Over There (in the UK)

February 25, 2003 at 10 AM

My People Just Want to Be Left Alone

In Atlantic this month, by Jonathon Rauch: a defense of the introvert, also known as, “Hell is other people at breakfast.”

Growing up as an only child until age eight — when my younger sister was born — left a mark of introversion in my habit, and I must agree it is not a stain to be scrubbed away, but rather an approach to be nurtured. Although there are mornings when I would like nothing better than a cheery brunch over a steaming coffee, there are also many mornings — especially of the pedestrian, going-to-work variety — where I would rather think little and say less. The moment I arrive home from a day of toil is also a time for quiet decompression. After all, you have to listen to yourself before you can listen to others.

Still, while I’m willing to stand up for the introvert in all of us, I’ve since become a social beast at heart, and I can’t go quite as far as Mr. Rauch:

The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. … We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts’ Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say “I’m an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush.”

One can’t help feeling — assuming one isn’t such an introvert — that there’s a certain sour pessimism inherent in such an attitude.


Great article. It’s nice to know you’re not alone.

Have you seen this: ? It’s pretty funny.

craig | Feb. 26, 2003 — 12 PM

In my wife’s words, “Hell is being stuck with someone who is always talking but never has anything to say that is worth hearing.”

However, as anyone who knows me knows, I love to talk TO people (as opposed to the usual self-absorbed blabbermouths who talk AT people), and especially love to listen to people, which is why I guess i was such a good waiter/bartender…

Beerzie Boy | Feb. 27, 2003 — 3 PM

Ah, the classic bartender. Good bartenders are a rare breed here. Most bars in Montreal hire bartenders based on their looks, most often young women working for shitty wages and believe (correctly, I’m sure) that wearing revealing clothing will earn them better tips. That doesn’t preclude friendliness, but there is a marked lack of that bartender-is-listening quality which I admire.

Adding to that is that many of them speak limited English, while I speak limited French.

— Luke | Feb. 28, 2003 — 9 AM

A “sour pessimisim” ?? This man obviously isn’t an introvert! The main point made by Jonathon Rauch is that we introverts are totally misunderstood. And, in fact, we are. This writer tells us there are mornings that he loves nothing more than a cheery brunch, and that alone excludes most introverts. (A
“cheery brunch”…yech!)
Well…you can call us by any name—haughty, indifferent, misanthropic, whatever. Simple fact is that we soak up solitude like its water from a fresh mountain stream and this revives us. Our inner strength maintains us in a world where we are the minority; yet our significant contributions to society are rarely overlooked.

I know; I’m an introvert.

— Karen Lord | Jul. 10, 2004 — 7 PM

Previously: That Old New Look

Subsequently: Aesthetic Apparatus

February 2003
the Archives

In Earshot

I only really read it for Canucks coverage, but even still it’s nice that The Vancouver Sun finally redesigned its hideously awful website to look like it was designed this century.

On pizza box art

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Welcome to Obama, Japan

The Toronto Star shows where and how the seats changed in the 2008 election

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