The Irony of Introversion in a Time of Pandemic

Photo by Engin Akyurt on

Saturday night, after taking our kids to church and nearly exploding with rage at their sullen attitudes, my husband and I decided we needed to get away from the kids for a couple hours, so we went on a date to Menard’s.

(Sidebar 1: this is a sign of the times: you need a date night, so you shop for home improvements. Date Night in a time of pandemic.)

(Sidebar 2: Why home improvements? Because at 3 a.m. a couple weeks ago, we were awakened by a terrifying crash. After fifteen minutes’ searching, we discovered that the upper closet rack and shelf had broken off the wall, disgorging all my husband’s suits, half my hanging clothes, and all the suitcases into a big pile on the closet floor.)

As we were venting about everything that had us hacked off at our kids, I had this moment where the irony of it all made me chuckle.

Because at the start of the stay-at-home orders last spring, all the jokes were about how we were entering a nirvana for introverts, and oh, those poor extroverts! And yet I know extroverts who are staying home quite comfortably, while I, a confirmed introvert–so confirmed, I go find the most remote spot on the trail to ride, because a truly successful trail ride is one in which I never see another human being for three hours–am really suffering. As in, I feel suffocated in my own house.

Because you see, I’m surrounded by people. All.The.Time. There’s always someone coming outside while I’m pulling crabgrass–bypassing Dad, who’s sitting at the kitchen table working Sudoku, mind you–to say, “Mom, where is the __?”

The 11-year-old is teasing the 13-year-old; he giggles, she yells, “You stop it!” But he doesn’t, because he’s getting a reaction.

The 15-year-old is annoyed by the 11-year-old practicing the clarinet.

The 8-year-old is making sound effects at all times, except when he’s playing One Direction at top volume.

And the chargers walking off, and the devices disappearing.

And the mess. Oh my word, the mess. And the whining about having to clean the mess.

And the following up with kids who didn’t do what they were told to do, or did half of it and quit (twice), or did a shoddy job.

This introvert has to leave home to get introvert time! (To say nothing of time to write!)

I know there are lots of you out there who are feeling the same way. Give me a “solidarity, sistah!”