The Evolution of a Geek Mom


It was inevitable.

From the day  my mom handed my 11 year old self Piers Anthony’s On a Pale Horse and one week later Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight the fate of my eventual Geekdom was sealed. Not that I didn’t already have a strong foundation in science fiction and fantasy – I mean I’d already been exposed to Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek and had parents that played Dungeons & Dragons – but up to this point in my life, they were things that just happened around me and weren’t active interests of mine.

Discovering science fiction and fantasy in literature opened the flood gates of my mind. Escaping reality, I could lose myself in the promise of future technology or flights of fancy upon dragon wings. I found myself becoming an avid reader, voraciously devouring each new David Eddings, Robert Jordan and Anne McCaffrey volume within mere hours of acquiring each precious hardback. My dad used to joke about not getting his money’s worth at a bookstore with me. Less than a week after spending $100 at the bookstore I’d be begging to return, anxiously waiting for more.

High school years brought an emerging teenage geek, arriving home on a Saturday night well before curfew to watch the latest BBC releases with my dad. The Doctor, Lister and Rimmer from Red Dwarf and the crew of the Heart of Gold were my Saturday night dates. By college I was a nerdy freshman watching the latest Star Trek incarnation on the community television each Sunday evening.

Up to this point my geek education was not well rounded. Although competent on a typewriter, I had no interest in gaming, computers or other electronic gadgets. To be fair, we were not a family of early adopters and computer usage was not common until my high school years. My first high speed internet experience came in college. Ah, the heady days of dial up internet, eagerly waiting for that glorious “You’ve got mail!”

College introduced me to high speed internet, chat rooms, instant messaging, email and gaming. Spring break consisted of marathon Final Fantasy sessions, reclining on bean bag chairs and surviving on Coke and pizza. I still wasn’t into cutting edge technology but I was beginning to see glimpses of what the wide world of electronics could bring me.

Life after college and in my early years of parenting consisted of technological coasting. Sure I caught all the television programming I could find – Firefly, Smallville, Stargate and even the Doctor Who reboot – but non-academic life and babies are not conducive to reading, gaming and the development of new electronic skills. Work helped me to stay comfortable with computing and software. I’m a smart girl and managed to stay ahead of the general bell curve, but by no means was I a power user of anything.

Fast forward a couple of years. Now a single mom, raising two sons, it occurred to me that they will rapidly outshine me with their own knowledge of technology. Already masters of remote controls, cameras, gaming controllers and general internet usage, I knew that this Stone Age Caterpillar was going to need a metamorphosis if I’d ever be capable of truly grasping how different parenting is now compared to when I was a child.

I made a decision.

This decision finalized my descent into full out Geekdom. About a year ago I decided that I needed to actively pursue knowledge and understanding of current technology. Although competent, I was no longer satisfied with the general computer literacy I had achieved through osmosis – hey, I DO work in the software field. I knew the only way I’d be fluent and comfortable was to just do. Shedding the smug attitude I carried as a frugal gadget-free mom, I surrendered to the arrogant, and equally smug, attitude of the early adopter.

A little late to the game to be a true early adopter, I nonetheless chose to find the top of the line smartphone available to me at that time. Embracing the Android world, tech newsfeeds, reddit and pretty much anything else I could wrap my mind around, I’ve spent the past year transforming myself into a Tech Savvy Butterfly. Metamorphosis never complete, always evolving I knew that I was a true geek when I eschewed a rowdy Halloween party to spend a quiet night in, playing nerdy board games and hibernating with my other online, geeky friends.

  1. i LOVE on a pale horse!

    • Me too. It’s really the best of the series, although the Fate volume had a lot of heart. Mom handed me the book when I told her that I had trouble thinking about the infinity of death (at age 11).

  2. Now I feel old and behind the times

    • Jeff Rhine
    • November 3rd, 2011

    Welcome to the full Geekdom inner sanctum! Great post. Your early years sound eerily similar to my own cherished memories. Add in some text-based MUDs, multi-day marathons of Sonic and Master of Magic, Bard’s Tale (how awesome was this game,) frequent rose-tinted trips to Xanth and you’d be set.

    Looking forward to reading future posts.

    • Thanks Jeff! I had a few computer games like Jumpman, a DOS text based murder mystery (that I can’t remember), Mario, Tetris and later….a Star Trek game.

  3. like it

  4. Super

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