I am no kinda car guy. My wife laughs at me over this whenever I get stuck among a group of guys engaged in “car talk.” (No, not the radio show?which further illustrates my point. That show is for people who listen to NPR, not people who know cars. That I am even AWARE of it marks me as a non-car guy.) Apparently, whenever the subject comes up, my voice drops an octave or two, my brow furrows as if I understand and am carefully considering what to me is meaningless auto-babble, and I grunt a lot.
You know, trying to fit in.
So now it occurs to me to wonder, what is the disconnect? It isn’t really cars, that’s just a topic of conversation. I mean, I know I’m a geek. But what is it that actually marks me as such? I enjoy watching football, used to play soccer and baseball, and dated a whole lot before I met my wife. But I like role-playing games and computers, fantasy and sci-fi. You know what I think? I think this is just a numbers game. Those guys are geeks for cars, these guys are geeks for sports, but they’re in the majority so their geekiness is cool. But woe be to the thirty-eight year old man who still knows a stegosaurus from a paranthodon?what a freak HE is! (Same family, different genus, for those of you who were wondering.)
Now I have known many more car nerds than computer nerds who would be willing to push your teeth down your throat for the suggestion that they to, were geeks, but again, that’s probably just the numbers speaking. The chess club would probably turn into bullies if their popularity overtook that of football, and even a star quarterback should know better than to walk into a drama-club practice with a “God Hates Queers” T-shirt.
So next time I’m in that uncomfortable position of standing amongst a gathering of my supposed peer while they begin yammering about carbeurators and pistons and hubcaps, I won’t feel insecure, and I won’t waffle. I’ll just laugh and tell them all about my D&D character!