At the beginning of The Legend of Zelda, Link gets a wooden sword from an old man who tells him, “It’s dangerous to go alone!” Whether the goal is romance or friendship, meeting new people can be a daunting, anxiety-ridden process, geek or not, but when you are a geek, this can present more obstacles. As a geek, I would rather discuss the third season cliffhanger of Fringe, the detailed world of Mass Effect, or which Star Trek: The Next Generation character would make a better captain: Dr. Crusher, Worf, or La Forge. I play video games, but I’m not one the pigtail wearing, dressed as a schoolgirl, blessed in the chest hot gaming girls that seem to be everywhere now. I’ve learned that it’s easy to make excuses, easy to be afraid, and easy to give up, so I decided to go out last night to a place I hadn’t been to before and to interact with other geeks.
I’ve lived in the Twin Cities region of Minnesota for only two years, so I’m still unfamiliar with a lot of the area. I work at home as a teacher for an online education company, I’m trying to get my writing career going, and many geek activities take place indoors, so getting out of the house is something I have to remind myself to do. Thanks to Twitter, I ended up following Joseph Scrimshaw because of one of the RiffTrax fellows. Earlier this week, he tweeted about a Drinks with Geeks event at Moto-i. While conventions fulfill the same function of getting out of the house to mingle with other geeks, I haven’t been able to afford to go to conventions lately, but drinks, or a drink in my case, are something I can afford. Without knowing anyone there personally, I decided to go out alone.
Was I nervous? Of course. I didn’t know what to expect. Generally, geeks are kind to one another, but I’ve had the unfortunate experience of meeting a Judgmental Geek, one who states, “You don’t know about [Insert Geek Item Here] or haven’t [Insert Geek Activity Here]! Are you really a geek?” Instead of encountering Judgmental Geeks, one of my other fears happened—going to a meet-up where everyone already knows each other. I wandered around, stood by myself, and finally sat on a couch. People arrived in pairs or in groups and settled into conversations. I wasn’t sure of what to do. If I interrupted a conversation, I could be seen as rude, which I didn’t want. Fortunately, the man himself, Joseph Scrimshaw, sat next to me. We talked. He told me that the group is friendly and that I should introduce myself. After a while, I got up off the couch and tried to talk to others. Because the room was loud, the party was moved to the top floor.
When the group moved upstairs was when I was able to introduce myself and start to interact with the others. From Chris I learned how a lot of them were connected, CONvergence, which is a gathering of fans of science fiction in all its forms. Although I was the newbie, I wasn’t treated like one; there wasn’t a competition about who’s the bigger geek or who knew the most about something. As Friday turned into Saturday, we discussed films, conventions, comic books, and other geeky things. I had a great time; I’m glad I went, and I’m glad I didn’t leave ten minutes after arriving. I wasn’t the star of the night, but that wasn’t the point. I wanted to interact with others who shared my interests and not make a complete ass out of myself. Before I left, Chris told me I was brave for coming out alone to an unknown place where I knew no one, and that he hoped to see me at another Drinks with Geeks. Last night, when I went out alone, I didn’t have a wooden sword; all I had was my brain, my personality and a little courage, and that’s all I needed.