A couple weeks ago I was sitting a Thirty White pharmacy in Springfield Minnesota counting down 15 minutes of my mortality, post COVID shot II. At 16 minutes I could leave the pharmacy and drive the 200 miles back to my home, carrying the highly coveted “Fully Vaccinated” card in my wallet.
Big deal for old Uncle Gary.
Means I can get back to doing the things I love.
- Binging Netflix
- The New York Times crossword
- Hanging out at the lake enjoying alone time
- Photographing birds
- Rearranging my stamp collection
- Studying those things I enjoy studying
- Cleaning the grout in the bathroom
If it sounds like stuff I could do in isolation, you are partially correct. In some ways, to some of my families chagrin, quarantine has been a time of muted joy for me. Forced alone time. Really the main difference in being vaccinated is one potential mortality scenario gets scratched off my name by an actuary somewhere. That and work travel will pick up again.
While I was sitting there, I overheard a young woman talking to a friend about how her life was going to be quite different once she was fully vaccinated.
“I finally get to hug people again, it’s been so hard.”
Ok I’m a bit curmudgeonly, I admit. My first thought (kept to myself because I’ve grown as a person and not longer blurt out thoughts as they enter my head) was “gross”.
Then I started thinking, when was the last time I hugged someone? Not sure to be honest. We aren’t huggers at our house. We are more “knowing glancers”.
I once worked for a guy who was a self proclaimed “hugger”. Even around the office. I don’t think we do that anymore, but I work from home now and only talk to people on Teams.
Still, I was really uncomfortable with all that hugging. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, huggers tend to assume that non-huggers have something wrong with them when we unconsciously recoil a bit when they come in hot for an embrace. I ran into this at the current job as well. A woman who like to hug came at me unannounced and I backed away, again in reflex, and all at once I I’m a bad guy and don’t like her. Totally not true.
We introverts carry a heavy burden. Extroverts assume that their behaviors are the “normal” behaviors and we intros need to learn to me more like them. See “Conflicts With My Mother, a Memoir 1975–2007”. It’s complete bullshit. And it has professional ramifications. I was once asked about people I’ve met traveling. I used to fly 75,000 miles a year. “I make it a point to talk the strangers I sit next too.” One guy bragged to me, “helps get over being introverted.” “How can you sit next to someone for hours and not talk to them.” Noise cancelling headphones for one thing.
Ok first thing please never sit next to me, we would both think each other rude and stop talking. Which I suppose meets my needs but I don’t want to offend. Much.
Second thing since when Is introversion something you need to get over? It’s not a disorder that I know off. And if it is, I want extroverts who need confirmation that everyone likes them by projecting themselves on every person they meet to be a disorder too. Sheesh, fair is fair.
At some point I relish the idea that we introverts can, well just be introverts. We don’t have to be gregarious and outgoing. Or at least when we do have to do it, we’re allowed our downtime to recharge, judgement free. I want acknowledgment that social events are not mandatory, and if I take some personal time, alone, it’s not because I hate you.
Well, not at first anyway, but keep bugging me and we’re going not have a chat. For a long time.