Wow, there’s one of us working in the White House?!
It occurs to me again and again that while I love living out on the prairie, walking the streets of the small town I grew up in, I am quite isolated. I am at home here and even if we could move I seriously doubt we would. My wife works best in an almost hermit-like existence and I’m pretty much an introvert myself, especially around strangers. But I do miss being among my people.
I was in a text exchange with three of my high school classmates last night. Somehow the topic got around to a kid that was with us for only part of our junior and senior year. He died in a car accident some time when we were all in our twenties. I told my friends I remembered him because he was the only other person in our small high school that read Rolling Stone and I could talk music with him. Even then my musical tastes were far from the norm. And my nerdy tastes in books and comics were an even wider deviation. I had friends and many of them I’m still in close contact with. But I really was the only nerd in the village.
Some of the crew I ran with in college were a little nerdy and our music tastes somewhat intersected but in truth there was only one in my circle who was as well versed in Tolkien, comics, AND what Rush album was perfect to start the day with. He now lives a couple hundred miles away and on the rare times we get together the conversation gets dominated by our wives and we both admit, we never get to talk about the things that excite us.
A few years ago I wrote a post called On Being Geek. In it I wrote about how being a nerd is really all about being passionate and not being afraid to be feel that way about these things. And I still am passionate about all things nerd but I have to admit that being the only nerd in the village is getting a little old. Isolation is sometimes a comfort and god knows a writer needs it if they want to get anything done. But it does get tiresome.
The spouse of my cousin is quite familiar with Tolkien and the X Files but her true passion is theater, MUSICAL THEATER. You know how I feel about that. My wife will watch LOTR and Harry Potter movies, but she has never and will never read the books. Conventions are far away from us and a little expensive given where we’re at right now. So my interaction with my people is only online, in emails with friends back in MN or on web forums. But those things are fading as well. My friends email a little less except when a movie trailer stirs things up. I gave up on my main fantasy forum because the residents are young and foolish. I am quite active in music forums like Progressive Ears and interact with those characters often on Facebook. But it’s not face-to-face.
A little over a month ago one of my favorite authors, Michael Chabon, wrote the above piece for GQ about taking his son to Fashion Week in Paris. You should read it. As always, Chabon writes such captivating prose. And he really understands the passion and enthusiasm of his son, even though he doesn’t share the same passion for clothing. He also buries the goddamn lede when he mentions they also went to Rush’s last concert in Madison Square Garden. But at the very end he gets down to the heart of the matter. His son has found “his people”. Again, you must read it because it is quite moving. And it reminds me again how much I miss being among my people.