I know a lot of geeks…
They come in a number of varieties: fandoms (Buffy, bsg, firefly, red dwarf, discworld, HP, Dr Who..) gaming (tabletop, larp, mmporpg, console, cards etc) tech (programming, codes, hardware, sound engineering) music (metal, prog, folk..) or alcohol (beer, cocktails, history of.., sale of.. etc) but they all share a unique type of dedication. They are fascinated with new trivia or information and they have an eye for detail, they tend to write/talk about their topic a LOT.
Whether it is remembering the value of a card in a set of top trumps or the episode name and number of a particular quotation these individuals are dedicated beyond my ken. Even as a classicist my ability to quote line nos. is non-existent. I am a failure when it comes to focused bands of knowledge.
Partly this comes from my massive unwillingness to commit hours of my time to repetitive hobbies but it is also related to my inability to commit certain facts to anything beyond short term memory: numbers, dates, quotes…. and, now I am old and have broadband, pretty much anything google will remember on my behalf. This lack of attention to detail and focus means I don’t follow long involved tv series and sometimes fall asleep in films. It means that in my thesis I HAVE to go back to my notes everytime I want to reference something, that every theorist and book has to be minutely accounted for in my piles of paper, bibliography and web-browser.
Weirdly this has 2 impacts on my life – firstly, I retain a mildly puzzled air of silence around most of my friends, perpetually out of my depth and a little bit unsure what I can contribute; secondly, that I am fascinated by connections – whilst I can’t quite remember who said what about such-and-such I am delighted by broad similarities or overlaps in areas like that tv programme I saw the other day and that blog article I read last week or when a book seems Ovidian and I can’t work out why..
Of course the other issue is a lack of focus can lead to procrastination from one’s thesis.