I used to be into all this stuff: monsters and aliens and Del Toro movies, comic books and Lord of the Rings and the X-Files. I remember being a teenager and staying up late on Wednesday nights to watch the X-Files at 10pm, clutching my pillow tightly in case it got too frightening (I am a wuss). I even watched the disappointing X-files movies, years later, and here's the kicker: even though they sucked, I still want them to make another one.
But over the last couple of years I've lost my love of nerdy pop culture. I stopped buying comics when I realised the last Hellblazer trade paperback I bought was still unopened, in its original bag. It's not like I ever got to redeem anything at Comics Mart, anyway - I always lost that little stamp-card they issued, and then they closed down for good. (I wish I could say I had good memories of it, but how I hated going into the Serene Centre branch - it was always full of creepy guys standing around, breathing through their mouths and staring in disdain.) In time, I also came to the sad realization that Neil Gaiman is overrated, and Alan Moore is kind of a pervert. (Having said that, I'm still reading and collecting The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, though the sex is getting weirder and weirder.)
Perhaps it's because I was always used to enjoying all these things by myself. I was never part of a community, or even a group of friends who had similar interests. The circles I travel in are all just diverse enough that nothing really connects - the people I know only like anime, or Magic: The Gathering, or Batman comics, or Star Wars, and that's all. No crossovers. Plus, I never bothered to seek out people with the same inclinations. I was always too busy reading or watching stuff in my room, alone. When I used to watch the X-Files on Wednesday nights, the only other X-Files fan in school was a kid two years younger than me. We had a few awkward conversations about our favourite episodes and then it crumbled into one of those wave-and-smile acquaintanceships. No big loss.
Still, without that sense of community, it's far too easy to drift off and let go of the things you once loved. What am I into now? Work, mostly. Listening to Butch Walker songs online, shopping for that perfect black leather jacket (found it). Playing with the dog, cooking and cleaning and tending to the hundred and one chores and errands that come with being a home owner. Trying to write. I guess it's not very interesting, compared to the highs and lows of being a pop culture nerd ("Oh my god the author is in town and signing books!" or "They totally fucked up the movie version I was waiting my whole life for!")
Sometimes I'm a little bit envious of my best friend, who got into Korean pop at the advanced age of 28 (29, now). She talks about how she actually holds a position within the subbing community and how the younger girls refer to her by the Korean term for "older sister" (Nuna). They meet up occasionally for dinners and trade links and videos of their favourite boyband stars. It all sounds very much like the fan community for One Direction, which one of my students loves to bits. (Don't laugh at her - she's very much a typical teenage girl.) She told me about how the fans tweet at each other, sending reminders and alerts about upcoming concerts, single releases, performances and birthdays. They are a sisterhood dedicated to the blandly adorable human puppies of One Direction.
Then I ask myself, do I want that? It would be nice to talk about things I enjoy with other people, instead of letting the dog knock over small ornaments with his tail and pretending he's a kaiju ("Who's mommy's little monster? Who's destroying the city? Yes, you are, yes you are!") But I think I haven't much practice being enthusiastic about things with other people. I have professional mode, and I have personal life mode, and that's pretty much it. I don't have play with strangers mode. And I'm not yet convinced that the pay-off is worth the effort of interaction. So I'll probably book tickets early for the sequel to Pacific Rim when it comes out, but I won't be talking much about it afterwards... except to the dog.