My past few blogs have been about personality and sociability, and I'd like to have one more kick at the cat before I move on to other fascinating topics — like what I had for breakfast this morning or how my corns are getting along with my cowboy boots.
First, let me say that sometimes I may over-emphasize something in an attempt to make a point, and I may have done so in the last two posts. While it is true that I am more reticent than verbose, it is also true that I'm not exactly a wilting wallflower. I can actually speak, sometimes intelligently; I did make a living at teaching for three decades, so I must be somewhat competent and confident in certain group situations. Mainly, however, I simply don't have the patience to happily endure situations such as the social function that I mentioned two posts ago, and life is too short to pretend.
Having got that clarification out of the way, I'd like to recount a recent episode that demonstrates how differently Cuppa and I tend to react to life's situations.
On Friday, Cuppa and I decided to walk downtown to the local bookstore that was celebrating its first anniversary. When it's non-cycling season we try to promenade on most days: certainly when it's not raining or we're not too busy doing errands and chores. Friday was a nice day without a lot of competing activities, so we walked.
Not too far along, just past our own subdivision as a matter of fact, I was rather startled to spy a body prone on the grass next to the sidewalk. In short order I determined that he was alive and resting from the laying of sod which the rest of the crew was still busy laying. My mind was already moving on to thinking that this might make an opening for Law and Order or some such program.
Just as I was beginning to ponder the possibilities, Cuppa interrupted my reverie with a semi-scream: "There's a body on the grass." Of course, she began to sort it out in the same way that I had, only verbally. You see, being an introvert (I don't like that somewhat pejorative term, but I'll use it), I had processed it all internally. I might have gotten to the point of actually mentioning the body, but Cuppa's shriek altered the process, so we'll never know. The point is that she, being much more of an extrovert, immediately began to verbalize what she was seeing and processing.
I think introversion and extroversion are determined by how our brains function. Supposed introverts probably process their thoughts internally quite a bit prior to verbalizing them; some extroverts actually process more as they speak. I'm sure there's a long continuum between deep introversion and total extroversion, but I think the general differences exist. The point here is that some people process their thoughts longer than others. For them it's instinctive to process internally; others vocalize much more readily.
Back to the narrative: we continued our stroll to the bookstore, entered and browsed. We sat for a while over coffee and first anniversary cake. It's a small place, so there was some conversation between us and the owners and the occasional other customer. However, come time to settle accounts and depart, the owner asked me if I was always so quiet.
That took me slightly aback because it's not as though I hadn't said anything; in point of fact, I thought I had carried my fair share of the talk. But I guess that everything's relative, and, apparently, I hadn't been particularly verbose compared to others.
You see, when your tendency is to process things quite a bit before you speak, you end up not saying as much as others. I actually noticed the body before Cuppa, but she verbalized it immediately and certainly beat me to it. Because she did [verbalize], there was some good humoured exchange between her/us and both the [resting] body and his comrades. It usually works like that: the introvert tends not to participate a lot in group conversations, for the extroverts are simply quicker to speak and jump in while the introvert is still cogitating. Consequently, he tends to sit back and just listen rather than try to force his way into the conversation. Actually, he's probably often quite happy to listen to what others are saying.
I'm not going to try to bring these ruminations to any grand conclusion, but I thought that the last two posts more or less begged for a little more reflection.