Thursday, January 03, 2013

I really didn't think it through; our Wil Wheaton family photo

I'm not a family portrait kind of person. Going to a photo studio, choosing a background, dressing up and sending the pic off to friends and family at holiday time, it's all too conventional for me. I'm more of a 'it's not authentic unless its spontaneous' kind of person. But these two philosophies collided this summer and I had to ponder my perspective. It took way too long for me to write it down, but here it is.

I should start by saying that it has been a really slow realisation that I am in fact a nerd and not just 'nerd adjacent.' In this case 'nerd' is being defined as a person who enjoys all things related to sci-fi, fantasy and steam punk genres of fiction. The first real epiphany was realising that the second thing I ever knit was a seven foot long Dr Who scarf. 'Nuf said, I think.

So Hubby and I went to our very first comicon this summer. We enjoyed the endless parade of costumes, when anyone dressed up can be the subject of paparazzi-style photo blitzes. Our six year old daughter was delighted by absolutely everything, including meeting a lady in a mermaid costume and having the chance to dress up as a super hero princess. Probably the highlight for Hubby and me was the talk by Wil Wheaton.

We are fond of Wil Wheaton. We are fans, I suppose, but not OMG FAN!!!!!s. We like his attitude and the outlook he espouses; be yourself, enjoy your geekitude, be happy and share that happiness. We also like that he is crazy enthusiastic about board games.

We felt that we wouldn't really have had the full comicon experience if we didn't get a photo with a famous person. So who would we choose but the guy we liked hearing the talk from, who seemed so down to earth and likable, who looked at the world much the way we did? Wil Wheaton. We signed up, paid our money and got in line.

As we were about to stand in front of the back drop next to Wil Wheaton, the organiser person in charge of the line, reminded the crowd in a stern voice not to touch Wil Wheaton, not to talk to Wil Wheaton, not to linger after the photo was taken, and to keep the line moving. Suddenly it felt daunting. Like Black Ops Swat guys might drop from the ceiling to whisk the celebrity to safety if I said "really enjoyed your talk."

Hubby and I gave him space as we stood on either side of Wil Wheaton and posed for the photo. Rebelliously, I asked him how he had been liking Montreal. He said he had not had enough time to enjoy the city this time, and smiled genially. Then it was over. We walked away and someone else stood in our place as Wil Wheaton showed a relaxed smile to the camera. I was left wondering if his face hurt.

An hour later we collected our picture. It was something I expected to put away in a safe place as an enjoyable reminder of our fun foray into nerdiness. But I was delighted and confused to see that we had in our hands a really lovely family portrait. Our daughter looks sweet. Hubby looks relaxed and happy. I don't look half bad either. In short, it is a very genuine representation of who we are, and we don't have a lot of pictures like that.

And there is Wil Wheaton standing in the middle of us like a superimposed, stalker fan, cut and paste insertion. Because how is it possible that Wil Wheaton would be in our family potrait? I wanted to hang this lovely picture of my family on the wall. But I didn't want everyone who saw it to think that I was doing that simply because it was us with OMG WIL WHEATON!! I was torn.

Hubby put it in a frame, because he doesn't share my hang ups and is perfectly serene about having Wil Wheaton in our family photo. He even hung it on the wall, in an out of the way place that wouldn't agitate my internal turmoil over people thinking I am a super geek.

So I let the picture stay there for six months. And it has finally dawned on me that I should be embracing my nerdocity. I should be proud that I have knit a Dalek, know the names of all the recurring characters on Star Trek, Next Generation, and can sing the Jayne song. My daughter joyfully pretends to eat peoples' brains and Hubby will tell you the species name of any life form that appears in the Star Wars movies. I am in good company. So having Wil Wheaton in the middle of the best (and only) family portrait we may ever have seems kind of fitting. He is kind of a champion of living out and proud, as a nerd.

I am ready to put the picture in a place of prominence.

P.S. Wil Wheaton, thanks for facilitating a really nice family photo. If you ever find yourself in Montreal, feel free to come over for supper and play a board game.