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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

I’m Making a Note Here: Cruise Success!

It’s nice when other peoples’ nightmares make my life easier.

(I mean, let’s be fair. Other people are going to have nightmares. There’s nothing I can do about that. I’m not the frigging tooth fairy over here.

So if those nightmares work out to my benefit, then it’s not a complete tragedy, right? Right. Everybody agrees. Steaming right ahead.)

Here’s the thing. I went on a cruise last week. Specifically, the latest JoCoCruiseCrazy — and colloquially, a nerd cruise. Featuring Jonathan Coulton, who writes music for Portals and songs about monkeys and zombies and sea monsters. The xkcd guy. Paul and Storm. Li’l Wes Crusher. The RiffTrax / MST3K guys. Johns Hodgman and Roderick. Et amazing-people cetera.

“Even my career choice is at the intersection of science nerd and computer geek. I’m practically soaking in it.”

Now, I’m entirely fine with a Big Fat Geek Vacation. More than fine, frankly. I’m steeped in all sorts of nerdly geeky stuff. I work puzzles. I play video games. I read sci fi. Even my career choice is at the intersection of science nerd and computer geek. I’m practically soaking in it.

Besides all that, the cruise (once we caught up to it) was a blast, and if my phone ever gets its ‘land legs’ back, it’ll stop refusing to sync and I’ll show you a couple of pictures about what went on. In the meantime, there’s a conundrum to consider.

A lot of people I know are not nerds. Or at least, they don’t admit — to themselves, or to others — that they’re nerds. Coworkers, neighbors, friends and mail carriers and such. Many of them will ask about how my vacation went, and what I did, and things that happened and so on. And how I expected that to go was approximately thusly:

Non-Geek-Type Person: So where did you go on vacation?

Me: A cruise.

Non-Geek-Type Person: What kind of cruise?

Me: …various geeked-out and esoteric details they can’t relate to…

Non-Geek-Type Person: Oh. So you hung out with neeeeerds?

Me: Yup. Sure did.

This is not an especially rewarding exchange for either of us. We’re not communicating in any meaningful way, and there’s no coming together, no meeting of minds, at any level of the conversation. I did a thing that I care about and enjoy, the other person can’t fathom putting themselves through a week of it, and we part ways as foreign to each other as ever.

That’s what I expected to come back to. However.

There was another cruise sailing about the same time as ours that you may have heard about. While our trip was a triumph, the Triumph was not. Emphatically not.

And that’s a real boon for me. Because now my convos with non-geeky landlubbers are going something like this, instead:

Non-Geek-Type Person: So where did you go on vacation?

Me: A cruise.

Non-Geek-Type Person: Cruise? Were you on that boat where people peed in boxes?

Me: Nope. Different ship.

Non-Geek-Type Person: Oh. Sure would suck to have to pee in boxes.

Me: Yup. Sure would.

You see? Commiseration. Agreement. Real understanding. Because while none of these people will ever play Portal, say, or see a fancy pants parade — and I myself won’t attend a Skynyrd concert or watch the Real Whatever-Wives of Anyplace — we can still find common ground. We agree that it would suck to have to pee in boxes.

So thank you, Celebrity Triumph. I’m sincerely glad I wasn’t in you, but you’ve managed to smooth my transition back into ‘normal’ society a bit. At least until next year’s geek cruise. Any chance you have another fire or minor disaster scheduled for the third week of February next year? Thanks, yer a peach!

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