Confessions of an Introvert in Pandemic Times
Most people who know me would be surprised to hear that I’m an introvert. Sure, I can be social when I have to. But honestly, social situations drain me. I recharge by coming home and crawling into a dark corner all by myself, much to my wife’s chagrin. You see, I’m an INFJ. In the world of personality assessments, that stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging. In other words — STAY AWAY.
So when COVID-19 hit last year and social gatherings started canceling left and right, I was ecstatic. No school or extracurricular activities for the kids! No soccer practice or games! No church! No meetings! No leaving my house! Hooray!
During the quarantine it was as if I’d been given permission, directed even, to avoid people. I’d always crossed the street whenever I’d see someone approaching from the opposite direction, which, I admit, might be seen as rude. But now it was expected. It was the polite thing to do.
And the masks… I loved the masks! For once I had anonymity in my own town. No more awkward conversations at the grocery store. No more mindless small talk about the weather with that person I barely know. It reminded me of when I’d dress up as an astronaut on career day in school, just so I could hide behind a motorcycle helmet with a dark visor.
Life was perfect! Pandemic notwithstanding.
But then, right around September, something changed. Suddenly I was missing going to the cafe to write. I was missing hanging out at the library. I was missing — I can’t believe I’m saying this — people. I was dying for human interaction. Oh, how I longed to sit at a bar and strike up a conversation with a stranger! Heck, I even missed meetings. Our weekly Zoom call with friends helped, but it just wasn’t the same. It was like my annual winter cabin fever, just on steroids.
Now that I’m fully vaccinated and summer is right around the corner, there’s a light at the end of this dark COVID-19 tunnel. I’m actually looking forward to weddings, graduation parties and poolside gatherings. Heck, I’d even be up for a little small talk about the weather.
Well, just a little.