General Chat and Poodle Skirts

This is a tale of long ago … and then … even longer ago. What got me thinking about these tales of ago was Quiet: The Power of Introverts – By Susan Cain. I just finished it. That book should be required reading for management and anyone who deals with children. Being an introvert, most of it wasn’t new to me except for one thing. I have ALWAYS wondered what’s wrong with me. I often wondered if I got a handbook of psychological disorders would I find a section on overabundance of empathy.

I’ve got so much of this shit it’s ridiculous. And it’s not only with humans, oh no, I empathize the hell out of animals too.  I’ve always kinda envied people who park in no parking zones, drive on the shoulders, walk in the street when there’s a sidewalk. I would just once love to be able to walk the dogs, willy-nilly with no blue poop bags at the ready. But I can’t. It’s not because I’m a good person, it’s just because I can’t stop worrying about the person who’ll be upset when they get dog poop all over their shoes. This is ridiculous. I DON’T EVEN KNOW THAT PERSON!

It is some small comfort to at least know why I’m like this now. But anyway, stories of ago. The first time this kind of behavior reared its ugly head I was in third grade, about seven or eight. Being an introvert I usually could only manage one very best friend at a time. My best friend had severe sight problems, being a kid I didn’t inquire but I knew they were really, really bad. Unfortunately this meant she wore these glasses that magnified the hell out of her eyes and bad eyesight wasn’t the only problem; they twirled around uncontrollably all the time, not in sync either. It was something you had to get used to.

So third grade. There was a tough kid in third grade. We were all scared of him. His name was KayOH. It was probably his initials but geez, a third grader with a rapper’s name? We were all scared shitless of this guy. So one day when my friend happened to look up just at the moment old K.O. was looking her way, he saw her eyes. You can imagine the rest. This is the first time (luckily it only occurs every decade or so) that I went completely bat shit crazy and demanded an apology for my friend from rapper K.O.; I was really not in my right mind.

What ensued was me getting the crap beat out of me for having the audacity to EVEN ADDRESS K.O. directly and not contact him through one of his lackeys. I have this vague memory of wondering when someone would break up the fight, yes, calling it a fight is being awfully kind to me, I know. It was really him just beating me up, with me flailing around wondering where the grownup was.

Afterwards we were sent to the Principal’s Office and I can remember thinking my life was over. I would be branded a criminal from here on out. So yeah, that’s the first time I realized this empathy crap could get me in a lot of trouble. To make me feel better about the whole thing these many years later, I’ve visually reenacted this whole thing with me and my best friend garbed in poodle skirts. We didn’t have poodle skirts, but what’s the point of writing all this yourself if you can’t change certain things to suit you. So there. Poodle skirts. I probably could’ve taken K.O. had I been dressed in a poodle skirt. The whole outcome could have been different.

So anyway, that was my first indication that I had a problem. It hasn’t gone away but hopefully I handle things a tiny bit better now. We’ll move in time to just a few years ago. The beautiful, and at the time dangerous, Isle of Quel’Danas. There was a daily called The Air Strikes Must Continue and depending on how many people were doing it, it was sometimes hard to complete in one pass.

I was busy killing someone or other and heard someone joyfully call out over general that they had managed to complete the quest in one pass, finally. They were so happy.  Their enthusiasm made me happy. Everything was just happy, happy, joy, joy, until some jackass yells in general, “Big freakin’ deal, anyone can do that, I did it the first time. Big deal, fail noob.” Or words to that effect.

Ah oh. Oh no. I’m getting angry. I’m feeling empathy for enthusiast person. DON’T DO IT! DON’T YOU DARE TALK IN GENERAL! Introverts don’t talk in general chat, they only whisper occasionally. This won’t end well … oh shit.

“Congratulations! I think I’ve only managed to do that once!”

Enthusiastic person replied, “Thank you, but everyone doesn’t feel that way.”

“What do you mean, I don’t hear anything.”

Although in reality jerkwad was continuing to harass enthusiastic person.

“It must just be the wind in the leaves you hear. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

Yes, I’ve learned through the years the worst thing you can do to a troll is ignore them.

But a wondrous thing happened. Slowly at first, but then more and more, a chorus of LOLs and congratulations rang out over general. MY PEOPLE ARE HERE! THE INTROVERTS SPEAK! BEHOLD THEIR POWER!

Yeah, really, I felt like Braveheart or something. I had led my people out of silence in support of enthusiastic person! The light had triumphed!

But then it hit me. OMG! OMG! You stupid, you talked in general. Geez, logout! LOGOUT!!!! OMG! I feel faint. Yeah, I had to logout, I think I was getting the vapors or something. I had to barricade myself in a room with no phone and just read quietly for a while to recover.

But my point was, we’re out there, being really, really, quiet but we’re there. And if you ever really need us, we might even speak in general. Could happen.

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16 Responses to “General Chat and Poodle Skirts”

  1. I love this post more than I can say. I am honored to be your friend.

    It is bookmarked.

    And rest assured, quiet one, I have the quiet ones’ backs, too. Always.

    • I figured you did Matty, I hope there are a lot of you! I had to sit in the “slow” group until my mother put the fear of God in them!

      Mother is a strange combination of extrovert but shy, but the “slow” group was enough to get her over the shy part!

  2. Yeah, it’s hard to speak out…but we have to sometimes, cos we have to live with ourselves. And don’t ever feel bad about being in the “slow” group: for starters, the overseers that put you there were the “slow” ones – they could not see you at all, all they saw was the cloak of silence around you. They put me there for a while, too. Funny thing, a couple years later they put me in the “gifted” program…but imo, the kids in both groups were pretty much the same, the difference was in the eyes of the overseers.

  3. Ah Ancient. No wonder we all love you so much! You’re our hero who comes when we need. You’re not always there like a guardian angel yabbering in our ear, you’re our voice from the nether speaking to encourage us and defend us. And by god you can make us laugh when you do it.

    • Thank you Navi! And you’re my cheery voice! But your voice is moving around, it used to sound like it was coming from below and now it’s moved and seems to be coming from across the Atlantic!

  4. They’ll never take our freedom!

  5. I desperately want a skirt with a poodle on it now :(

    Reading through your post made me think of this poem.

    “We are shelves, we are
    Tables, we are meek,
    We are edible,

    Nudgers and shovers
    In spite of ourselves.
    Our kind multiplies:

    We shall by morning
    Inherit the earth.
    Our foot’s in the door.”

    Sylvia Plath. (from Mushrooms).

    The Introverts are rising and we have a plan!

    I’d take an introvert who speaks up at the right time and for the right reasons over an extrovert any day. Plus as Navimie says:

    “You’re our hero who comes when we need.”

    and who doesn’t want a hero in a poodle skirt?

    I was put in the slow group too, by the time I was six I’d been to five different schools and each one had a different method of teaching reading, so totally confused I just gave up. Not to mention the fact that I’d been exposed to three different languages by that point but didn’t realise they weren’t all the same one. Now when I’m really tired I still swap languages half way through a sentence.

    My worst school memory though was when I was about seven (different school, no longer in the “slow group”. We were supposed to draw what we wanted for Christmas and I didn’t want anything. I was spoilt rotten in terms of material things, coming from a massive family (and being the only girl of my generation amidst a sea of boys) so didn’t have a Christmas list and refused to make something up because lying is bad!. Although if I’d known of the existence of “poodle skirts” this story would have a completely different ending. I had to stand in the corner all afternoon because I was being “obtuse”. Not a great lesson to teach kids. I was rather glad when I got to move schools again :p

    • Oh! Thanks for the poem, I love that!

      I know! I like to go to Google Images and just browse the poodle skirts!

      I hear you on the changing schools, from eleven on it was one school after another, luckily although all over the world they were all in English. Problems arose on returning to the States as American schools were not impressed by my extensive knowledge of British history and total lack of American, a Civil War? What?

      Oh, it’s amazing how we manage to muddle through the stuff some grownups put us through as kids, punished for not lying, shame. I remember when I realized I was now a grownup and thought OMG so no ones really in charge!!!

  6. Love, love, love this post. I’m a lurker (dare I say an introvert?) so I rarely leave comments on blogs but I had to tell you never has that image of Braveheart been more brilliantly used. Oh I can’t stop giggling.

    • Hi Sheen, oh, me too. I still stalk a blog for a while before I’m sure it’s safe to comment, lol!

      I’m absolutely sure Mel would approve of the use of his Braveheart picture, and thank you!

  7. I love this post! I have been an introvert most of my life (I remember not being so bad before the age of 9 or 10). As a result I was bullied quite badly until I was 14. But the worst bit was when I was sent to special classes at school to ‘learn how to make friends’. It was totally humiliating.

    I avoid talking in trade and general chat too, but I do sometimes lose my temper and talk, then feel terribly silly.

    How the hell I ever ended up as a bar maid I’ll never know…

    • Hi Morrigu! Oh no, and the worst thing is that most of these helpful special classes for us introverts are handled by extroverts who haven’t got a clue about how we tick.

      But I think you probably make a great bar maid, introverts watch and listen so they are usually more aware of what’s going on and probably what people need. I know what you mean though, I can’t figure out why I DON’T have a fear of public speaking!

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