So imagine my surprise when, over a cup of herbal tea, a close friend confronted me and accused me of being an introvert. This was a new wrinkle that I had never considered. Didn’t introverts put tinfoil over their windows and talk to canned peas? Isn’t “I think you’re an introvert” a polite way of saying “you may have Asberger’s Syndrome”? There are plenty of reasons I could think of that would exempt me from being an introvert: I have friends, I like to get hugs, and I haven’t memorized any bus schedules. The many hours I spend organizing different sizes of rusty nails into peanutbutter jars is just innocent fun, surely not a symptom of introversion. What could this mean? It seemed that someone had found my Achilles’ heel.
The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I don’t like parties, or talking on the phone, or being around people for long, uninterrupted stretches, but I always took those as proof that I was sane and reasonable. I spend my free time silently asking and answering trivia questions about great moments in history, but again, that’s a perfectly benign amusement. I often catch my cat staring at me in a way that I find emotionally intrusive, but he’s a very nosy cat. I heard myself defensively rationalizing these activities. Perhaps they were expressions of an introverted personality.
The Long Winters, "Fire Island, AK":