Introversion Returns

I woke up at 3 am today with a splitting headache.  I mean SPLITTING.  I could have cried it hurt so bad.  This has only happened a couple of times in my life, thank goodness.  I got up, took a couple of aspirin (chewable), massaged my head, drank some water and tried to go back to sleep.  Ha!  Fat chance of that.  I finally dozed off again right before when my alarm was set for 5 am, my normal rising time.  On regular days, I wake up about 5 minutes before the alarm goes off.  It’s an internal clock thing; I’ve done it all my life (one of the things I got from my father).

Today, I could not face the world at 5 am.  The headache had eased up some but I needed to sleep, so it was 7 am before I actually got out of bed.  I’m supposed to be logged in and working at 7.   I took enough time to brush my teeth and make coffee.  I didn’t even change clothes–the joys of working from home.

Trouble was, when I wake up that “late” I can never really get into the right routine.  I spent the whole morning totally discombobulated, trying to figure out how to get logged into a new account we’re working on, only to open my email and find out that I was supposed to be working on the old account.  WHY my boss refuses to use IMs to notify everyone, I will never know.

Then, about noon, my daughter shows up all in a tither about an eviction notice.  Long story short, she’s been fighting with their landlord for months over substandard living conditions (blocked sink, mold, leaking water, collapsed ceiling in the shower, etc.).  She even called Environmental Health and had them come and make a report.

So, she wanted to file an answer.  I jumped back into paralegal mode (I had done a tone of evictions from the landlord side in my other life), and banged out a pretty decent answer, and with the report and her photos, she even had exhibits!  Most defendants in evictions don’t even show up, much less file papers.

We finally got that done after much running around for signatures and making copies (Goddess bless my HP all in one!) and scanning, etc.  Then she was gone and G asked me what I thought I wanted to take to the potluck we were supposed to go to that night.

I felt the straw on my back.  “I can’t go,” I said.  I think all this summer activity and going and going and doing and doing and knowing that G’s surgery is just around the corner, and all that just fell on me all at once.  I wanted a nice quiet cave with no noise and a big sign at the entrance that said “Go Away!”

People who don’t know me well would never pick me as an introvert, but I am a solid “I” on the Myers-Briggs test.  I can do the socializing thing, but honestly, if I had to pick, I’d rather sit home with books, movies and the Internet with a nice quiet yard to go out in than be out clinking glasses somewhere in a pub.

I NEED quiet.  I CRAVE it.  I NEED solitude, the feeling of being in a room, or a house or an area of nature with no one else around.  I’m like that character in Greek mythology who got stronger every time his opponent threw him to the ground–he drew energy from Mother Gaia.

This time of year brings it out in me.  For me, it’s a very energetic time.  Other people see it as the end of summer, the harvest, end of the flowers, the dying of the year.  I see it as a gathering in, when the energy that the earth has been putting into blooming and reproducing is pulled back inside and stored, gathered and nurtured to sustain Her throughout the winter, so that there is the energy and life for the following Spring.

I was always excited to return to school as a kid.  Summers never did much for me.  I didn’t have any friends and I wasn’t particularly “outdoorsy” or athletic; mostly I ended up looking after my siblings which was NOT my cup of tea.  I found a job in a library when I was 15 just so I wouldn’t have to baby sit.  It was perfect amongst all those books!

So, there I was today, still nursing a slight headache (though better).  I just wanted to pull a Greta Garbo and be ALONE.  I was very proud of G because she went ahead to the potluck without me–taking a 20-pound box of veggies.  Not that we are joined at the hip by any means, but she is a nervous driver, and had not driven to the house where the dinner was by herself before.

So, I made myself a tomato sandwich, sliced up a cucumber and sat on the couch and ate it–all by myself except for the dog.  Even though I had to go back to work and finish my daily work quota, it was so lovely to enjoy the peace of the house for just those few minutes.  I’m so rarely alone anymore that I miss it.  Most people don’t understand that and it has nothing to do with how I feel about G or our relationship or anything.  It’s just a need I have not to be around anyone, not to be constantly aware of someone’s presence and schedule, etc.

It’s still hot here during the day, but when the breeze blows now, there is just a hint, a tiny whisper of the coolness that is just around the corner.  Even with daylight savings time, the days are getting shorter.  I am feeling the urge to cook more (I don’t cook much in the summer, too hot), and the cookbooks are calling me.

Last night, we sat in the hot tub looking up at the sky.  It was 9:30 at night, full dark and the stars were bright overhead, despite the street lights.  Suddenly, a large, pale shadow glided over us.  At first I thought it was a bat, but then I realized its flight was too direct and it was far too large.  I realized we had seen an owl, probably a great horned fellow.  Owls have some sort of configuration of the feathers on the leading edges of their wings that allows them to fly in total silence.  It was quite amazing watching him fly over.  I can honestly say I had never seen a bird fly that late at night before.

It’s that kind of moment I cherish when I am alone–the kind of thing I otherwise would not notice, being distracted by conversation or other social interaction.  Those things are fine and very fulfilling in their way, but for my spirit, I always come back to the peace and the power of solitude.

Happy Friday,



2 thoughts on “Introversion Returns

  1. I know exactly how you feel about needing the silence. I adore my family, but those rare occasions when my husband makes plans for just him and boys are some of my favorite days ever. He’ll ask me, “What are you going to do today while we’re gone?” And I blissfully say, “NOTHING!”

    And the owl? Totally cool.

  2. I’m like you, I need some solitude. Several years ago, when my daughter lived at home and we had a roommate, I worked a Saturday through Wednesday shift. That meant that I was home on Thursday and Friday. At least one of those two days (and sometimes both) was also my roommates day off. After feeling like I was never getting a moment to myself, I started taking every other Wednesday off.

    The thing of it was, I didn’t tell my daughter or roommate. I would get up at my regular work time, take a bus downtown, sit in a coffeeshop and read for an hour or so, and then go home when I knew they would be gone to work or school. Oh, the feeling of getting away with something! And all I was doing was sitting quiety in the house, either reading or doing little chores, nothing surreptitious, nothing clandestine, just some time by myself…

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