ISSUE 101

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 Do you pray for the apocalypse just to avoid talking to the bank teller? Do you examine your inner life exhaustively, wondering what other people are thinking and if they feel the way you do about mac n’ cheese? Do you take personality tests, like over and over and over, to justify the way you feel? You may be an introvert.
 The introvert’s life is secretive, like a cat that spends most of the day hiding in a cardboard box. You vacillate between a need to connect deeply and being repelled by people, like someone allergic to oxygen who must still breathe.
 Acquaintances may describe you as “a good listener,” “the thinking type,” or “maybe someone who had their tongue cut out.” They wait in anticipation for the day you will speak, hoping that, like a homeless person on acid, you will say something that gives life meaning.
 It will be something ambiguous like, “The secret is believing in the infinite nature of time,” “The essence of Eggo is humanity’s raison d’être,” or “Fuck this shit.” If you come up with something really good, you may not ever have to speak again, your place marked in history like Buddha or Vanilla Ice.
 The most telling quality of introverts is their quiet nature when placed in unfamiliar settings, like a mouse dropped in a lake who can only think about not dying. Introverts will open their mouths only when the consequences are catastrophic, like that time you refused to call the electrician. So what? There was some minor sparking. Whatever. You didn’t like those fish anyways… or the living room furniture… or your house. Basically, still a win.  
 Introverts crave deep, meaningful interactions. This means that when someone asks who your friends are, you list a bunch of dead authors who also spent their free time alone in their room. There they wrote impenetrable poetry and lengthy monologues about grass. Having spent a lot of time staring at grass, you understand completely.
 An introvert will hear the word “teamwork” and start weeping uncontrollably. Teamwork is why it’s so easy to coordinate a car insurance settlement. Teamwork is why everyone loves meetings. Teamwork is why Congress is like a bunch of pilots fighting for control of a plane about to crash into North Korea.
 Parties are not a thing for the introvert. Getting a text from a friend to go to one is like receiving a notice you must run a marathon you haven’t trained for. You must cram down chips and salsa while answering questions about your work, hobbies, and life plans, and all you can think is, I’m so close to puking over your new blouse.
 Small talk is especially difficult. When you try, it doesn’t sound right, like “I also like parking my car” or “Have you seen these recyclable cups? Talk about a quality plastic.” People then give you the look reserved for those who have overestimated their ability to do something—in your case, attempting conversation.
 The introvert’s strategy for being unprepared is to hide in the bathroom for as long as possible, until someone bangs on the door because they need to poop. Then it’s back to putting forth effort, lifting the conversational weight like a Dungeons and Dragons nerd forced to take a gym class. After, exhausted and sore, you return home and must spend the next two days in the woods, talking to birds about your feelings, hugging trees, and arguing with squirrels. I’m telling you that acorn was mine.
 Sometimes society will want to fix you. They send you to the doctor to make you more outgoing, sure that they will propose something like a motivational seminar, a conversational English class, or a Fit Bit that suggests when to talk about the weather. When they examine you, they may ask if you are a “team player,” then list your introversion as a classic disorder, along with farting in public and wearing crocs.
 The treatment for introversion, they say, is protracted, torturous, and has killed off a few Muppets—but it will make you normal and extroverted. In fact, you may be too ready to pick up a conversation and continue it far past the point of decency. Whether you want to or not, one day you will function in large groups and be interesting. One day.   
   
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