This week I had a nerdy ramble with Shannon and Matt the awesome duo behind Seattle Geekly. They asked me a question I struggle with all the time: Winifred, how exactly are you nerdy?
That’s the thing. I don’t separate my nerd self from my black self or even my girl self. I’m still surprised when other people find my interests and hobbies unusual.
In an attempt to better answer this question (for all time) I offer the following observations and let you judge for yourself.
- I think my fandoms are real. Ok not real exactly, but I respond to them with an intensity that frightens people. I can’t even talk about my trip to Warner Brothers studio at Leavesden without getting a little misty. It’s that deep y’all.
- My one-liners are Tolkein based (Think “Oh it has been remade!” instead of “It has already been brought!”)
- My obsession with the shitty animation of my childhood is intense. She-Ra and red wine? Best. Friday. EVER.
- I don’t talk about hip bones, it’s all illiac crests with me. Biology, particularly invertebrate biology is a big deal in my house. I settled into armchair chemistry, because I was too bad at math for armchair physics. Doesn’t stop the curiosity about particle horizons however.
- I named one of my beehives Caprica, the other Mordor.
- I want to discuss TED talks in excruciating detail, as though they were summer blockbuster films.
- Greco-Roman mythology is a perfectly reasonable ice breaker as far as I’m concerned.
- I described Pacific Rim as life-changing, because holy hell giant mecha AND kaiju!!!
- I own a Sunnydale High School yearbook.
There’s more. Lots more. It’s just all so much a part of who I am, it’s hard to peel those things out to explain to random strangers who want to make sure that I know what Telnet AND Mordor are, before they judge me nerd enough to enjoy my acknowledgement. If you are a person of color (and god forbid non-male) you’re required to perform all your identities as well as represent your nerd cred in order to have a seat at the tabletop. There’s certainly enough there that I have to explain to other black people who aren’t nerds what’s “wrong” with me. Tabitha and I have that in common. It’s too bad she doesn’t have Twitter. When I’m feeling especially snobby myself about someone else’s nerd credentials, I try to remember that what binds nerds and geeks together, is an alarming enthusiasm for worlds and ideas other people aren’t all that interested in. That’s good enough, I think.