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Posts Tagged ‘introverts’

Hallowe’en.

As stated, I’m not a fan.

Not that I’ve never participated. In decades past, I’ve donned costumes and showed up as Jacob Marley, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Max Klinger, but in general, the Hallowe’en festival leaves me annoyed and out of sorts. There’s little an introvert like me enjoys less than having to sit around on tenterhooks, waiting, while strange children continually pound on the door, begging for candy and costume appreciation, while their parents provide overwatch from the shadows.

Forced social interaction with a built-in judgment factor.

O Joy Unbounded. O Rapture Unexampled. (more…)

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Pike Place MarketIt’s a rule I have: Never take food from a guy who talks to himself.

Call me crazy, call me cold and unfriendly, I don’t care. If you’re having an animated conversation with people I cannot see, I may have … reservations … about most anything you offer me.

Thus the other day when Kevin (a guy I never met before) got off the bus behind me, talking a blue streak to no one in particular (he was not on the phone) and then, as we both walked toward the car park, asked me if I wanted a free bagel, I demurred.

I mention this because Kevin then went on to tell me how he just doesn’t like people here in Seattle. We’re not as “friendly” as the people on the streets of his hometown, New York City. People here—according to Kevin—are cold, unfriendly, and not to be trusted. Leaving aside for the moment that “friendly” is not the word that immediately leaps to mind when I think of New Yorkers, this is not the first time I’ve heard Seattleites described as being as cold and unwelcoming as our weather. It’s an actual thing, and it’s called the Seattle Freeze.

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Echoes from another time.

“You’re too sensitive.”
“I was just teasing!”
“You need to come out of your shell.”
“You spend too much time in your head.”

When I was young, adults labeled me with words like “shy” and “bookish” which didn’t sound bad but I was pretty sure they weren’t compliments. I had no such confusion with the schoolyard taunts of “pussy” and “faggot.”

These were the judgments pronounced upon me. They were the phrases that defined me. They were spoken so often, I believed them. I believed that I was defective, inferior. I believed that I was somehow less. Even with all my gifts–of concentration, of perseverance, in music, as an autodidact–I still felt that there was something wrong with me because I didn’t fit in, because I rarely spoke up, because I enjoyed solitary activities, because I preferred walking in the hills to traveling with the pack.

So, when a friend recommended Susan Cain’s sociological study, Quiet, I was intrigued.

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Mahonia after rainI drive up the unfamiliar street, looking at the numbers on each house until I find the one we want. I park and we get out of the car. My internal temperature spikes–though it’s August, it isn’t hot, yet the sweat beads on my brow as I retrieve the dishes I made for the pot-luck.

Yesterday, I made quinoa tabbuleh salad and white bean hummus. I picked the cucumbers from my garden, trimmed and minced the spring onions, selected the best sprigs of parsley, mint, and coriander. I whisked the tahini and lemon juice into a cream, blending it with the bean and garlic puree, testing the flavors repeatedly until the profile of earthy/salty/tart was just where I wanted it.

I took extra time and care with each task, not to show off my skills or with the intent to impress, but simply to keep my mind occupied so it wouldn’t be thinking forward to this moment, walking up the steps of a house, preparing to enter foreign territory, about to meet new people. (more…)

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