Last week, Wil and I went on the annual JoCoCruiseCrazy. This was the fourth cruise put together by Jonathan Coulton, a singer/songwriter/musician of beautifully nerdy songs. It is truly like going to adult nerd camp.
The first year, no one knew what to expect. If you’ve ever been to a Wootstock show that Wil, Paul and Storm, and Adam Savage put on, it’s a lot like that but spread out over each evening of the cruise with some incredibly talented performers. It also has a huge game room and smaller events put on by other performers and even some events put on by other passengers so it’s kind of like a convention too. It has gone over so well that the attendance has grown substantially and there’s already plans for a fifth cruise next year.
I used to say I wasn’t a nerd, that I was just nerd adjacent. I felt like I didn’t have the right to say I was a nerd because there were so many things I either didn’t understand or didn’t participate in myself, so it felt like a for reals “fake geek girl” thing. And even though I’ve heard him say it hundreds of times to other people, I never really got it until Wil said directly to me “It’s not what you love, it’s how you love it” that made me realize I was a nerd in my own way.
I was so excited to go on this cruise again that I actually packed early. (I know, WHAT.) We were going to see old friends and new, travel to tropical places, and be around a group of fun people who are seriously the most supportive, nonjudgmental group I have ever been around.
The first evening of the cruise started with a concert with Jonathan Coulton and his band. We were seated a few rows up, with a great view of everyone dancing on the floor in front of the stage. I sat there, watching everyone singing and dancing and being silly and my eyes FILLED with tears. Kids can be cruel and I bet there were plenty of people on that dance floor who were teased and taunted for liking the things they liked when they were growing up. Yet here they were, surrounded by people who not only accepted them, but loved and supported them for who they are. My tears were tears of joy at seeing them so happy.
Near the end of the week, I was on the beach talking to a couple of young women who were part of our cruise group. One said she knew about the cruise but wasn’t sure she would like it and kept wavering on whether to go. When Wil and I figured out we could actually make it this year, she said it was my comment on Twitter about how fun it is, even if you aren’t a super nerd, along with a link to booking one of the few rooms left on the cruise that encouraged her to go. She clicked on the link and booked herself on the cruise and was so happy she did because she had the best time, ever.
I totally get that cruises aren’t for everyone and sometimes the thought of being on a boat with hundreds of people can make a person feel anxious (I struggle with that part a LOT) but I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience this. I may not get all the references and I may not know all the words to all the songs, but just being with a group of people like this is an adventure I will always want to be part of.