Saturday, September 21, 2013

Livin' the Life

In which, after texting my partner a very exciting message about our three-year-old's most recent potty training success, I shove my phone in my pocket, crushing a forgotten goldfish cracker I stashed there earlier after pretending to eat it out of a grubby kid paw. It don't get much more glamorous than the #momlife, I tells ya.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fandom as Social Lubricant

Some of you know that I have spent the past year thinking about/observing/participating in/kinda sorta blogging about fan communities. (At some point maybe I’ll write about that here if anyone cares, although most days I am not even sure if I do…)

For me, my personal experience of fandom—with the exception of my ill-fated trip this summer to Comic-Con (another future post possibility; see previous caveat)—has been exclusively virtual. I know some other people who like what I like, but literally not one other person who identifies as a “fan” of the things I love and, uh, “study.”

Recently, however, my fannishness has come in handy in some unexpected ways. To wit:

There is an Accounting professor I am collaborating with on a couple of programs at work. He’s a…challenging personality, shall we say, and our working relationship can be difficult and tedious. He’s also British, a detail which was neither here nor there until a couple of weeks ago when he stopped by my cubicle and noticed my collection of Doctor Who fan art. He confessed his childhood love of classic Who and told me that his daughters are equally devoted to the series in its current incarnation. We talked about Steven Moffat and weeping angels and the selection of the new Doctor. (He even confessed, to my amazement, his deeply held conviction that the 12th Doctor should have been a woman.) To say it was a refreshing departure from our usual chats, which usually consist of his anti-union rants, tirades against various university bureaucratic processes, and demands for more  money from my department, would be a massive understatement. Since then, he brings up Doctor Who nearly every time we see one another. Connection: forged. Fandom FTW!

Meanwhile, the teaching side of my job has brought me into contact with a living, breathing IRL example of the Tumblr fangirls in whose communities I’ve been lurking. Some of you might have seen my tweet about the girl in the front row in the Doctor Who t-shirt on the first night of class. A media use survey revealed that she is not just a Who lover, but a Superwholockian (a member of the sisterhood of fandoms: Supernatural, Doctor Who and Sherlock). That I saw her DW t-shirt and raised her a TARDIS iPhone case + included in my syllabus a section on fan communities clued her in that I would “get” her interests. She approached me for a chat during the break in our second class, and has been permanently perched by my desk before and after class ever since. (She’s even following me on Tumblr, which is…weird, but oh well.) I’ve thus far resisted the urge to scoop her up into a jar and scream, “Let me study yoooooouuu!!” and our mutual fannishness has alleviated some of the usual interpersonal awkwardness that I feel with students at the beginning of each semester.

Fandom: better than alcohol for facilitating social interaction, with the added advantage of not having to be drunk at work. #WINNING