Are You Wearing Spiderman Socks ??? !!!

Uber has a variety of online friends that he IM’s with or chat’s over Skype via microphone.  He was sharing with me one of his conversations this week with an online acquaintance. Uber was lamenting to him about the transfer rate of a specific MMORPG game download.  After pouring his heart out to this guy about the trials and tribulations of online gaming, he was disappointed with the response from the other side of the computer.  “Sorry, Man.  I don’t speak ‘video game’.”

It happens all the time to us.  Just when we think someone finally “gets” us and what we’re about at the Techie household, they will give one of us that look that means – – just exactly which asteroid did you ride in on??  Sigh.  It can be so discouraging to feel like the fat chick forced to guest-star on Desperate Housewives (and by fat I mean size 8, of course).  Or like the girl-turned-guy who has to go on Oprah to explain why he is the only man alive not freaking out that there is going to be a human being expelled from his body in the near future. These are people who turn heads and draw stares because of who they are.  And we empathize.

I’ve had a few folks over the years write us off just for being homeschoolers.  Now don’t get me wrong…a few homeschoolers have probably justified the stereotype over the years.  But most of us aren’t fanatical polygamous Mormon’s who close ourselves off from the world and choose to marry off our preteens to Viagra candidates.  Most of us are just parents that for some reason or other have chosen to educate our children at home because we believe it is in their best interest. 

Uber and H-T have it the toughest, though.  They are at that delightful age where even wearing the wrong socks canspiderman_socks be considered grounds for raised eyebrows and not-so-covert stares and whispers.   Fortunately for Uber, he has surrounded himself with an equally tech-obsessed group of compadres who think it is perfectly normal to talk for two hours on the phone about the possibility of a new generation of Pokemon being released.  He doesn’t usually hit the ridicule wall until he makes the mistaken attempt to strike up conversation with someone outside his circle.  That’s when he will get shanghied with some “out there” question such as who his pick for the Superbowl is, and he will answer something like “I dunno.  The Atlanta Braves seem pretty good this year.” 

H-T is pretty much oblivious to his geek status.  He lives in the world of dinosaurs, Jedi Masters, and comic book super heroes.   He only comes to the real world long enough to wolf down some food, brush his teeth, and take his vitamins.  The fact that people in the grocery store look with disdain at his new “Indiana Jones” fedora makes very little matter to him.  He is comfortable in his own skin, or as he would say, “at one with the Force.”  Unless you have news for him about the next Jurassic Park installment, he can take you or leave you.  Ridicule is lost on him.  Lucky booger.

The hard fact of life is that people aren’t always gonna get us.  We’re a little nerdy, a little left of center, a little quirky.  We probably even deserve some of the strange looks that come our way.  But I comfort myself that though we may not be conventional, there is always someone even more peculiar to help take the pressure off.  Thank goodness for the pregnant men of the world.  Long may they reign!


5 Responses

  1. Sounds pretty much like the “real world” to me! 🙂 Even going to regular school, kids are looked at funny for liking different things. I have no idea whether that makes it easier or harder though, having to deal with that constantly (being the “weird kid in school”, I mean). At least he gets a break from it at home!

    I’ve considered homeschooling but I know I don’t have the patience and we have an excellent school system here. My biggest concern is the socialisation aspect of it – making friends and all that jazz. All my friends when I was school-aged were, well, from school. Taking care of yourself on the playground, knowing when to stop teasing someone else, accepting people as they are…these are all things we (most of us) learn in school through socialisation and dealing with other people with different views and values. I’m worried that if I homeschool, the boys won’t get that exposure and they’ll grow up to be self-centered jerks or something.

    But, then I look at University of Florida Quarterback/Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and think, well, it might be possible to raise a well-rounded child through homeschooling (he is deeply religious though, so maybe that falls into your comment about the Mormon polygamists!).

  2. I won’t lie…these past few months getting to know you and other T4L people has opened my eyes about homeschooling. As an educator in the classroom (both bricks and mortar & cyber), I have some strong opinions on homeschooling. However, you’ve shown me that there are many reasons to make that choice. While I will send Builder Boy to school, I have gained a lot of respect for you and others who make the choice to homeschool. I just hope that people also acknowledge that teaching cannot be done by everyone, that people reach out for help when they are out of their league, and that there are wonderful classroom teachers out there who work hard for their students.

    I was going to email you about this exact subject-that getting to know you has changed my views on it all-but here you are writing about. Weird.

    Touching one reader at a time…Topsy-Techie. Maybe it can be your new tagline! 😉

  3. Well, we don’t get those looks from others about tech stuff (unless they’re looking at us weird because we’re NOT very techie 😉 We do get it a lot for homeschooling (for which I love the Buffy line: Homeschooling, it’s not just for religeous freaks anymore), our passion for sci-fi, and Eddie Izzard. (about that last one) I’m telling you, you’ll never see eyebrows raise faster than when watching your 12 y/o son explain to an adult acquaintance his love for a British Transvestite comedian! Yes, we are a family that lets our Freak Flag fly proudly. So keep you techie flag flying – there are others out there like you! If you type it, they will come (snort).

  4. Heather–thanks for your comment. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, else we wouldn’t need pub schools, right? As far as socialization goes, in the case of our homeschool it is more a question of too MUCH, than not enough. I’ll never forget all those ruler raps on the back of my hand during my school years, followed by the classic “This is not the time for socializing, young lady!” Whereas in public school, where your social times are limited and constrained, in our homeschool we are constantly in conversation, discussion, and contact with each other and with the outside world. No limits on socializing, whatsoever! The other cool thing is that my boys aren’t limited to a peer group of people exactly their own age. They intermingle regularly with people of ALL ages – – much more like real life beyond pub school, IMO.

    RG-Glad to educate…but I warned you that I am a terrible teacher. There’s no telling what you’ll think of h-schoolers by the time I’m finished with ya!

    FM-You design the freak homeschool flag, and I’ll buy one and raise it proudly on the front of our freaky, techie house!

  5. I’m another Mum with a child persistently decked in his Indy Fedora. That’s when he isn’t going to the supermarket in full Toga and Tunic or as a crazy pirate. I love that our homeschooled kids are allowed to indulge their creative side like that. My Fedora kid is currently spending his days learning to crack his new whip and writing Indy screen plays.

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