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.

Short Stories From the Road.

So you drive a Prius.
You park next to me at the bank. With an empty parking space on the other side of you.
The bank has very, very spacious parking spots, too, by the way.
Yet you park so close to me that I literally (and I do mean literally literally and not figuratively literally) cannot get in my car.
You are sitting in your car.
You light up in a goofy grin when you see me TURN SIDEWAYS to desperately reach my driver’s door. You wave happily as I unsuccessfully maneuver my boobs between our mirrors.
I open my car door the full four inches that you have left available to me.
I try to squeeze my body through the hole.
It does not fit.
This. This. THIS is when you realize that you’ve caused this problem.
And that you can be the solution.
Your goofy smile turns into an apologetic spewing forth of words that I can’t hear because – windows.
You wave for me to move out of the way and, to symbolically represent your intentions, you lift up your key ring that is hanging around your neck (Really? Your neck? Who wears their keys as a necklace?)
You put the key in the ignition…while it is still hanging from your neck…and you back up.
Into yet another empty spot in the very empty parking lot.


This may be my favorite find in the history of my online shopping love affair.

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Because it brings up so many fascinating, yet burning, issues.

Do you have to fold this dress neatly and ceremoniously?
Never let it touch the ground?
Do people sing the national anthem when you walk by?
If someone is in the same room with you while wearing a State of Alabama Flag Dress, do they have to stoop down so they’re shorter than you?
To qualify for this dress, do you have to be somewhat talented at going half-staff in case of national mourning?
Can you eat French Fries while wearing this dress or would that just be too unpatriotic? “One order of Freedom Fries, please!”


Sometimes I run by something that makes me want to immediately quit running, get my degree in Sewer Management, and FIX THAT LID.

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Instead, I have a moment of silence, wondering what happened to all the OCD wastewater treatment employees.


I spotted this gorgeous black shirt while out to eat in downtown Birmingham.

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From show-stopping to door-stopping. The rise and fall of Karen Kane fashion.


Aretha Franklin has not quit singing in my head since I saw this.

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And I’ll never hear that song again without loudly yell-singing “NATURAL NAPKIN!!!” over “natural woman.”


I spend a lot of time in the Chick-Fil-A drive-through line.

Sometimes while waiting, I do math. And discover Deep Secrets of the Chickens. Such as, every fourth chicken strip has 10 less calories in it.

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…which makes me want to have this conversation upon my next visit to the drive-through.

CFA: “Welcome to Chick-Fil-A. How may we serve you?”
Me: “Yes. I’d like a four-pack of fourth Chick-n-Strips.”
CFA: “Of what kind of Chick-n-Strips?”
Me: “Fourth ones. You know – the ones with only 110 calories each?”
CFA: “I’m sorry?”
Me: “I would like all fourth Chick-n-Strips. Simply break into four four-packs and pull me out the fourth strips of each one. This isn’t chicken science.”
CFA: “Um….Okay…..I’ll check with my manager.”
Me: “Thank you!”
CFA: “My pleasure.”


I often clip things to my fridge so that I’ll remember them – invitations, schedules, coupons, and other such vital information.

Then I realized that this was also still on my fridge.

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And decided that perhaps my refrigerator is not the best place to put things if I want to actually notice that they’re there – at least within a three year time period.

Signs of Vacation.

A flock of Emus in a Wastewater treatment plant…

The Church of Holy Water/Wrestling Federation…

A Labelmakered all-caps toilet instruction – “DO NOT FLUSH ANYTHING BUT TISSUE” – to which we almost left a post-it note underneath it saying, “But where do we put the poo?”…

These are the things I didn’t manage to get photos of on our family vacation.

I hope that the things I did manage to capture will help you forgive me.

Sign 1

So many questions.

1. What were adults using it for?
2. If my son gets stuck at the top, panics, and requires a rescue from his mother, will I be tackled by the Playground Police?
3. Are there other equal provisions for adult play in your city? Or is there an issue of play inequality?
4. What about teenagers? I feel like there is a definite age bracket that is left undefined as to their play legality.

This sign was facing an automatic toilet. A toilet that flushed two times while I was sitting on it.

Sign 2

So….the sign was for me, or the commode?

I appreciated that they acknowledged that at one time they were okay with this. But NO MORE.

Sign 3

And finally…I just…what to say…except God Bless America.

Wrestling Midget Match

In case you wanted to see where this Battle Royal took place, I captured that for you as well. Not at all creepy or suspect. Not. At. All.

Wrestling

We did not, however, visit that establishment during family vacation. I know you’re disappointed. So am I. It would have made an AMAZING blog post.

Instead, we took our children to Noccalula Falls Park, albeit slightly less educational.

Kids at Noccalula Falls

Ali was intensely more nervous than she looks. She adored the train ride, the petting zoo, the rock stairs, the playground, and every other part of the park – but not having a giant rock ledge hanging over her head.

And no, the logic of “It’s been here for thousands of years” did not help her at all. Nor did “if we die it will be so quick you won’t even know it.”

Escape was sweet.

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And she was then able to appreciate the view from the top much more effectively.

Noccalula Falls from the top

Then we moved onward to Guntersville, where we met up with the rest of my family.

To refresh your memory, my family exchanges no gifts during the year (except for the children of course) and instead, we go on a trip together once a year.

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We failed miserably and didn’t get a formal group shot this year, but the above picture sums it up pretty well, except for missing Chris-the-picture-taker. Yes, Noah is still shirtless even on vacation, and yes, Eli is still fantastic at photo facial expressions.

This year, we stayed in a house on Lake Guntersville in beautiful North Alabama, and really didn’t do too much else aside from relaxing on the lake, including “fishing” with Gramamma,

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Paddle boating, for which I discovered I was extremely fond of and maybe even a little obsessed,

Paddle Boating

(and it was made all the more rewarding by my mapping and logging it like a dweeb,)

Map My Run Paddleboating

And playing an intricate mermaid game in the water – one that was too secretive to be photographed.

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Inside the house, there were games of Rummikub and Uno, which are, at the age of the children involved, only games that grandparents have enough patience to carry out.

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And of course, the kids did plenty of what kids these days do best.

Kids on Devices

Thanks to my Dad who unofficially volunteered to be my evening chauffeur (most likely because he wanted a moment of silence), I was able to catch the sunset every night.

First Sunset

Second Sunset Later

Second Sunset

Third Sunset

I even broke my most important rule and…got a sunrise picture.

Sunrise

While running with Chris earlier than I even like to acknowledge exists.

Sunrise Run

Because I’m that obsessed with running. It’s like sleep doesn’t even matter anymore. But more about that in a later post.

Sunrise Third Picture

When you’re in a place as beautiful as Guntersville, it’s best to break a few rules to get to appreciate it at its finest.

Wayne Feeds

………….especially since vacation ended with health death for half the family.

Bored at Doctor Visit

Noah and I were the first to crumble, to what the doctor told us was “just viral” but turned out to be quite bacterial and in need of antibiotics. Why do doctors hate me so?

Doctor Visit

Others have since fallen, Ali included, and Noah and I are on our fifth day of impending fatality. Family vacation has its price.

While Noah and I were at the doctor, we ran across a couple more fantastic signs – such as, the most depressed looking stick figure ever created. I want to be the kind of person that can convey such depth of emotion with so little detail.

Can't Go

And yet more puzzling flush instructions.

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I don’t even know what a toliet is, but I’m assuming it’s French.

But nothing…NOTHING I SAY…will ever compare with this.

Wrestling Midget Match

God Bless America.