‘Every single night the same arrangement, I go out and fight the fight. Still I always feel the strange estrangement. Nothing here is real, nothing here is right.’ – Buffy the Musical, Going through the Motions.
You may have noticed that things have gotten a bit crummy recently. Not the last few tasty cheesecake crumbs that you chase round the plate with a finger crummy. More full on soggy digestive biscuit dunked in coffee gone wrong crummy that sticks to the back of your throat.
There seems to be a contagious outbreak of web forum combativeness and general aura of discontent permeating geekdom discussions (and beyond), often in a very unpleasant way. Combine that with very real, often sad and rather uncertain times and it can be tempting to retreat to a platform of self-defensiveness and snark. Perhaps what we should be doing is looking at the core of what brings us together both in the physical world, and on sites such as this. In short, celebrate your geekness. Take comfort in your own particular corner of this vast, quirky, beautiful world of wonder we inhabit.
Recently I’m finding that I am turning to comfort geek more and more. Going back to the films and the books that shaped my personal geek creed and finding solace in their pleasures. I watched The Craft three times in threes. Cackled to myself that ‘we are the weirdoes mister’ while wearing socks bearing the same motto. I sunk myself into everyone’s least favourite Buffy seasons – 4 and 5 – because it’s Buffy’s disjointed uncertain coming of age seasons that have always resonated the most with as I stumble through life. And I greet every hangover I accidently stumble into with the phrase ‘Beer Bad’.
As Xander says in The Freshman: “‘Buffy, I’ve been through some fairly dark times in my life. Faced some scary things…Let me tell you something. When it’s dark and I am all alone, and I’m scared or freaking out or whatever, I always think ‘What would Buffy do?’…You’re my hero.”
Comfort geek is revisiting Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea and being taken on a journey of discovery. I’ve been re-reading The Lord Of The Rings and David Eddings’ Belgariad series. These were the books that made me realise as a frankly clueless teenager that the weird and the wonderful were mine for the taking if I opened up my mind and stepped into their world, crowding out the mundane reality of life in the quiet moments. I’m looking to the current horror crowd with their twisted fairytales, my poison being Naomi Novik and Christina Henry.
New geek too – binging the MCU series’ on Netflix while my other half was in hospital having surgery, literally just needing something to take my gaze off the telephone. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , Sense8 and the wonderful Glow aided his recovery. And we’ve been wallowing in multiple MCU films. Ant Man is particularly pleasing in this household at the moment.
So I’m throwing it out there. What’s your comfort geek? What do you turn to when you need to pull up the drawbridge to the real world and step into that parallel universe? It doesn’t have to be a film or a book – it can be adding a new figure to your Star Wars collection, losing yourself in retro gaming and so on. What makes your heart sing that little bit happier? I seem to add a splendid new Game Of Thrones notebook to my collection every time my mood dips.
Remember – we’re all geeks here. This is our world to inherit – but as with all worlds, different vistas appeal to different folks. Let’s celebrate our geek, let’s take its comfort – and let’s enjoy our differences with an open mind.
Thanks as always for reading and have a Buffy hug from me. But it’s Xander who gets the last word: “They’ll never know how tough it is Dawnie. To be the one who isn’t chosen; to live so near the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anyone realizes, ‘cause nobody’s watching me. I saw you last night, I saw you working here today…You’re not special. You’re extraordinary.”