Please Don’t Feed the Animals

don't feed the animals

You know when you go to the zoo there are signs posted asking you not to feed the animals? This weekend while we were at the concert I was thinking how great would it be if Todd and I could wear signs around our necks saying Please Don’t Engage the Introverts.

I am a social introvert. I like to have random conversations with strangers (usually older adults), I like to have social time with a small group of friends or one on one with a friend, but at my core I am still an introvert and sometimes I just can’t.

Examples of when I just can’t:

After being out in the world all day (either at school, at work, shopping). If I have had a lot of time out I need a lot of time in.

After road trips. I know it seems like a road trip would be a great time for an introvert to refuel because it can be quiet down time, and that is partially true. The other part to consider though is that when on a road trip you are taking in a lot of stimuli. Constantly changing scenery, noise from the radio and road, possibly talking with your road trip companions. It is exhausting.

After any activity where a lot of new information was taken in. For example, I wrote a 10 page research paper yesterday. It was quiet all day long while I did research and wrote but it was a lot of new information and I was zapped after. I did not want to talk for the rest of the day and went to bed early where I fell asleep immediately. This morning I woke up still tired.

Long story short, because I could go on forever with examples, being an introvert and highly sensitive person means the world can really take it out of me.

So when we got to the venue for the concert I was already wiped out. We had driven for 3 hours, unpacked the car at the hotel which was busy busy busy with an enormous family reunion, got back in the car to go to the grocery store (my current dietary limitations result in me having to make all my food myself, even when on vacation), came back to the hotel, ate, and then got back into the car to fight traffic at the venue.

We had lawn seats so we scanned carefully when picking out where we would set up so as not to get next to any big groups of rowdy concert goers. We ended up next to a few couples and one small group of older adults. It seemed like the perfect spot and it was, at first.

We set up our blanket and flopped down to rest until the concert started. I was laying on my back watching the sunset when I heard a loud group of women pass us and start arguing over where to set up, there was a lot of back and forth about That is not enough room for us and Don’t be ridiculous, they want us here! I propped myself up on my elbows just in time to see that we had been invaded by 15 women and two heavily intoxicated men in a space big enough for maybe 3 people. They ran off one of the couples we had been next to and were quickly encroaching on our space. Todd and I picked up and moved forward near another couple and away from the boisterous group.

The couple we moved closer to had been quiet and relaxed like Todd and I up to that point so we figured it was a safe and easy move until one of them started trying to chat us up. He was talking crap about the new group that had taken over behind us, he was oogling every woman that walked by, he would not leave us alone even though we never engaged him. Finally he made an off-color Mexican joke and I had enough. I was tempted to shame him and let him know that my husband is in fact Mexican but that was not my place, Todd let it slide so that was how he wanted to handle it. At that I rolled over on our blanket to face Todd and keep my back to Mr. Big Mouth. This is also when I came up with the idea for the sign.

I don’t like that just because I am not feeling social I can at times be seen as rude. I don’t like that my introversion, and introversion is general, can be portrayed as some kind of deficit or personality malfunction. I think instead of Why are you so quiet?, the question should be Why do you feel the need to fill blissful silence with so much noise?

Here is the real kicker, 30 minutes into the concert Mr. Big Mouth and his other half left. And not just left our area to find another area, they packed up and left the venue. Todd and I were shocked. These tickets were not overly expensive but they were not cheap either and the concert had just started. They missed 2 and a half hours of music. Oh well, their prerogative.

It ended up well for Todd and I. We were far enough away from the big group to not be bothered and Mr. Big Mouth was no longer a factor either. It was just he and I on a blanket under the stars listening to music.



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