Stereotypes are fun. Let’s take a look at some, shall we? And I bring this up (heaven forbid I ever have a train of thought and fail to punch your ticket for the ride) because I got it into my head to deliver vegetables to a few church families.
Huh. That wasn’t much of an explanation, was it…
If you are a regular reader here (thank you), then you know I cracked out on stone fruit this week (little pun for you and an excellent visual aid to go along with the public service announcement “Friends Don’t Let Friends Blog Tired”). I then unloaded 80 pounds of fruit and as I stared at a room that I swear used to have carpet instead of boxes of fruit, I thought perhaps I should share the wealth and connect some of the fruit to the people who might like the fruit. This, however, begins a spiral…
People are busy. I have a reputation for being busy, which absolutely cracks me up — it is not at all uncommon for me not to leave the house for days. The people in my life are so busy! There are practices and vacations and I don’t know what all, but I feel genuinely uneasy reaching out and asking someone if they would like to meet up for coffee and a pile of fruit (put a pin in this bombshell piece of information — we will come back to it). It feels like casually calling up the president and asking if he wants to take a saunter through the grocery store with me… wait. That was not a good example. Alright, pick a person who is actually doing something productive and plug it into my narrative, would you? Man, I did not sleep well last night. Anyway, I feel intrusive and inconvenient just asking the question. So as I tried to connect the people with the fruit, I realized that it would be several days before we could meet up, given the aforesaid busyness, and it would cut me to the quick to think I was sharing the fruited glory only to find that I was giving away partially rotted fruit that had to be eaten within the first fifteen minutes. So I decided to be a man and just deliver the fruit.
Welcome to the next rabbit trail (I am 74.6% positive that I will get to the main point of this post before tomorrow). When I lived in Eastern Washington, I viewed everything on the West side as, basically, Seattle. I mean, if you have already driven four hours, what’s another 45 minutes? This mindset gets me in trouble now that I live in “Seattle” and I tend to spend a lot of time sitting in traffic and showing up at the wrong time because I did not count the cost, as it were. But I am trying to learn. So when I determined in my soul to deliver the fruit, it seemed I should make the most of the trip. I added vegetables, I added another family to the delivery list, I am ridiculous.
Did I mention that I left in the middle of rush hour?
In truth, though, none of this do I mind. This post is not about inconvenience, because it wasn’t inconvenient to me. I enjoy driving, the day was beautiful, the produce was abundant, and it tickled me to think that possibly I could bless someone else in some small way! THAT is what this post is about — introversion, extroversion, second-guessing and a fear of hitting small children with my old vehicle. In a word, stereotypes.
I have been failing personality tests since I was fourteen years old, and before you jump in, soothing-like, and try and tell me there is no such thing as failing a personality, allow me to stop you. It is not common, perhaps — it is absolutely possible. My husband explains my mind with one simple, pithy phrase: Option C. Would you like chicken or fish? Um… tater tots, please. My mind works in the holes, sees problems while simultaneously having zero interest in how they get solved. I have Jeremiah the prophet tendencies, which makes me super duper fun at parties. When I take personality tests, I score oddly down the middle — an extroverted introvert. My results say things like, “You either have a split personality or you are a stinking liar and you should stop doing that.”
Today, being of way less than sound mind, I have decided that must make me an expert and so here are Barbara’s Personality Stereotypes for your edification and enjoyment.
- The Extrovert. Thrives on the people. Gets emotionally anemic when alone for too long, delights in group activities and events, has difficulty being home too much. Note: this person can still be shy. Prone to underanalyzing and making generalizations without full investigation.
- The Introvert. Thrives on stepping away from the people. Gets emotionally frayed when around people for too long without respite, marvels that people do group activities without a threat or a reward involved, needs to recharge after social outings by time without external stimulus. Note: this person is not necessarily shy. Prone to overthinking social interactions/replaying conversations.
- The Insensitive Extrovert. Not only thrives on people and activities and social doings, but truly believes that everyone else does too and that if someone indicates that actually, no, they don’t, it just means they haven’t tried it enough. This person tends to believe their way of doing things is the best way and has an honest desire that all peoples and tribes be converted to the delight they feel in their busy, socially demanding way of living. In some languages, this is referred to as the “Obnoxious Extrovert”.
- The Insensitive Introvert. Believes all extroverts are Insensitive Extroverts and if this introvert keeps making that face, it will stick that way.
Disclaimers: yeah, insert all the appropriate ones here. Not true for you, what about my cousin Erma, that only happens when blah blah blah. This is my story. Write it in your blog.
The point is, regardless of my purest intentions to bless people with my impulse fruit buying, as I sat in traffic, I began to ruminate. What if I am literally the only person who thinks that a box of fruit is better than cold hard cash (obviously, since I sure seem quick to part with one in favor of the other)? What if actually these really polite people are being just that — polite? They might be rolling their eyes, cranky introvert style, over the thought of dirt laden veggies being dropped on their doorsteps, and worse, that weird tattooed lady bringing them (are we sure that is even hygienic?) probably won’t just drop them — SHE’LL TALK. And we are busy!!
The worst part is that they are right. I did talk. And because of all this awful introverted internal dialogue combined with an extroverted sense of etiquette and a genuine liking of the people I was bringing the goods to, I not only stood on the step. I physically crashed a full on family meal. I don’t just mean four people and a casserole — I mean multiple generations, tables pushed together, smoked meat and a dessert. So why, you the intelligent reader that you are, ask, did you not drop the veggies with a smile and bolt? Because they offered me a chair. I am embarrassed to admit how long I stayed and attempted to be more interesting than I by nature am (clarification: I think I am absolutely fascinating. It is just not a commonly held opinion outside of my own head). Initially, I figured that I would stay a few minutes, because I had driven a long way and I do so enjoy these folks, but then — the kids started to play. This is a fantastic thing and I hope it does not cause you angst to have to step into my brain here but… how could I get my beat-up van pulled out without crushing one to five adorable children?? And because the introvert smashes up against the extrovert in my mind, I did not actually want to admit how terrified I was of backing over small fry, because then they might ask (like my husband did two hours later), are you seriously that bad of a driver? Or worse, they would assume that I was actually fantastic at using my rear view mirrors and am simply downplaying and would tell me to go for it, the kids know to get out of the way.
People have told me this about their pets. They are not universally correct and let’s leave it there.
Here is the point (apart from holy cow batman I am tired and is it just me or are all these thoughts going in circles? Or infinity symbols? Or vaguely threatening outlines of Barney the dinosaur? As if there was any other kind…). It absolutely does not matter which stereotype we fall into. Obey. Maybe my worst nightmares about what people think of me when I show up on their doorstep with nectarines and cabbages are true — do it unto the Lord. All of it. Not a moment, a dollar, a smile, an hour is wasted when it is offered up to God, made acceptable by the perfect completed work of Jesus Christ. Be busy unto the Lord. Be still in His name.
And check your mirrors.