Variances, respectability, and techops

The incredible variances inherent in people never cease to amaze me, and never more so than when I trek to Atlanta. The town itself both compels and repels me: the traffic, the arts scene, the incredible southern acceptance of varied cultures, the horrid traffic, the excellent restaurants and shops, the upper-crust hauteur…and the techops folks.

To drive around Atlanta and Alpharetta is to sneer at the overwhelming population of horrendously expensive SUVs and luxury cars, while loving the gourmet grocery stores, ethnic restaurants, and arts scene that caters to the drivers of those vehicles.Ah, yes, the techops crew. "Techops," a word that was once unknown to me as well. I now know that it stands for the quite fanatical group of people who, behind the scenes, take care of the tech needs of Dragon*Con. Dragon*Con: a sci-fi/fantasy convention in downtown Atlanta, attended by somewhere over 20,000 people.

The techops folk are the blue-haired ones you don't see very often; they make the sound boards and lighting work, provide necessary equipment and setup.

They aren't, on the surface, the kind of person my family would want me to turn into. Leather and black and goth, tats and piercings, parties with alcohol and video games and raucous laughter. Most of them know that Metabolift will help get you through the weekend of Dragon*Con on a minimum amount of sleep, and can tell jokes that would burn paint off the walls.

They aren't "respectable." One of them—horror of horrors—owns a porn shop. Can you imagine the horror on the faces of my family if I mentioned that I was friends with someone that actually owned a porn shop?

Yet…Look deeper.

Sure, he owns a porn shop, but—look more closely, past the blue hair, and be realistic. Look around their house; several animals in their menagerie (3 ferrets, 7 cats, 1 enormous Newfoundland) are rescues. Brian and Suzan, also married, live on a farm out in the country and raise goats.

There are others who aren't married, who don't do animal rescues, but who are equally kind and caring. They aren't what society calls respectable—but they are, by far, kinder, more compassionate, more caring, and more accepting of the differences in other people than many—no, most— of the "respectable" people I know.

They don't look like what my mother wanted me to be when I grew up, but they do match the kind of person she actually wanted me to be. It's difficult for me to resolve. I look at the people who drive the enormous SUVs in Georgia, who openly made snide comments when the geek crew went into an upscale grocery store.

Who did she want me to be, raise me to be—the yuppie in good shoes and expensive car who sneers at other people, or the person in ratty jeans, scary hair, and scuffed sneakers who chooses to accept others for what they are? I know she'd prefer to have the looks of the first and the attitude of the second, but she might just have to take what she can get.