I mentioned in my more verbose Comic-Con recap how I had these W00T-worthy stories of nerd pickup attempts. I think they’re pretty awesome. And despite my wrestling with whether or not Comic-Con is deserving of its nerd convention reputation, I do believe these stories are uniquely nerdy Comic-Con. They make me smile.
I was checking out the “Steampunk GPS/Picture Viewer” by Kelly’s Heroes Provisioners. I have a huge subculture crush on steampunk culture, and a picture viewing trinket seemed like a cool idea. Price wasn’t too bad, either, so I asked the vendor if I could purchase one.
He drew out the bag of a new piece for me and pointed out that it came with a mini-CD of software that I’d need to load into my computer. Hold the phone – mini-CD? People are still using that format these days? I still have one of the very first digital cameras ever, a Sony Mavica. It cost $1,500 and recorded to mini-CD. Such a wasteful medium. It makes no sense.
By now there were a couple of other people gathering around the booth, all men of varying ages. They appeared to really like the picture viewer I was about to purchase, too. I didn’t want to get stuck buying a digital component that wouldn’t work with my computer, though, so I asked the vendor, “I have a Mac at home with a side-feeding CD slot, so that mini-CD’s not going to work. Do you know if I can download the drivers for the software somewhere else?”
Though I may have had slightly different wording when I talked to the vendor, I know for sure I said “Mac,” “side-feeding CD slot,” and “driver.” I saw the vendor’s eyes bug out when I brought up a bunch of terms he clearly had no idea about. I didn’t hold it against him, though. His thing is retrofitting modern technology to make it look all Jules Verne and antique-y. He got confused and I explained that with my computer, there’s no way to safely load the mini-CD, but I’d be willing to buy the thing if there was a place to download the software.
I was not aware I needed the public’s aid, but apparently I did. The other men in the audience further hammered these points into the vendors’ head, and I just stood quietly as he tried to think of a different solution for me.
Suddenly, a tall pale White guy with a curly brown ponytail and alien eye sunglasses snatched the digital picture viewer, bag, and manual from the vendor and started spouting off, in that uniquely haughty computer nerd way, “No, no, there’s got to be another way. See? Lemme look at the manual.” He looks through the manual, meanwhile the vendor is showing me other versions of his digital picture viewer. “Okay, see, it says here this software is PC and Mac friendly.” (Thanks for talking to me like I’m a five-year old and not a former Apple retail employee who grew up in the motherfucking Silicon Valley.) “But what you need is a driver.” (Yeah, no shit, Sherlock, wasn’t that basically my first question?)
“I’m aware of that,” I said flatly.
Alien Eyes barrels on excitedly, like he’s solved the puzzle. It’s a wonder his finger hasn’t fallen off with how forcefully he’s tapping the mini-CD. “Here, what we can do is, if you want this, just buy it, and if you give me your email address I can send you the driver when I get home.”
I can’t believe he just said that to me. At this point the vendor must have seen my disdain and incredulity. Really?? The vendor stepped in very kindly and offered to sell me the display piece which was running and clearly already fully operable. Ignoring Alien Eyes on my left, I asked to take a look at the manual for the demo, and quickly zeroed in on the compatibility specs. (It took me much less time to locate the information than it did Alien Eyes, I might add.)
“No,” I said. “This one’s really cool.” (Every piece is hand-modified and one-of-a-kind.) “I like the design of it a lot, but it’s only PC compatible.”
Alien Eyes tries to tell me again how he could just email me the magical Macintosh driver when he gets home, and I bluntly say, making no eye contact, “My boyfriend has a PC, I can figure out the workaround.”
“Oh! Well, if your boyfriend has a PC, then you’re fine, you’re golden.” He waves his hands in dismissal as if all the crowd’s collective concern was over naught. Suddenly he’s not as eager as he was before.
I pay for my picture viewer, thank the vendor, and leave.
Charge me up.
My energy was nearly tapped out and I must have walked the equivalent of 1.5 city blocks just to locate a power source to plug in my iPhone. Knowing how awful reception in a crowded convention center must be (And, newsflash, the 3G S’/any iPhone’s battery isn’t the greatest.), I had brought my power strip with me in case other friends might need to power up, too.
Finally, I spotted a spare jack, but there’s an equally tired-looking older man whose shoulder is just barely obstructing the socket. He’s not sleeping, though, and hey, if you were hoping to avoid people at Comic-Con you’s a damn fool. I ask him, in my most earnest, up-front voice possible, “I’m so sorry, but can I just plug my phone into the socket behind you?”
He was really nice and just scooted over. Neither one of us was there to make conversation. He just wanted to sit and I just wanted to get my red bars back to green.
Then the guy next to him, apparently his friend, said, “His name is Cole and he’s single.”
Did I hear that right? “What?” I said.
This time, more slowly for more pronounced enunciation, “His – name – is – Cole – and – he’s – sin-gle.”
You’ve got to be kidding me.
“O-kay.” I said, immediately staring back down at my phone. Guess I did hear him right.
I juice up my phone for a couple of minutes then quickly make plans for a Ghirardelli sundae with Meg of Girl Hack.
This is what I get for wearing makeup, heels, and no costume to Comic-Con.