When I was recruited to go to boarding school, I was told I was super smart and just amazing. I suppose I was. Perhaps for my context. Once at boarding school, I realized there were a lot of smart people out there. I also realized that people did weird things to make sure they got straight As. I got paid in dollars and pizza to help my fellow peers stay awake all night so that they could study. They were afraid of even getting an A-.
As a result of these odd studying behaviors, I felt like I was in bizarro land. Appropriately enough I decided to take physics. I had never ever gone near that topic at that point in my life. I am not too sure I even knew what it really entailed. I showed up to the first class and I was the only girl and the only person of color. I sat there quietly as everything seemed to start going in slow-motion. It was as if I was the opposite of the Flash. I couldn’t get my head to gear up. Nothing made sense. I looked around at the eager faces about me. Internally I shook my head and I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Four days later I quit that class and went into chemistry which was way more my speed. I thoroughly enjoyed making random concoctions.
Fast forward a couple of decades and here I am a mega science fiction fan. Half of all television shows I watch are in that genre. And I can, more or less, follow the science fiction “science” logic. Of course, half of it is made up entirely but that does not matter. As a Hispanic female I am a bit of a rarity in terms of science fiction fans. When I come across similar others I rejoice. Growing up in the South Bronx, barely anyone I knew had ever seen Star Wars, for example. What I have come to find is that there are many others like me that find comfort in science fiction -an alternate universe where being the odd one out is ok and actually the norm. I wish I had discovered since fiction earlier in life.
I came to appreciate the genre when I was in graduate school working on my dissertation. Considering how odd, at times mean-spirited and competitive graduate school is, it is no wonder people would turn to science fiction for a bit of escapism. In a world where the geeks rule, why wouldn’t a stressed out geek -even if Hispanic- turn to such a glorious world? Now that I work in the non-profit sector where things are even weirder, finding fellow science fiction geeks is a fun endeavor I take on at conference and cocktail parties. While listening to the talking, walking egos one can just imagine a remote control to fast forward through the situation. Or one can imagine flashing about the crowded room filling up people’s wine glasses so that they become more tolerable. Or one can imagine putting on an invisibility cloak of some sorts listening in to people’s backstabbing talk.
Hmm, I think it is time I went back to physics class so that I can make the workplace a wee bit more tolerable!