In praise of the unexpected encounter

Having created a haven of geekiness within our home, and spending as we do a fair amount of time on the internet – a place welcoming to geeks if ever there was one – it can be strange sometimes for Himself and I to venture into the real world. It is a strange and alien place, where we meet people who haven’t read Harry Potter, don’t watch Doctor Who, and don’t understand why Summer Glau is awesome. We tiptoe through social gatherings as though through a den of irritable tigers, occasionally asking questions of each other:

‘Darling, what is this thing called ‘football’ of which they speak? Is it akin to online gaming?’

‘I’m sure I don’t know, dearest. Could you enlighten me as to the nature of this place called a ‘nightclub’ to which we have been invited? Might it involve a good book?’

And so forth. Of course, all of these non-geek people are wonderful, but when Himself and I are away from our keyboards it can seem as though we are the only people in the world who would hang a map of Middle Earth in our living room.

Then sometimes, we find that is not the case.

Last weekend, we went to the Isle of Man for a family celebration. Going for a walk along Port Erin seafront, on a day which proved to be far colder than it looked, we ducked into an interesting-looking shop to warm up. Once inside, Himself made an idle enquiry as to the price of a Tardis-shaped cookie jar that had caught his eye.

There ensued a rambling, half-hour conversation between ourselves and the lady running the shop, covering all topics geeky that we could think of. We debated the merits of the Harry Potter books versus the films, we talked Star Wars merchandise, we discussed early episodes of Doctor Who. It was wonderful to find someone – a real-life someone – who got it. If only we had been local, we would probably have stayed all day and then invited her round to dinner.

And it’s these chance encounters that can return hope to anyone who feels like they are the only person in the world who loves what they love. Because the most marvellous thing about being a geek is that, in the words of the Face of Boe, You Are Not Alone.

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