There are people in my life who, when they keep re-appearing, cause me to ask myself why. I can only assume it’s because they have a lesson to teach me and I’ve not learned it yet. I have to assume it’s something about communication style with this individual. As Carolyn put it, “Some geeks are cute. Their social awkwardness leading to a shyness that can be endearing. Others are just off-putting.” This guy was definitely in the latter category.

He was a student in a computer science class I was TA’ing at UVa. No big deal. Fairly high concentration of those types there, right? A couple years later, he shows up working for the same company I’m working for. A little surprising, but Charlottesville’s a small town, only a couple of game companies there. Now, 10-or-so years later, I run into him at Rubio’s in El Cerrito, CA. Quite a surprise. Here are some conversation gems from while we waited in line together.

Upon learning I work at Linden Lab:

Huh. I didn’t know they were still around.

To be sure, our hype phase is over. But “still around”? We had a concurrency of over 70,000 people last weekend. We’re not just still around, we’re still the market leader, and we’re still actively trying to recruit top talent!

On the same topic, indeed, in the same breath:

Wow, kinda creepy, but I guess it pays pretty well.

Yeah, I couldn’t possibly be with the industry leading virtual world because I’d been interested in virtual worlds and communities since back when I was in college and came across my first MUD in the late ’80s. I would only work on something “creepy” like Second Life as a stone cold mercenary.

On Second Life (I think different breath, but clearly because he was on a roll):

Second Life, just in case you didn’t have a first one.

What could you possibly be trying to communicate to me with this? I guess how witty you are? Because you’re the only person who could have thought of that? It couldn’t possibly be a tired cliche funny only because of how deeply untrue it is.

And finally, once we’d ordered separately, the coup de grâce:

I’m bored. Mind if I join you guys?

Wait. What? Your scintillating and engaging life usually keeps you to rapt to want to connect with a former colleague and instructor. But it has momentarily eluded you, so you’ll deign suffer through a lunch with us?

Of course, the opposite of all of this geek-social stuff can suffer it’s own problems. Normal people can be too polite!


By all means! Pull up a chair.