The week before Memorial Day, before the island got too crazy with holiday-weekend crowds, my wife and I stayed at an inn on Nantucket. We pretty much had the island to ourselves. For an introvert that was great.
Having been there many times before, we hit up our favorite walking-tour sites. I was also prepared to do the picturesque bike ride out to Madaket, but if the temperature is below 60 degrees, I don’t bike. That’s my Brrr Rule. So more walking, dining, and – gasp! – shopping, as I tagged along with my wife. The only saving grace for that activity was the bookstores.
We stayed at an inn that’s supposed to be haunted. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a dwelling that isn’t haunted in town. Those old whaling captains don’t give up their old accommodations easily.
The innkeeper, a girl in her early 20s, was incredibly adept at making one feel welcome. I was impressed with her manner at so young an age. I’m many, many years her senior, and I am still trying to master the art of dealing with people. In my defense, I studied engineering in school, so I got off to a slow start socially.
In my second career, as a recruiter, I had to draw on people skills that had long been lying dormant. No more sitting in a corner, solving equations and designing things, for me. A whole new world opened, and it was kind of exciting, meeting new people and learning about them.
However, I’m still a natural introvert. Oddly, I don’t fear public speaking, and I can make small talk with strangers; but after a few hours, I crave the comfort of my own thoughts, or being with familiar people.
A friend and I were talking about this recently. I cited a documentary I’d seen, where certain people are buoyed by those parties with lots of glad-handing strangers. An introvert, on the other hand, might be fine with that for a while, but then will crave quiet time to recharge their social batteries.
Now, that’s me for sure, I thought.
I admire and envy people like the young innkeeper, because of her extroverted personality. That trait seems like a superpower to me. (That, and dancing).
So far in 2023, I’ve survived two weddings, where I acquitted myself fairly well as a living, breathing, social being. There are three more events on my 2023 calendar, with some Canadian in-laws, my Irish cousins, and longtime local friends — in that order.
Healthy, restorative quiet time for this introvert in Canada could be scarce, if history is any guide. But helpfully, Canadian beer has a higher alcohol content than its American counterparts.
Irish cousins will be fine, because … well … they’re my relatives.
And last, but not least, our local friends’ son is getting married on Cape Cod. We’ve known them forever, and we’ll be comfortable, even with other strangers there.
So maybe after this exciting year, I’ll finally be over my shyness.
Or hopefully not if you can believe the article in the shyness link.