Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nerdiness on the Homefront

The most horrific thing happened last weekend. Let your mind run free imagining the worst things possible. You aren't even close. Let me explain.

Kevin and I went to a church barbeque. You may be thinking this is the worst thing you have ever heard. But it gets worse. Much, much worse. We were sitting in a group when one guy came up to me and said that he recently heard I was a software engineer. I confirm the rumor. He is also a software engineer (which I hadn't heard - you'd think it would be more common to know what our friends do for a living, but that is way beyond us.) He is actually a manager and a consultant, so he travels all over the place with his job.

Then Kara asks him where he works. And *gasp* it is for a company that makes a text editor. And *gasp* *cough* Kara has used this text editor. What's that? You aren't familiar with text editors? Here is a brief explanation of them. They are a glorified notepad. They do cool things like turn different words various colors and allow you to search through the text easily. Basically, they are really handy for the nerdy nerds but not even remotely interesting to anyone else. Engineers engage in many heated debates on which one is the best and which is the easiest to use. It should be noted that the ones that are "easiest to use" take at least a year and two college courses to learn the various keystrokes, but after that it becomes very, very easy to whip through your code. Yeah - I know you don't care. I just thought you wanted some background. But now I get it - it is boring beyond belief.

Text editors certainly aren't fodder for social activities, but here we were, talking about text edits at a friendly gathering. It is bad enough that guys like to talk shop (or discuss the specifics of how nerdy they really are) outside of work, but this is delving to a new low. Does anyone care that version 8 is coming out? Maybe there is a cult-like following to the new versions - like when Stephanie Meyer releases a new book in the Twilight series.

Luckily, it starts to rain. Kevin quickly jumps up and heads to the deck when the first few drops hit us. I start to follow him but [this heretofore unnamed] guy KEEPS TALKING to me. We chat about our nerdiness for awhile, and another engineer joins in. Later Kevin told me he felt sorry for me, but he was talking to Kim on the deck and that his conversation was much more fun than the one I was having. He didn't want to risk a rescue mission where he might get sucked in, and then there would be two social casualties instead of just one. His military training must be kicking in.

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