyond, and also made new friends, who initially were just open to any Star Wars fan who happened along, but I was instantly a hit with a couple of people for my storyboard experience for the films they were making. Eventually I moved onto doing visual effects, and after ten years that's where I still am today. These friends have been great companions for the most part, and we've had a lot of fun, but still now, as before, I am not a very social person, and tend to enjoy my own company more often than not. I happily stay at home most days and do my own quiet thing in my own little corner of the world.

So, it seems to many I am sure, that clearly I am a geek. I like comics and computers and movies and the internet. I used to wear glasses. I am skinny and balding, with a beard. My hobbies include CG visual effects and fantasy books. I even wrote a script that was a classic mediaeval fantasy film, and my other unfinished screenplays are also somewhat fantasy-based. I have a decently large DVD collection, and was the first of my friends to get a big fancy TV (which is now outdated and old compared to theirs).

But... I do not obsess over things to infinite detail. I am not any kind of expert in any subject. I do not have encyclopaedic knowledge of anything, useful or obscure. I laze around and try to find shortcuts to even completing any of the fun things I do, and would much rather not do any work for anybody at all, if I could get away with it.

Am I a geek? Or am I just a lonely man with hobbies?

I can't tell.

I'm not sure if it even matters.

1 Reasoned Responses:

TS Hendrik said...

Go for geek. It's very hip right now to be a geek. I wish I could attain Geek status, but alas, I'm just a geek wannabe.

Actually your story sound like it would make a good indie film.

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