Monday, December 11, 2006

Geek. Dork. Nerd.

I'm a geek. When I say that, people rush to assure me that no, I am not, but I assure you, I'm proud of the fact. I love to write programs that make computers do things. When I was full-time employed at a local college, I was delighted that my office had more hardware in it than almost anyone else's. It was a virtual machine room. I am the very definition of a geek.

I am not, however, a nerd, which I think people sometimes confuse with geek and that explains why they experience surges of compassion and issue waves of reassurance when I declare my geekdom.

Tonight, though, I just may have acted like a dork.

Oh, all right, no "may have" about it. I acted like a dork. In public. Oh, yeah...

I made a late run to the local Price Chopper for a few items, enough to require a wheeled basket but not nearly enough to fill it. Price Chopper was deserted; 9:00 is a great time to go grocery shopping, as long as you don't require the attention of the people behind any of the counters other than checkout. I did have a nice chat with the produce man, who was replenishing the supply of eggplants depleted by a woman who came through just a few minutes before me and wiped them out. She told him she was making dinner for 150, a church dinner. Eggplant for 150? I hope she's prepared to find something to do with the leftovers, but what do I know? Maybe she has a fabulous recipe.

So, moving on from produce, I turned to go up the aisle toward the cough medicines, and went past someone who looked vaguely familiar. As I continued along, I realized where I had seen him. He had starred in our local professional theater's presentation of "I Am My Own Wife," a fascinating tale of a German transvestite who survived Nazi Germany. This actor played 30 different roles, switching seamlessly between them, totally convincingly. What a feat! He was truly amazing.

I believe he came here from New York City to play the role, so I was surprised to see him in the area a month after the show had closed. He was accompanied by another man of about the same age.

So, that's kind of cool, right? Running into an actor who, while not nationally famous, certainly did a wonderful, professional job during two weekends of shows locally. But I'm not one to approach people who don't know me, because I always think it would be so uncomfortable for them, that whole business about a one-way relationship where I saw and "knew" them but they have no clue who I am. When I used to deliver training campus-wide, I certainly was uncomfortable with my fame, such as it was. I would see a look of recognition on someone's face, and feel bad that I didn't remember them as they so obviously remembered me.

So I tried to behave as if I didn't realize who he was and went to get my cough syrup.

Now, the store is deserted, and they're playing Christmas songs, and I'm moving along the aisles, never seeing anyone else. So, who's going to mind if I start to whistle a little? I like to whistle. I'm pretty good at it. So, I'm whistling in counterpoint to the songs, and fooling around with little trills, kind of like those guys who do bird whistling songs on the radio, you know, really dorky. Really dorky.

And I look up and see Actor and Friend standing at the end of the aisle I'm in, grinning rather unkindly and pretending they're not laughing at this middle-aged woman bird-whistling her way down the aisles of the grocery store.



There's nothing for it but to just keep on doin' what I'm doin'. I finish up my shopping, not whistling as much because the next song isn't as counterpoint-able (really! that's why!) and check out, feeling kind of dejected, you know. I'm extra nice to the checkout clerk, wanting to demonstrate that I have social skills. As if anyone was watching.

And then, as I head out to the car, I get a grip. Yep, I'm a middle-aged, geeky, dorky, non-nerd. What can I tell ya? So get over it!

P.S. Still looking for a few more captions for my Caption Not-Contest #6!


Ilsa said...

I daresay the above mentioned actor and friend are probably still in town because they are appearing in the current production of CATS. I also say that any grown man who runs around in a leotard pretending to be a cat for 8 shows a week should not be sniggering at anybody in a supermarket.

Lynne said...

Hee hee!
If it means anything, I totally think you're cool!

I love how you're proud to be a geek. I am such a geek and I love it. All my friends know that I always have some weird, random knowledge about off the wall things. Like one time I gave a ten minute discussion on the history of the sweet potato. I'm not sure how it happened but it did!
Oh and you want to know what puts me near the nerd and dork category? Ready for this? Ok, here goes... I totally love and watch Star Trek The Next Generation. It was on while I was a kid, I watched it during high school and now in my twenties I'm still into it. I just figure I'm a generally cool person with geek/nerd/dork tendencies!