#NerdCulture

Sorry, Mom…not my f-bomb, but still my amen to Mr. Kennedy’s sentiment.

It’s no secret: my apartment is a structural testament to a deep love of books. I have multiple bookcases, one of them taller than I am, and multiple prints from the designer at Ideal Bookshelf, artwork of differing genres all over the apartment, even on the bathroom walls and over the kitchen sink. I have a pin-up calendar in the kitchen of Hot Dudes Reading, because I think the sexiest thing a man can do is read. (The other stuff a man can do is nice, too, but kind of down the list after reading, writing, cooking, and playing a musical instrument.)

This love of books has gained me some grief in my time…painted me as a hermit, a snob, and a…nerd. The last distinction was the easiest to take (hermit is a struggle because reading is often mistaken to be exclusively solitary an activity, and snob is hard to take because I like literary fiction but the super-pretentious stuff I cannot handle well), after all I have “my books and my poetry to protect me,” to start with from Simon & Garfunkel. The definition of nerd-dom from my past experience (whether with books, in high school band, or in my choice of PBS) has usually involved some kind of social banishment. Sometimes there would be other nerds, a breakfast club of us playing all the tubas and bullied by the football players.

It seems, though, as Dan has so eloquently stated above, that nerd culture has kicked out some of its base. In some cases, some of us have to apologize for liking Coldplay, the planet formerly known as Pluto, The Big Bang Theory, or (gasp) Shakespeare. Can’t I just like the sonnets and be done? But there’s proof now he didn’t write them. So Pluto and Shakespeare can go the way of symbols, like Prince or Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

Look, newcomers to my lifetime of separation from society…if you find my eyeglasses and my Bradbury suddenly so very fascinating, can you…let me have my Richard Bach and my Woody Allen and my Hemingway anyway? I promise to love the rest of your hipster crossover and borrowing, and let you continue to pretend that you have the same awkward default as Issa Rae. I’ll look the other way at your new-found love of Trapper Keepers if you don’t say that my definition of nerd, lived so long, isn’t enough. 🤓

*****

The past couple of weeks in my world have been a bit hairy at work, for reasons it’s best to keep confidential at the moment, so here’s how I’ve been medicating lately…

Reading, lately: A lot of chef, food critic, and restaurateur memoirs for some reason…but I am trying to give up a lot of meat, dairy, and eggs and therefore my excitement about food is a bit diminished, so I’m hoping to gain some food love back, somewhere.

Listening, lately: nothing in particular and everything in small doses…from Jidenna to Marcus Mumford covering Dylan to James Bay like an old blanket to Ahi to…Springsteen, always. Repeat gets abused.

Watching, lately: HBO’s Insecure, because, well, she IS a nerd, ain’t no hiding. A lot of baseball because the MLB put a For Sale sign on the rest of the season and instead of $25 a month, the rest of the year is $10. Not sure how much of that applies to post-season, but I guess I’ll find out, right? With the current work situation I watch a lot of dumb comedies, like Disjointed on Netflix and Never Stop Never Stopping on HBO, sometimes on repeat like the music.

All of this, and it’s still hot and sticky in San Diego. I still run air conditioning. This forgotten corner of the world is always sunny and festering like a Petri dish. I’m looking forward to autumn, well, someday. 🍁🍂

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#Reserved

(I kept myself amused this morning by imagining a breakfast restaurant called Hashtag. Probably not the first time for this idea, but the thought cracked me in my own world.)

I write this love letter to you from the Central Branch of the San Diego Public Library system. Specifically, I’m in the eighth floor Reading Room. The library is fairly new and is still suffering the fussiness of final touches–some days the latches on the restroom stalls don’t work, other days the escalators don’t work on all floors, the “Auditorium” sign was removed when the “o” fell off–but there is so much here for me to love in the place of the gaps.

I’m developing a routine, a rule-book of my own design:
First stop, the gift store, full of things you would find at a Paper Source or museum gift shop;
Next, the New Arrivals in Fiction;
Then, the fourth floor of fiction requiem;
Lastly, the Reading Room.

The Reading is a blend of the long study tables you would find at other libraries and a whole collection of chairs mismatched save for their color. The sofas, benches, easy chairs, chaise lounges, dining room table chairs, rocking chairs, wicker…they are all the same brilliant azure. Fifty different textures, and one color, like a Martha Stewart wedding for seating. All of the blue faces the windows, but the windows are walls, so all of us, even those of us in the middle of the space, can gaze off at the Coronado Bridge and hope for a muse over the Bay.

Sometimes I watch the bridge as I write, but mostly I look up occasionally and light on Mexico, close enough to touch if I were Stretch Armstrong, visible in peaks and haze. I’m high up and the mountains are high up; we meet in the altitude. The water view is okay–more shipping cranes and trucking than beckon–but I look off at the mountains and dream of someday speaking Spanish. Rumor has it Tijuana is awful, but I wouldn’t know; I don’t have a passport.

Maybe this year.