Thursday, 16 October 2014

Nerds Incorporated! #niche #likeminded #geek

What is a nerd? To me a nerd was always the computer geek who spent days, weeks and even months slouched in front of a computer doing things that mere mortals have a snowball's chance in hell of understanding, let alone doing. Then, one day a revelation happened upon me when I realised that I am a nerd, not of the IT criteria but the science criteria. I am an extremely practical person and have always been a science sort of person since an early age. Not that I spent all of my time investigating how things worked or pulling the legs off cicadas. However, I loved all things medical and the smell of a hospital was like an intoxicating giddy excitement. When I left school the obvious career choice was one in health care and so my career in Science began. In a fledgeling pathology service, training was paramount and the technique was really the stuff of dinosaurs.  However, it was hands on science that required skill and patience. When I think about it, we just about drained the patient dry for some of the test, pregnancy tests required toads, TB diagnosis required guinea pigs and glassware reigned supreme.

These days, my occupation in the the Science department of a secondary school still involves many of the techniques I learned a lifetime ago. I still agonise over clean glassware, prepare sterile agar plates, litres of reagents and hang out with like minded people. It was in this job, that the realisation of my nerdiness descended. Our conversations revolve around the latest disease, the next eclipse, how things work, the universe and its beginnings, and the news of the various science Facebook pages dedicated to scientific trivia and breakthroughs. We all get excited at the purchase of a new telescope, jump for joy when the roller coaster we design actually works, and invariably try to achieve yet another party trick involving hydrogen and its volatility.

One of the most exciting times for me, and one when I felt my proudest, was when my very best friend, who is an interior designer and has very little Science inclination, spent ages observing the solar eclipse at the end of 2012 and the total lunar eclipse last week. I was so thrilled as he got my enthusiasm for the whole thing. Even if after the solar eclipse, he said to me that he could not see a thing. I said 'What do you mean?' His reply was 'I cannot see anything after staring at the sun for so long!' I was horrified!!!!! During the recent 'blood moon', even though we live in different cities, he and I watched the Earth and the Moon do their thing, shared photos and commentary. Would he have watched, and appreciated the eclipse if some of my nerdiness had not rubbed off? I do not think so.

I am proud to say that he is in danger of becoming as big a nerd as I am. I have offered to teach him the basics of chemistry but that is a work in progress. It does not matter if he does not quite descend to my level of nerdiness. After all it would be a tad boring if the only conversations we had, were about antimatter, the Hadron Collider, and the Big Bang Theory :) My dear friend is one of the cleverest people I know. His mind is razor sharp and he has the memory of an elephant. His bent, just happens to be a little different from mine. He is a good taste nerd and as an interior designer is fantastic. He rearranges molecules, just on a different level to what I do.

So I have come to the conclusion that we are both nerds. We are good for each other as we challenge each other every day with our difference and our similarities. We have great conversations that range from the trivial to the deep and meaningful.  We have taught each other an inordinate amount about technology and we do not do too badly considering the status of the IT Industry when I was growing up! So we continue to push the boundaries, learn new things each and every day. Most importantly, we value each other for what they really are. We are 'Nerds Incorporated' who look out for, and after, each other each and every day.

Until next time stay safe!

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