Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Alone Time

This is alone time. It might not seem like it to you. It’s crowded. It’s loud.
The table across from me are a bunch of overweight guys with glasses talking about being great fighters and women. A very few couples, I don’t think this is a date kind of place. I’m sitting in a corner, typing away, sipping something local and watching.
It’s alone time. No one knows me, no one has any reason to watch me. Typing on a laptop is unusual but non-threatening. To the few who notice at all, I’m a nondescript guy in a corner, typing. Probably some kind of struggling attorney, maybe a journalist. Those that peg the accent will take me as a tourist at first, but other things won’t add up and, again, the very few that think of me at all will assume I’m here on business.
I’m an extreme introvert. Which doesn’t mean I don’t like people. Not saying I do like people, just saying introvert means something else.
It means I find them exhausting.
But not this. Right here, right now, I am separate and watching, even in a crowd. I’m clocking potential threats and potential prey, noting patterns of movement and interaction. It’s the most restful time I’ve had in two weeks.
I love what I do, don’t get me wrong. If I didn’t love teaching, I would do something else. But three weeks, constantly on stage, constantly a center of attention... it drains me.
And so I steal an hour, maybe ninety minutes to be gloriously alone in a crowd. It will refresh me, and I will hit the stage again tomorrow with renewed vigor, fresh.

Written a few days ago, in a pub. Very refreshing and the last of the class is winding down. It's been intense, good, powerful. Tomorrow night, a train to Scotland. Friends and fine whisky. Then a long plane ride and a few hours in the arms of my one true love.


Unknown said...

A quote, sort of, "The attendant duties of friendship can be exhausting..." You seem to have found a balance in there somewhere.

Old Bull Lee said...

"It means I find them exhausting."

Getting people to understand this, the definition of introversion, has been one of the big struggles of my life. It seems like this definition isn't well-known, and that causes a lot of misunderstanding and strained relations.

Alexandra said...

I hear you.

The best thing about being separate in a crowd for me? Nobody wants anything from you ;-)

Charles James said...

I found this book helpful, "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain."

Old Bull Lee said...

I'm going to hit up my library for that - thanks, Charles.

Anonymous said...

Can you recommend a book about learning social norms. I have read Conflict communication and Talking Them Through....which by the way can be used at most meetings where people are stresses out and not thinking clearly. But I need a little more help please. I just don't get the social ques. It is so bad I asked some one if they thought I had Asbergers. They paused for a really long time and said no because I get humor. Not having these skills is pretty painful and worse yet inefficient. I N T J females have a hard time being perceived as anything but blood thirsty so I am looking for some way to learn enough skills to blend more. Thank you in advance.

Rory said...

This is the one we got for our son-- and there seem to be some other good recommendations on the page:

I also liked Desmond Morris' Manwatching.

I have a pretty firm belief that, with dedication and intelligence, Asperger's/INTJs/whatever can consciously become better at reading and manipulating this stuff than "normal" people.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the introvert. Old Bull is right — it's so hard to get people to understand that definition.

I have a job where I'm "on" a lot. I play music live. I love both, but the constant contact wears me out. I find solace either completely alone in the woods or alone in a crowd. Have to have it to recharge.

People don't realize that many performers, artists, teachers are introverts.

Jim Cornelius