Most of my life I’ve been the only geek among those I see everyday. As a child, I was usually the only girl in boy-dominated courses and as an adult I’m the only female in my department. I’m also the only geek at my workplace. All of this can make for some lonely days.
The only daughter of three kids (and the middle child at that), I’m the only geek in our family of five. Before I was in high school, I received my first laptop for Christmas and I took it everywhere (even the grocery store). I saved up my allowance for a printer and scanner and eventually my parents bought me a tower PC with a flat screen monitor. When something computer-like broke in my house, I was the one they called to fix it.
At school I was one of two girls in my HTML and PC troubleshooting courses. The guys never seemed to mind and I really enjoyed learning. I experienced the same thing in college when I was going for my Associates of Science in Computer Engineering degree. In my three years in college, I only had another female in my class three times.
Now, in the workplace, I’m again the only person interested in what I do and the hobbies I enjoy. It can be pretty lonely not having anyone to talk to about comics, movies, and the latest in computer tech. My little brother works with me and I’m slowly converting him in to a geek, but it’s a work in progress.
I’m lucky enough to have a nice office with a door that I can decorate anyway I like. This is where I show my passion for the geek world. I have everything from 501st Legion pictures to comic books to Disney lithographs up on my walls. I also have a collection of Hot Wheels Batmobiles on my desk and a small Blue Lantern replica in front of my pencil holder (I really want the larger replica coming out in November).
I’ve been told my office is the coolest in the company, because of all my toys and pictures on the walls. Some people come in and just look around to see what I have on display. They think my costumes are cool, but have no idea who I’m dressed up as. My comic books get some attention too, but again, they don’t usually know who the characters are on the cover. It blows me away that anyone wouldn’t know who the Green Lantern is.
When someone asks me questions about what they see in my office, I have a glimmer of hope that they might understand what I say and be my geek office buddy. Alas, it usually ends with them saying “cool” and walking out.
Most of the people in my office are into things like drinking (I don’t drink), sports (unless it’s ice hockey, I’m not interested), or fishing and hunting (yuck on both accounts). This basically means I have nothing in common with any of my co-workers. There are two guys I work with who understand Star Wars, but that’s the extent of their geeky knowledge.
Going to lunch with a few of my fellow female coworkers the other day made me realize just how alone in the office I really am. They were talking about a doctor on TV and at first I thought “Doctor Who? Finally…something I can throw in my two cents about.” Then I remembered who was talking and after a few minutes of listening further, realized they were talking about someone by the name of Doctor Oz. Bummer. In one hour at lunch with these four women, I had hardly anything to say about the topics they discussed.
I’d love to see even just one geek hired to give me someone to talk to. I don’t care if they speak English or Klingon…there are translators for that.
I’m thankful for the geek friends I have outside of work and I love each of them for their quirks and interests. Now if only I could get one of them hired where I work so I could have someone to take over the world with…
For now, I keep my sanity by always having a geeky movie on my iPod, comic books on my shelf, and enough pictures on my wall to satisfy my daydreaming. Maybe one day I will have an office geek buddy, but for now, I’m a lonely geek in an office of non-geeks.
Do you suffer from being a lonely geek? Tell us your stories in the comments.