(I will be talking specifically about Welcome To Night Vale, but I think it applies when you’re the only one around you that loves a Thing – no matter what that thing is).
I love a Thing. A podcast called Welcome To Night Vale, which is absurd and funny and touching. Cecil Baldwin, the primary voice on the show, gives Benedict Cumberbatch a run for his money just on the pure velvet of his voice.**
I am the only local person I know who loves WTNV, and I only tangentially know one other person who does. Hell, I can’t even get the people around me to give it a try.
The fact that I am goofball, geek master, RABID about this show and I don’t know anybody else who listens is – isolating.
The beauty of the internet is that in every town there can be one person that loves a Thing and collectively the Thing can be supported and can thrive. The internet provides all of these individuals a place to talk the Thing and how amazing it is. Kudos to the internet that it also happens where age, gender, expense of one’s shoes can all be glossed over for the love of The Thing.
The beauty of WTNV is that they were smart enough to take that shit on the ROAD.
I went by myself because this isn’t the kind of thing you can bring a virgin to; you’ve got to know what is happening. I dressed cute, but felt lousy and my energy and brainspace weren’t feeling very adventurous.
I had dinner at a diner across from the theatre and was completely surrounded by WTNV shirts, conversations about the finer point, and broad discussions of geek culture. (Where does WTNV fit in? with Whovians, and Cumberbitches, but with more video game knowledge than I have). It, by coincidence was near where Dragon*Con happens and so I already had a bit of geek stride because I sort of knew where I was-ish.
The show was general admission and because I went by myself, when the 5th row single center seat was not being saved I contemplated my bladder and shimmied by a dozen people. The first time there was audience yelling, and it was my turn, it felt like I was the general direction that Cecil chose to do that bit to. Which. Was. Wonderful. Even. If. I. Was Imagining. It.
Then, toward the end, there was the other bit the audience participated in. WTNV was CLEAR that saving the surprise for the show is important to them. It wasn’t spoiled for me and I won’t spoil it for others. WTNV is precious to me, I support it with my money and time, I support it with my relentless kicky-feet in public about it trying to get the right people to JUST LISTEN DAMNIT YOU’LL LOVE IT.
I think that they might know that it is isolating to be the one person you know who love a Thing. They came out on the road so I could sit in a theatre of other folks who know the references. They asked us to do a thing, and because they are My Thing, I did it. It helped a little.
It might be Pentatonix, it might be Pomplamoose, it might be 99% Invisible with Roman Mars, it might be Nerdfighting – but whatever your Thing is – when they come within driving distance, go fight off your isolation and get your geek on with them.
** He is, maybe, starting to vocal fry a little too much right now — but since I listen to him on headphones I also kind of don’t mind.