I am a scientist and a business person, I do logical, I do reasonable, I do measured. I don’t get all googly-eyed over nonsense such as sentimental movies or TV series. I don’t do romantic much, picnic at the beach – who would want all that sand in the food and the butt crack. Candle light dinner! Could somebody please turn on the light?
I don’t swoon over things, it’s unbecoming to the educated mind.
Nobody really is totally immune to swooning over something or somebody but over the years I have increasingly repressed any signs of it. I have friends, educated, intelligent, accomplished friends who carry on about this TV show or that one on Facebook as if all of that was real and part of their life. I had but thinly veiled disgust for that kind of behaviour. It felt like they were betraying their intellect, diminishing themselves by caring about a fictional character’s fate. Never, really, would this happen to me. It didn’t – until it did – and as opposed to before I decided to see where it would take me.
First Encounter with Star Trek
The story starts many years ago when my pre-teen self fell madly in love with a fictional character. He was not your usual girl crush but he was certainly worthy of my admiration and unwavering love for several months as it was no other than the great Mr. Spock of Star Trek. Man, I loved that show, I loved that Vulcan with his pointy ears and his eyebrow raise, the “fascinating” he would frequently interject. I loved all about Start Trek, except the doctor. I could never stand him but he served one useful purpose: made Spock look even better.
The length to which I went to never miss a series of the reruns I will not comment on other than saying that on the rare occasions I missed the Friday show time the weekend was worthless, done for, joy- and mirthless, the new week nothing but a long wait for Friday.
I still love Spock, in an entirely less feverish and much more restraint and logical way, of course.
Star Trek Revisited
Fast forward to the early 2000s which finds me watching Star Trek Voyager and really enjoying the show. Nothing like the original series but appealing, drawing me in with a few interesting characters.
Fast forward again to now and here I am watching Voyager with my son. Geek that he is, is enjoys the show – a lot. He commented the other day that 20 years from now, he will look back and think of the Voyager crew as old friends. I know what he means, just like Spock, Kirk and the rest are my “old friends.”
Poking A Toe Into Fandom
But then something weird happened: one evening, we were watching a specific episode that, in addition to the usual phaser fire and photon torpedos had some subtle but – in my world – very real romantic tension between the two main characters. I was trying to think back of where things ended up with the two of them and couldn’t remember. So, very tentatively, I started looking around the web to inquire. I went as far as poking my head into a forum or two and reading fan comments. Something drew me, I had to know. Why? No idea!
By now I felt weird, I mean, come on, those are fictional characters from the 24th century, who cares who sleeps with whom or not. Who cares who gets their heart broken in a scifi? Well, apparently I do, I am embarrassed to admit.
I couldn’t let go, I did not want to let go. I simply had to know and when I had read enough to realize that the two of them won’t end up as a couple I was bummed . It was unfair, they belonged together. They were made for each other, this was another big tragic love story, sort of like Casablanca or Alicia Florrick and Will Gardner in The Good Wife. I did not want to accept the “no” – as if that made any difference. I watched Youtube clips of the actress explaining why she did not want a love story. I thought it was ridiculous. I read about the producers take on it and thought they were morons. I felt betrayed by their actions to deny these characters happiness. Level-headed me got all sucked into the world of “shipping”: feeling strongly about the relationship of fictional characters.
I never really got into the whole fandom thing after maybe 15. And even then I thought it somewhat embarrassing, but now? At my age?
Fandom, My First Attempt to Add More Variety to my Life
But then: why not? Really, why not? What is the problem with a bit of crazy obsession with the love life of two fictional characters? It’s harmless entertainment, nothing else. I am not going to stalk anybody (kind of hard to do, anyways, with sci fi characters) or doing any harm to anybody. In fact, my kid enjoys our conversations and all the background about the show I know by now because of my incessant reading of Star Trek forums and books.
So, I decided to make fandom the first of my new varied activities. I, to use the military type of slang they use in the show, gave myself permission to indulge. Take an inside look at fandom. Maybe I like what I see there, maybe I don’t. Maybe I turn away from it in a few weeks bored out of my mind or maybe I’ll become the leading expert of all things Star Trek Voyager over the next few years. Maybe something else. Whatever it is, it will be a new and interesting experience. A path not travelled by me before.
I tell myself, it is all part of a big noble plan: add some variety to life, do something new. Funny, stupid, silly, embarrassing, challenging, cringe-worthy – that is all part and parcel of it. In fact, it sort of is the point.
So, I’ll (try to) boldly go where I haven’t gone before.