< September 2011 | Main | April 2012 >

So I used to go to these
February 15, 2012

I used to go to a lot of "things"... Star Trek conventions, raves, Burning Man, network nerdy gaming nights, full tower computers under our arms, with 21" CRTs waiting in the trunk for the next trip inside. I don't think I'll ever get over the nostalgia and "natsukashii" feeling I get when thinking about all of the nerdy and not-so-nerdy stuff I did. All of these things added up with other experiences to help me become the person I am today, and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

One of the first Star Trek conventions I went to was held in San Jose, put on by Creationin (tm), which is pretty much the main convention conglomerate. DS9 was new then, and TNG was extremely popular. I was amazed that there were adults dressed up as the characters I saw on TV, especially the Klingons and those that required more makeup than I had used in my lifetime. I waited in lines to get autographs from Armin Shimerman, Marina Sirtis, and Rene Auberjonois; I was thrilled to sit a mere 100 or so feet away from Patrick Stewart while he talked about the show (later, when we were in the UK, he's who I thought of when we visited Stratford-upon-Avon and I saw my first Shakespeare play performed live). I enjoyed the hell out of myself, but I also remember my dad, whom I had talked into coming with me (I certainly wouldn't have been able to go by myself), making snide comments about those in the costumes and the magazines I wanted to buy.

I originally started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with my dad as something we could do together; he was a fan of the original series (which I hated at the time), and I have to admit I was curious about the show my dad watched religiously on Sunday nights. I quickly became enamored of Wesley, the cute, awkward youth who felt like my anti-self; he was able to experiment with technology and explore with little conflict, except for that with the captain. I held Wesley in my heart, not only because I had a total crush on him, but because I was fiercely jealous of his position, and I wholeheartedly believed that by the time I was an adult, society would be nearly be at the technological future the fictional 23rd century showed on Fox, in syndicated episodes at 5 and 11pm.

Somehow, TNG wasn't enough of a catalyst pushing me toward a scholarly perusal of the sciences outside my bedroom. My dad's Time Life books on The Universe were fun to peruse, and at one point, I memorized the Table of Elements, but without use, the knowledge was lost quickly. I'm still not sure what happened to me back then, but I find myself paranoid of the future for my own children. Though I embrace my nerdiness at this point, it took shift in societal "norms" to allow me to do this, because I simply wasn't comfortable to be "out" before. I'm 32 years old, finally learning about calculus, which I've wanted to explore for far too many years. I don't want to wait any more. I won't wait any longer.