Growing up, being smart wasn’t exactly an asset, at least not at my elementary school. I think it had more to do with the way they would ostracize you, pull you out of your "normal" classes so you could go with other geeks to attend the classees in the gifted program. You weren’t exactly a pariah, per se, but you didn’t really fit in.
In High School, it mattered a bit less, because most people were vying for admissions to a good college, so intelligence wasn’t completely poo-poohed; for some of us, we were also vying for class rank to then assist in aformentioned college goals, so in SOME instances, being smart was not only ok, it was actually cool.
Ok, so maybe not cool. But at least not totally un-cool.
Anyway, at some point along the line, perhaps when AOL was just beginning and chat rooms and IM were at their neophyte stages, I became a geek. I attribute this to my Dad, early-adopter-of-everything, who not only bought us a PC Jr. at some point but – and I swear this is true – was among the first few thousands of people to sign up for AOL. (Why I didn’t pick a better screen name is beyond me.) I remember chatting to my ninth grade crush (a SOPHOMORE!) about meeting in the park to make out (!!), a detail verified by my painful-to-even-read adolescent journal. Suffice it to say that while most of my friends were learning how to use three-way calling and annoying their parents by tying up the telephone line, we had to get another one for my
IM flirting Internet usage alone.
This was 1991.
Fast forward fifteen years, and not much has changed. IM is still the best way to
waste a day distract you from work, I’ve swapped cell phone talking for Blackberry texting, and as long as I can remember, my friends haven’t really understood half of the tech stuff I talk about.
When I first came to San Francisco, most of my pals were Googlers, or at least ones I met through friends at Google. They were smart, they were fun, but – as a generalization – this group didn’t really embrace their TRUE geekiness. Yes, we both knew a thing or twenty about computers, but our evening conversations weren’t necessarily about supersnazzy computer lingo. It wasn’t until I went to SXSW back in April that my eyes were opened to the concept of Geekyfantasticness, the concept coined by Willo that connotates techno-nerd overtones with the fine balance of rockstar undertones. Basically, a person who embraces their love and aptitude for technology but adds some hipster flair to the mix. Be forewarned: discussions of PHP and Ruby on Rails may ensue over a few pitchers of brew. HOTT.
So it’s no wonder I love my new crew so much. While partying FAR too much on school nights, it’s worth it: I can firmly say that my PowerBook has never been in such good shape, nor ever so useful. Plugins! Alarm Clocks! New Adium with iTunes status included! W00T! Flickr is my friend, and though I’m still annoyed by MySpace (and maintain that nobody over the age of 21 should be allowed on it), I’m a Dodgeball Diva and a Promsummating Princess. For once, I’m not the geekiest one in the room, and if I was, it would likely be applauded! Only in Silicon Valley do programmers score the hottest chicks (who will likely be able to out-Scrabble, trivia, and program you under the table.)
To me, you can’t get much better than that. I HEART Geekyfantastic.