The Cost of Extroversion.

140604 Downtown Inside Out

“Hey…did you know The Redmont Hotel is still open? I mean, who knew, right?”

I groggily recounted this extraordinarily urgent information to Chris at 6:15am Saturday morning. I had not slept all night, and was entrapped in a heavy delirium that later made it impossible to walk in a straight line.

“I mean, I figured that place had been closed for years. Decades even. You never hear anyone say they stayed there! I mean, have you? But Jamie and I Googled it at lunch a couple of weeks ago and it’s still open!! Isn’t that fascinating?”

“Okay…”

“We should really go there sometime. I mean, we should know what it’s like, right? It’s like…a historical marker or something.”

“Umm….What all did you take to try and help you sleep? And at what time?”

I recounted the list of things I took, all within legal and somewhat recommended limits.

“Are you going to be okay today?”

“I hope so! I should get up and run since I can’t sleep!”

This took place between Friday’s Artwalk and Saturday’s Artwalk.

As Chris was leaving for the football game, I tried to set his mind at ease.

“I think I figured it out around 3am. There’s this part of my brain – like a real, physical lobe or something – that I have to use to talk to lots of people. But if it gets activated, it can’t shut down. Like…ever. Or at least for a lot of hours.”

“Please be careful today.”

Despite my lack of mental clarity at the time, I actually think I was right.

I’m an introvert. I recharge by being alone. I like people, but prefer them in small doses. Just like four ibuprofen is the outer limit of how many one should take at once, four people is the outer limit of the number of humans I can relate with at once.

However, when I need to, I can Transformer-Style morph into an extrovert. If I find myself in an extended situation of extreme extroversion, as I was at ArtWalk where I talked to hundreds of people for six hours straight two days in a row, my brain is able to compensate and allow me to become a temporary extrovert.

However. Once that switch is flipped, I become immediately and intensely aware that I can forget about sleeping. Because my brain will refuse to shut off, no matter how many magically delicious melatonin gummies I chew.

It’s not even that I’m thinking – it’s almost as if I can feel my entire brain buzzing. It plays songs on repeat. It has imaginary conversations that make no sense. It will play iPhone games – all in my head. I cannot escape from my brain, and it holds me hostage with no excuse.

The ability to switch back and forth, according to the aforementioned friend Jamie (who is an Extrovertedness Evangelist), is called being an Ambivert. An Ambivert is someone who has both an introvert and an extrovert side, like having a multiple personality disorder without the loss of memory.

And apparently Extrovert Me is an acute insomniac.

I believe this is because I don’t let her wake up very often, and so when I do tiptoe up to her bedroom door and knock softly, asking her to come out and take over for a while so that Introvert Me doesn’t curl up in the fetal position at the thought of talking to hundreds of strangers, she is like “HECK YEAAAASSSS!!! Do you KNOW how long I’ve been locked in this room? It’s been like two years!! PAAAAAAARTYYYYYY!!!”

(For those of you properly educated in the subject of My Little Pony, imagine Pinkie Pie after having found herself locked in a dungeon for twenty-four months. Now picture her delighted, screaming face pointed at the sky. That’s Extrovert Me.)

And then it takes ten bouncers in my head to shove her back into her cell and lock the door.

BUT.

There’s only one thing worse than not sleeping because of Extrovert Me bouncing off the sides of my brain.

It’s if Introvert Me returns too quickly.

Because then she keeps me up all night also…but in complete and utter horror…recounting every conversation Extrovert Me had with every single person I saw, conjuring up ways that I probably offended half of them, confused half of them, and looked like an idiot to all of them.

Because that’s what introverts do.

Partying all night like an extrovert is always preferred.

So. How does your brain work?


Editor’s Note: That very Saturday, Jamie came to see me at Artwalk and said, “By the way – did you hear that The Redmont closed?” My efforts to confirm this rumor have been unsolidified, but seem to point in that direction. So I sure am relieved that I was able to convey that timely information to Chris at 6:15 that morning.
Updated: The Redmont is undergoing a renovation and will be reopened as a Hay Creek Hotel. Thanks to Katherine for the tip.

A Public Service Announcement, for Parents.

I have been up front and honest with you many times about all of the things I forget to do, put off doing, or downright neglect when it comes to my role as a mother.

I’m not the most thorough, organized, on-top-of-it person out there, and my parenting is no exception. It often looks as messy as my office closet, and I hope that one day my children can forgive me for my grievous sins against them. By my practice of exposing of my shortcomings here, I also hope that perhaps I can help one of you remember something you might need to take care of.

Which is what brings us to today’s PSA. Quite accidentally, I discovered a giant, moon-sized hole in my parenting.

One of my children – I won’t say which to protect their identity (let’s pretend I have twelve children for the day) – has had a problem for quite some time. A rather embarrassing problem – one that Chris and I couldn’t seem to get this child to stop doing.

There was an issue of constant fidgeting and picking at a certain item of underclothing.

After weeks of reminding – nay even nagging this child to please refrain from this activity, said child looked me in the eye with a kernel of wisdom beyond their years and said, “I think it’s because they feel so tight all the time. Could they all be too small for me?”

My eyes widened, stunned by the logic and insight pouring from such a tiny mouth.

I had never bought this child any new underwear. Since this child was potty-trained many years ago, they had been slowly growing out of their provided underclothes, just as a tree root slowly grows through a sidewalk.

This. THIS is the kind of sub-par crappy parenting that I bring to the table.

Guilt agitated my soul like a washing machine set on stain-removal. And I immediately set out to Target to correct my grievous sins.

But which underwear should I buy? I hadn’t bought any children’s underwear in this particular gender in many years. Which were most comfortable? Which would provide greatest ease in wear? Which would abolish wedgies?

So I bought them all.

Because a guilty conscience carries a big checkbook.

A guilty conscience also needs a safe place to seek reassurance, so I texted my friend Katherine and confessed my Sins of Motherhood. Her response was triple antibiotic on my wounded soul.

Oh that? Yes. It only cost us four separate co-pays and a visit to Children’s Hospital South for a GI scan to rule out colon cancer. Sorry – I thought ALL families did that before they bought their children new underwear.

Everyone needs a friend like Katherine.

I pursued her on this issue of negligence. Upon which of your four children did you commit this omission?

[Kid X] got the four visits and GI scan, but we also made a doctor’s visit for [Kid Y] as well.

If Katherine can make this mistake twice, then I can make it once. Right?

I came home from Target with a fresh spring in my step and presented my wise, neglected child with an armload of underthings and explained that if said child would track the efficacy of the different types, I would make sure to buy more in the best variation of underthings to properly ensure that comfort could finally be had – something denied to that child for far too long.

I then explained the meaning and importance of the concept of Unbiased Scientific Analysis. Because the thing was, some of the items of clothing in question had favorite cartoon characters on them – but this fact should not afford them a greater review than a pair that was, say, a solid color. Scientists must not be driven by the wind. Or by Elsa, Queen of the Wind.

The child looked at me with those same serious, wide eyes, agreeing to the importance of the task at hand.

“But how will I remember which were best? How will I keep up with such important information?”

“Don’t worry, dear child. I will make you a chart.”

And I did.

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Again showing my egregious negligence, I did not take time to find a ruler for a straightline, nor even did I simply draw slowly enough to have consistent lines. But I am what I am. And thankfully, the child was pleased with the chart and excited to get to work on the research project.

(Although the child was a bit critical of the fact that some of my questions were rather redundant.)

The child filled out the chart with the care of a Ph.D. candidate, even caring enough to count the number of wedgies created by each variety in a 24 hour time period.

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I wish the first line wasn’t filled out in pencil so that you could see the reasoning behind the sad rating of 1 – “I got up in the middle of the night to change” – yes, they were that bad. But this vital piece of data is why it was worthy of its own chart.

But most importantly, all embarrassing habits ceased immediately upon the reception of these gifts.

Dearest friends, this is your wake-up call. Buy your children new underwear once in a while.

A Triad of Short Stories.

Thank You: Private Eye.

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I received a thank you note in the mail last week.

It was addressed to “Mrs. Callahan” and was signed “Mrs. [insert last name I’d never heard before here.]”

It was a rather generically written thank you card for a wedding gift that I did not remember giving. In fact, I recalled very few wedding presents I’d bought in the past year – we’ve journeyed past that state of being to baby presents. Which means that the only stage of life left is funeral flowers.

But this note. This puzzling note. I found it odd that she signed her name with no first name, indicating that she wasn’t sure who I was and she wasn’t sure that I was sure who she was.

Which would hint at the conclusion that I knew the groom, not the bride, but I knew no one of that name.

My first assumption was that she got a wedding gift from another Mrs. Callahan that she didn’t know, but still felt compelled to write a thank you note, so she looked up Callahan, threw a dart at my name, and sent me the thanks.

It made sense to me that I was never the intended recipient, as I didn’t believe I’d given the gift. But….I’m not listed in any directories. So I should never be The Default Mrs. Callahan.

Perhaps her wedding was so long ago that I had already forgotten her. But that sounds more like something someone in the Funeral Flowers stage of life would do.

The idea of me resting on my laurels with such a lack of closure was impossible.

So I began my usual internet stalking.

First, the return address on the outside of the envelope – searching that gave me the groom’s full name – I’d never heard of him.

Second. Facebook. He had no Facebook account. Not very helpful for stalkers, but not a bad plan for life.

Third. I searched for his marriage license in a vain attempt to locate the Bride’s first name. Couldn’t find it. Unusual….maybe they got married in the Bahamas.

Fourth. Broad Google Searches with a variety of terms. I gathered a bit more information on him and his relatives from the 1700s, but nothing helpful.

Fifth. LinkedIn. I completely ignore my LinkedIn account but it can be an extraordinarily helpful stalking tool.

He was there! And his profile picture showed him lovingly snuggled up to his new wife.

I enlarged the photo. Studied it. She looked slightly familiar. I had a hunch of someone she might be – who was someone to which I could have sent a wedding present.

I Googled his full name with her potential first name.

BINGO.

She was, indeed, someone I knew. And so I was, indeed, the present giver.

And it only took an hour of searching to accept it.

 

 

Hair Do You Like Me Now

It all started with Pillow Talk.

Doesn’t everything?

”Hey, dear. How do you think I’d look with black hair? Exceptionally pale, modern and edgy, glamorous, or freaky goth?”

“Um…I don’t know?”

“Well what do you THINK…? Because black hair does vastly different things to different people.”

“Seriously. I have no idea. Surely there’s an app for that.”

“Maybe I should wait until summer when I have a tan…”

Then, the next day, I saw that one of you ladies, Fi, had posted about the very app I needed:The ModiFace Hair Color App.

Yes, this was what my life lacked!

I started with this picture….

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And gave it a whirl.

I actually liked myself with virtual black hair – no trace of goth…possibly a tiny bit glamorous.

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The other black option seemed to give me white streaks. Which is fair.

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Then I moved on.

Let’s try red! My hair will NEVER hold a titch* of red hair color. So I might as well have it while I can.

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Okay. Maybe softer.

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Not bad…Not bad.

I was on a roll. Why not go blond while I’m at it?

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Or not. Wow.

Definitely not.

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But PINK. I’ve always wanted Pink! Pink I could do.

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Maybe just a little more…

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YES. I was made for pink.

I put them all in a grid and sent them to Chris – since he wasn’t helpful without pictures, maybe he could be helpful WITH pictures.

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Then again, still not helpful.

* Titch is a word that Ali made up but continually insists is a real word that she heard on television. She uses it often and awesomely. Usage examples:

“I don’t have a titch of candy left!!”

“I could use just a titch more apple juice, please.”

“Noah!! Scoot over a titch!!”

I expect you all to be using titch by week end.

 

Moist of my Own.

Remember Moist, Birmingham’s mysterious and disgustingly named graffiti artist?

Well guess what.

He has an Etsy shop* now. Isn’t that just adorable?

…Because Etsy was just getting too full of smock and needed someone selling graffiti prints and…Bloody Razor Vial Necklaces??

Okay that’s just disgusting, Moist.

But still.

His lettering is fabulous. And I needed a memento from my thrilling interview opportunity. So I ordered my very own Moist Placard.

When my package arrived, I excitedly looked at the return address – after all, I don’t know Moist’s real name, even after stalking him a bit – just for my own curiosity.

I liked his choice.

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And I liked his packaging style,

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The placard was wrapped in what appeared to be vintage Birmingham paperwork, and my invoice was hand-printed on an old “Material Requisitions” form. He also included a few Moist Tags….I haven’t quite decided what to do with those yet but I should definitely wear one as my nametag at the next Homeschool Moms meeting.

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I opened up my placard, which was signed on the back (and pre-drilled for hanging)…

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And then turned it over to see my very own bit of Moist.

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It was the most fabulous moist thing I’d ever held in my hands.

The entire package was Birmingham perfection.

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And, naturally, I hung it in my bathroom.

Moist Placard

Because where else are you going to hang a sign that says Moist?

* No representation is made that the content of his Etsy Shop is or will be G-Rated at any or all time periods. Browse at your own risk.