Adventures in Nerd Land


Or, uh, the manga section at Borders.

So, after perusing my Christmas loot briefly, I decided to hop over to Borders to a. dig into the manga section, and b. grab some Torchwood spin-off “novels”… all hopefully before Borders goes completely bankrupt.

I managed to make it inside the store sans incident, and the store did not suddenly go into lockdown mode and expel customers like a giant, physically ill leviathan, so I was feeling fairly good as I zipped my way across the store to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section, in hot pursuit of the latest Torchwood books. However, as I perused the shelves, vainly searching for my desired selections, I began to feel that panicky sort of feeling one gets when it seems as if the book they want is out of stock – nonsense! Their website told me it was there! I don’t want to ask a clerk for help!

Thankfully, I finally located all three. I joyfully fell to my knees and gripped the hardcover book that stared out at me from the shelf – it was the one I wanted most, Almost Perfect! As I snatched at the other two, and stood up, grinning merrily, it suddenly dawned on me.

Holy shit, I’m a raging geek.

In my raging nerdom, I almost fell over, anime-style, before realizing that doing so would only elevate my geek factor of the moment. So I glanced around furtively, realized no one was looking, and sprinted away from the rack of sci-fi TV show spin-off books – after all, if it had been a Douglas Adams book I was seeking, I would’ve been in the all-clear, but standing within two feet of the Star Trek paperbacks was a potentially deadly endeavor.

However, I made my escape easily, and sighed in relief as the towering shelves of the manga section came into view. I happily picked up the latest copy of Afterschool Nightmare, and decided that I might as well look at what else they had on the shelves – nothing like discovering a new title! However, little did I know, many challenges awaited me…

As I leaned towards the shelf, eyeing Honey and Clover, I felt something bump against my knees. I frowned and looked down, wondering what I possibly could’ve hit… only to discover a manga orphan crouched at my feet, furiously flipping through a volume of Hunter x Hunter. I looked away from him to glance around, and saw no parent in sight. The kid continued to flip. I looked down at him again, then looked back up at the shelf… there was no way I was going to be able to reach the top shelf unless manga orphan moved, and there was no sign of him doing so. I tried clearing my throat, before remembering that ten year olds have a built-in ability to completely block out such noise. I caved and asked the kid to move.

Brat looks up quickly at me, a nasty look on his face. He grabs a few more volumes of Hunter x Hunter, eyes on me the entire time, before standing up, bumping into me, and storming off. He then plopped down in front of a display full of, oh dear irony, Loveless volumes. He continued to periodically glare at me as he read, before his father came, whereupon he dropped all the books on the floor and left with him. Fucking brat.

However, this was not nearly the best of my experience in the manga section. For, on the heels of this display, a pair of teenaged girls came tromping over, and began discussing their need to start reading Death Note. This in and of itself was not the tipping point… instead was their subsequent whining as they realized that their dear Vampire Knight had not yet released the next volume. However, this whining was cut off by a discussion of who was hotter/more desirable/whatever – Zero or Kaname – a discussion that was complete with one of them uttering ‘Kaname-sama~!!!’. I looked up to the heavens, expecting glitter and rose petals to begin swirling from above at any moment, but all that I could see was industrial light fixtures that badly needed their bulbs replaced.

I went back to searching the shelves, trying to block out their noise, and was thankfully saved by their sudden desire to go grope the Twilight books in the ‘Young Adult’ section. However, I found that the noise in the area didn’t die down completely, although it had lulled to a single sound – I glanced up over the shorter shelf I was looking at, and lo and behold, there stood a Takumi Nishijou wannabe, muttering to himself as he looked at the shelves below, black sweatshirt hood pulled tight. ‘Aww, shit’, I thought, ‘And that’s where Hayate x Blade was…’

But I figured he was fairly harmless, he wasn’t squealing or blocking the shelf, and so I decided it wouldn’t be hard to ignore him… and, as a back-up plan, I could always pick up a volume of Junjou Romantica to scare him off with. Unfortunately, five minutes later, I simply walked away, as the kid did not for a second stop muttering to himself while paging through books. Manga orphan I could remove, fangirls I could block out… but mumbling member of Future Dwellers of Mom’s Basement? Me 0, FDMB, 1.

As my purchases were rung up at the counter, and I opened my wallet, the clerk gave me a funny look, as if to say, “Sci-fi spin-off books and Japanese comic stuff? Wow, no wonder you’re in a bookstore on a Friday night!” It was all I could do to prevent myself from leaping over the counter, screaming, “DON’T JUDGE MEEEEE” as I went for his eyes.

Then I went home and read all my dorky purchases. And I was blissfully, blissfully happy.

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5 Responses to Adventures in Nerd Land

  1. Shadro says:

    Yeah, that is more or less why I hate browsing in book stores anymore. It is either I get what you described or I luck out and its empty, and then I just get looked at a lot, which is also very annoying. Not to get to sidetracked, but yeah I can admit to being one of those kids who read manga at the store, but this was in 1996/97 so like 11/12 years ago and it was great and I do wish I picked up those Guyver ones (I do believe this was before volumes and it was just different ones), not really the point though. What I suppose I am getting at, is that things have gotten so much worse after this anime boom that just kinda happened at sometime (my theories blame Final Fantasy 7, but again off topic), there were times where this wasn’t a problem, and no one would have thought it would have became like this. Then it did, and I want to punch them all in the face myself, but I put my elitist prick side down and don’t. Though the only thing worse than that is knowing people at college that are like that, that is when I really worry.

  2. Baka-Raptor says:

    The manga aisle is a great place to pick up chicks…and throw them out of the way.

  3. animemiz says:

    I encounter that a lot also whenever I am at Borders as well… but it is with a grain of salt attitude I have when I see these people. I usually know what I want to purchase if any from the bookstore, just sometimes don’t like the dog-earness of the copies I seem, so I only purchase shrink wrapped mangas.

  4. Kiro says:

    Ugh, I know what you mean. EVERY single time I go to the manga section of a store, there’s someone sitting on the floor reading. Honestly, are all these people just cheap, or what? This doesn’t seem to happen anywhere else.

    Also, I applaud your self control, if I had heard someone say, ‘Kaname-sama~’, I -think- I might’ve punched them.

  5. adaywithoutme says:

    @ Shadro – Mm, I think its more likely that franchises like Pokemon and Naruto have lead to the saturation encountered in the manga sections of bookstores.

    @ Baka-Raptor – I was actually going to say something about lightning them on fire, but then realized that could be potentially culturally insensitive… then I tried to remember why that should bother me.

    @ animemiz – I don’t usually get too flustered, because, honestly? I tended to read a lot in-store like they do when I was younger – I think a lot of it just has to do with age, and most people grow out of it – I know I did.

    @ Kiro – Believe me, it was really hard to resist the urge to do so, but I didn’t want to drop the books I was carrying.

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