Am I now a geek?

The journey that was the creation of my website was an arduous one: Photoshop animation, new WYSIWYG web design software (“What You See Is What You Get,” a.k.a. the graphic designer’s approach to not learning code), new server technology, and greater ambitions that led to greater headaches. And then there was this blog, and my introduction to code — code?  WTF?  I thought I had avoided that! — and widgets and plug-ins and, and, and…

I tinkered and dug, I pulled out the books and searched the Net, and when that failed I posted to forums and hoped help was out there in the ether. It was, though sometimes with caveats (see previous posts), and now in the spirit of pay-it-forward my ever-so-grateful self has just posted on the forum a solution of her own discovery. This, however, has led to the uncomfortable question: am I now a techo-geek?

The ramifications are profound. I am an artist, a writer and a photographer, and, putting aside the evolution of both disciplines into the realm of digital, the land of tech-support is supposed to be inhabited by geeks and nerds, the kind of people who know the distinction between the two camps and actually care. There are freaks on some of these forums who have posted literally thousands of times, eager to up their status to “senior member,” “expert” or even — wait for it — “guru”; who appear to view themselves as self-appointed help lines, who grant themselves monikers like “webmaster” and “tech-king,” soaking up the affirmation and adoration the techno-peasantry dole out; and so while this is my first foray into tech-support (as opposed to tech-discussion) I fear a slippery slope.

I fear the dark side, looming just over the horizon.

I already know more about computers than most of my friends, but this is out of necessity, not choice — how long before my techno-peasant jokes are turned back on me and they label me a geek, or a nerd, or whatever other semantic marker is out there for the claiming? (I fail to see any difference and, as one friend put it, “They all squealed the same when I shoved them into a locker.”)

Will I have to give up my fashion sense? My designer shoes? I already work out of my home, sometimes spending the whole day in my bathrobe (I’m wearing it now); how long before my friends stage an intervention, threatening to cart my clothes off to charity if I don’t get a grip? Will I start declining social invitations because “LostinNY” can’t figure out how to change the font on his home page? Will I no longer be perceived as charmingly eccentric but irritatingly strange?

How long before I step over the threshold to the dark side and become just an avatar?

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