This week’s entry is inspired by the guy who was teaching Basic Writing (our remedial writing class) next door to my calculus class this morning. He’s probably everything that a remedial writing teacher should be — energetic, boisterous, friendly in an in-your-face kind of way, a back-slapping how-ya-doing kind of teacher with a magnetic personality. Me? I’m not that. You can read about me and others like me in Jonathan Rauch’s 2003 essay:
This essay is relatively famous, but I hadn’t read it until over the summer. When I did, there was an eerie sense that Rauch had been secretly following me, studying my behaviors and habits, and had written this essay in response. Here’s a quote:
Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn’t antisocial. It isn’t a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: "I’m okay, you’re okay—in small doses."
Yes. And the rest of the essay seems right too — the world is geared toward rewarding extroversion. Help! Help! I’m being repressed!
This essay is essential reading for all introverts and their sympathizers.