It turns out some people get bored at home. I’m sure I knew there were people out there who filled every moment going places and doing things, but it never occurred to me that being bored at home was a possibility until I started seeing so many people saying as much. Thanks Facebook.
Maybe I’ve never even considered the possibility because I’ve spent years structuring life in such a way that boredom at home isn’t something that can happen. Here in its penultimate form at Fortress Jeff, I’ve surrounded myself with books and movies and animals, failsafed the power supply, and laid in sufficient food to mostly sustain us all beyond the occasional need for fresh produce. Even if I weren’t working from home, there would be enough around-the-house projects to keep me going indefinitely… and that’s before even starting in on the yard work.
The idea that I should somehow be bored under the circumstances simply never crossed my mind. The world has merely adopted social distancing. I was born into it, molded by it.
So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.
No, I don’t have some oddball dream of becoming a radish and I don’t want to suffer a catastrophic brain injury that leaves me lying in a hospital bed drooling on myself and peeing through a tube, but I the idea of spending the weekend being a vegetable has a certain appeal at the moment. It’s been one of those weeks without much of what felt like down time. Those weeks seem to be happening more and more often lately. Not a complaint, a statement of fact. My natural response, of course, is to want to spend the weekend knocking around the house doing my best to avoid the world and other people as much as possible.
I don’t know how it is for other people, but my style of introversion makes dealing with people, especially large groups of them, a seriously exhausting experience. I do my best to be civil because that’s what polite society expects, but during every interaction I’m suppressing my natural avoidance instinct. When a week has been nothing but external inputs, by Friday it has a tendency to feel like I’m just barely holding it all together. Under the circumstances retreat into a good book, a handful of movies, and a quiet house is the best elixir. It’s not running away to a private island, but it’s what I can manage on short notice and more importantly, it’ll be enough to make sure I get through the next week without bitch slapping some poor unsuspecting extrovert who tries striking up a conversation.
And yes, as always, I recognize the bizarre counter-intuitivity of the introvert that keeps two Facebook pages, a blog, and semi-active Twitter feed. You see, the difference is at any point when I decide I don’t want to deal with that stuff, I can just minimize the page and it goes away. People, by comparison, are notoriously butthurt when you try doing that to them in the analog world.
Fifty or a hundred years ago, an average man came home from work physically exhausted and filthy. There are days I almost envy that kind of work. At the end of the shift, you can point out a stack of steel beams or twenty truckloads of coal and see that you actually did something with your day. By contrast, I got home tonight exhausted, but only from the neck up. Jumping from one thing to another, answering phone calls and questions, and occasionally making things up as I went along just plain wore me out today. If I bothered to starch my collar, though, you wouldn’t know I spent the day at work. I’m trying not to remind myself that it’s only Monday, because my brain is well and truly fried. That doesn’t bode particularly well for the rest of the week.
Still, the part of me whose grandfathers dug coal, stamped tires, and spent their lives doing hard physical labor doesn’t feel quite right complaining about how mentally draining it is to sit in front of a computer screen, answer the phone, and beg, cajole, and threaten people to get the job done is. It seems somewhat less daunting when laid against the kind of physically demanding jobs that they had. Knowing that doesn’t make my gray matter any less shot on days like this, though.
I’ve heard that some extroverts thrive on fast paced, loud, raucous environments. Unfortunately, I’m not an extrovert by nature. To make good decisions I need time to think, reflect, and process and time was the one thing in short supply today. Sure, I’ll keep making decisions, under those conditions, but they won’t be my best. I suppose they don’t always need to be. All I really need now is a nice quiet room, a good book, and possibly a dog or two and I should be back in fighting trim before the sun comes up tomorrow. How it goes after that is still way, way up in the air.