My Introvert Life – Log Entry 56502

Stardate 20220505 – Time: Thursday Night Hell

I’m not much of a people person and those close to me know this. Even those not so close to me know this. So at the last minute when two of my friends that I made plans with for a random Thursday night said they were bringing some other friends that I never met along, that little anxiety-riddled part of my brain quickly looked for a way out of the ordeal. I seriously considered buying a plane ticket to anywhere that was not here and simply starting a new life under an assumed name.

But alas, moments later I found myself in the back of an SUV that I’d never ridden in before on my way to dinner at a place I had never eaten at before. Oh yes, I said to myself. This is hell. I’m in hell.

Everyone was going on and on and having a great time, and there I was, just trying to survive the outing long enough to get back home to the safety of my tea, favorite book, cheesy TV, and my cats, and wondering what the hell was I thinking to ever go out in the first place. I mean, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But then, doesn’t it always? And it’s not. It’s never a good idea.

Oh, here comes the waiter. “Can I get you ladies anything else this evening?”

Me screaming in my head: “Just the check, thanks.”

My mouth: “oh, that lava cake looks good.”

Me in my head: “Damn my weakness for sweets. Ah the hell with it. What’s 10 more minutes in hell anyway, right? At least there’s cake.”

Couple Goals at the IHOP

The internet (and probably your mother) can provide you with any number of suggestions to include in your list of couple goals. These range anywhere from putting each other first to knowing each other’s love language to traveling together without killing one another. Some suggest only speaking positively about each other (good luck with that) and talking about your relationship often (yikes!). In the age of Instagram and “perfect” relationships on constant display, finding that groove with your significant other can sometimes seem, well, less than perfect. After my recent trip to the local IHOP, I have a fresh take on my couple goal.

I went to IHOP because they have a new dish, Caramel Apple a la Mode Pancakes. This is exactly what it sounds like, and trust me, it is delicious! But while there, a middle-aged couple was seated next to my table. They both seemed perfectly happy with no argument in sight, and they were both on their phones (gasp!).

I know this image makes some people cringe. People spend too much time on their phones these days. Kids are becoming zombies to the screen, and people aren’t talking to each other anymore. There are games or dinner protocols to try and curb the trend of mealtime phone use. Some groups all put their phones face down on the table, and the first one to look has to buy everyone dinner (talk about having rich friends). Other people won’t allow phones at the table at all. All of that sounds great for most people, but this couple had it figured out.

They looked up to order and then went back to being on their respective phones and didn’t put them down until their dinner came. They sat next to each other rather than across from each other; losing that bit of real estate allowed them to reach out often to touch hands or lean over to place a head on a shoulder. Sometimes they would nudge the other and then share their phone to watch a quick video or read a meme and laugh together. It was adorable, really. And what I strive for in a relationship. No chit-chat. No small talk. Just enjoying each other’s company while perusing memes, scientific journals, craigslist, or whatever. Sounds absolutely pleasant, doesn’t it?

I’m sure we’ve all had that experience of being around an arguing couple. The tension so thick in the room it feels smothering. The animosity between the couple so heavy it weighs down the conversation around them. Snarky comments and disdain sucking the air out of the room. Fun times, right?

What about the couple that’s all goo-goo for each other? The over-the-top Instagram-ready interactions are hard to take seriously. Pet names, baby talk, and constant touches that border on inappropriate in the company of others. I’ve always found there to be a certain inauthenticity to those couples.

Sure, there are many different types of couples, or even the same kinds of couples, but in different moments. We are human and subject to the chaotic fluctuations of emotions when sharing the intimate aspects of life with someone. But seeing this couple at IHOP has offered me new inspiration in what it can look like to couple up with someone.

You may be one of those people that thinks phone use at the table is inappropriate, that it stifles conversation and erodes the foundations of intimacy. But conversations are overrated, and intimacy is displayed in many ways. Give me a partner who loves caramel apple pancakes with a thread of funny memes on the side and the occasional touch of affection. That’s my new couple’s goal.

A Little Game Called Doorbell Dodging

I am sitting in my comfy chair, in my fudge stained favorite sweatshirt, hair pulled back in an unkempt knot at the back of my head.  My teeth aren’t brushed, no make-up on, coffee in hand, laptop on lap, Maury about to announce who the father is (I gotta know!).  I stop cold, a spoonful of Captain Crunch lifted to my mouth.  I hear a car, I hear footsteps…I know what is about to happen.  Yet I’m powerless to stop it.

The doorbell rings. Ugh.

I immediately go into Doorbell Dodger mode.  I haven’t moved this fast since I found out there was only one chocolate glazed donut left in the kitchen at work.

First step, shut off the TV (dang it, now I’ll never know who the father is), then dive head first under the coffee table and hold my breath.  I can’t recall if I closed the curtains on the front door, and darn it, I see the visitor doing the “shade the eyes and look through the window” thing; it’s really kind of creepy.   The doorbell rings again, then the mystery person knocks.   Maybe even a cheery “Hello” from the other side of the front door.  Is it my neighbor?  A friend?  Publisher’s Clearing House? Jehovah’s Witness?  The police looking for me after I jaywalked last week? I may never know, because I hear a scuffling of feet before a car door slams and the sound of a car engine fading into the distance.  I tiptoe to the window and gently pull the curtain to the side, not far, just enough to peep through.  Car is gone.  That was a close one, I narrowly escaped. Whew!

Now that the threat of invasion is over, I start to wonder about the identity of the mystery caller.  I open the door and check for packages, letters, any clues at all.  Now the burning question — other than who the father is, obviously, is…who was the random caller?  And why the hell were they at my door? The downside of Doorbell Dodging is that you will be obsessing the rest of the day over who it could have been.

I feel kind of hypocritical.  I post sweet statuses about my door always being open, I’ll always be there, night or day if you need me…but really, those are just statuses I copied and pasted because I was too lazy to think of one of my own.  The reality is, I don’t like unannounced people on my doorstep.  I’d say call me first, but I never answer my phone either.

I have learned to transform into full Ninja when I hear a car in the driveway; I’ll be locked in the basement before you even hit the first step.  When I miss the tires on the gravel, though, I can get caught short and have to hide behind curtains or furniture. I’ve gotten really good at, if I may say so myself.

What is it about a doorbell that turns us into secretive fugitives in our own homes?  The guilt of our actions makes us feel that our visitor has X-Ray vision and can see right into the bathroom, behind the shower curtain, and into your soul.

I don’t mind company if I know it’s coming.  Ok, I don’t despise company if I know that it’s coming a week in advance.  All right, all right; I will tolerate company if they have made a preset appointment a month prior and have stated the exact purpose and length of their stay prior to arriving.

I’d be a little more ashamed of this if I thought I was alone, but I know I’m not.  I am working on a few inventions for my fellow Doorbell Dodgers, if you’d like a sneak peek:

  • I am going to design a cover that turns my car invisible because I feel the car in the driveway is a dead give-away that I am doorbell dodging.
  • I will be inventing a table disguise that can be slipped on at a moment’s notice, transforming myself into a piece of furniture for the duration of the doorbell episode.
  • I have brainstormed the idea of stick-on house numbers that can be slapped over your real numbers, making your visitor think they are at the wrong door. I just can’t figure out how to install the numbers in stealth mode. Slipping my arm out the door long enough to affix the decals – and in full view of the intruder on my welcome mat, seems a bit awkward … not to mention alerting them to my whereabouts.
  • I have crafted suction cups for your hands and feet, so you can scale the wall like a fly and hang on to the ceiling to avoid detection. (this one is my favorite just in case you wanted to know)
  • I have recorded an endless loop of shower noises to be played over a loudspeaker, activated by the push of the doorbell. I have also recorded sneezes and horrible fits of coughing to scare the offender away.  For a small additional charge, you can upgrade to my recording of the barks of St. Bernards, German Shepherds and Great Danes with a voice frantically screaming, “Get back, get back!” in the background.
  • When all else fails, I have created a pair of “pants” that slip on the front only, so it appears you are wearing pants when you answer the door. This is a last resort … a Hail Mary if you will. Just be careful to remain facing your visitor at all times.

Let’s face it, the doorbell can ring at any time; it’s just a matter of when.  Always be alert, and until I can roll out my aforementioned handy-dandy inventions, be prepared:

  • Have a blanket the same color as your couch cushions to throw over you when the doorbell rings
  • Practice your escape route often. Be prepared to hurtle over barking dogs and dodge obstacles in the hallway for a clean escape.
  • Have more than one hiding place in case someone else in the house beat you to the first one.
  • Plan a spot to meet your family in the house after the visitor is gone so you can monitor windows in case he changes his mind.
  • Never let your guard down. Doorbells can ring at all hours of the day and night.  You are never really safe. Practice your stop, drop, and roll crawl across the living room floor on a routine basis.
  • Remember that sometimes a visitor will remain on the step for a minute or two after the last door chime. This is a trap that has caught many unsuccessful doorbell dodgers in the past.
  • Keep a pair of pants by the front door, just in case.

All kidding aside, anyone is welcome to my home, any time.  Just sign up for an appointment, call me in advance, and answer my prescreening questions.

Also, bring a bathing suit and be careful; that moat is full of alligators.

My Introvert Life – Log Entry 54801

Stardate 20180302 – Time: Past the Point of No Return

Day started entirely too early thanks to the asshats next door neighbors.

Subsequent thoughts in shower: wouldn’t it be nice if some people wore shock collars activated by universal remotes?

Found a random screw on my living room floor. It’s official. My life is falling apart.

Started to go to the new gym one town over. It’s all the rage apparently.

A membership cost $30 a month. Not including yoga or the pool.

Donuts and coffee at the Dunkin Donuts up the street cost $4.50.

Guess who saved $25.50? And that’s only for February. I’m on track to save $255 for the rest of 2018. Go me!

Low rations and procrastination in completing weekly errands collide, resulting in a headache inducing lovely jaunt throughout town.

Had an epiphany halfway to the library right in the middle of Walking on Sunshine.

Marvin the Martian was chosen as the referee in Space Jam because he was both an alien AND a Looney Toon.  It all makes sense now.

Left library with spiffy new copy of Space Jam.

Frustrating that I have to put gas in my car considering how damn small this town is. Where the hell have I been that I need gas again?

Wish the Dollar Store sold gas.

At the grocery store, I ran into a guy wearing camo as I was walking down Aisle 5 looking for Oreos. To be fair, this one wasn’t my fault. I didn’t see him.

Survived small talk at the register. Hope to God I never have to do that again.

Made it home in one piece with most of the items I went out for and a great many I did not.

Asshat’s neighbor’s dog was out, running loose, so I had to sit in the car for 10 minutes waiting for it to decide whether it wanted the lame treats its owner was proffering from her front door or Wendy à la king.

Still wishing that shock collar was a thing…and not for the dog.

Bright spot: Space Jam!

My Introvert Life – Log Entry 54732

Stardate 20172110 – Time: Another Saturday Night (hmmm…that sounds like a song)

The kids are gone, the critters are fed. I have the night to myself. I can do anything, go anywhere. The world is my oyster.

*fast forward one hour*

Ah, bed feels so nice right now. *sipping on a freshly poured glass of Chocolate Zin*

Now, where’s that remote??  There’s a classic horror movie marathon on!

 

My Introvert Life – Log Entry 52745

Stardate 20170410 – Time: When Everyone Else Seems To Be Doing Stuff Too

Despite my better judgement, but driven by hunger and lack of rations, I ventured out into the world today.

Triple-checked and, yup, had everything I needed to buy for the week in my shopping cart. All ready to check out. Approaching the cashier, I saw someone I know in line. Someone who talks a lot and seems to know everything. Every. Thing.

Hmmm…

…oh right, almost forgot, there were a few more items I needed to get for that thing I was going to make one day.

Pulled a U-turn and disappeared down an aisle.

Another crisis averted.

 

 

My Introvert Life – Log Entry 52671

Stardate 20172408 – Time: Too Late to Think About Leaving the House Tomorrow

A dear friend asks if I want to go to a yoga class tomorrow where they heat the room to 100 degrees so you “sweat it out” as you meditate on life.  Supposed to be good for the soul.

My answer? Namaste…from my couch where I’ll be watching Netflix and eating crackers.

My Introvert Life – Log Entry 52491

Stardate 20170908 – Time: Way Too Early

Accept the fact that it’s morning.

Remember that human interaction is not just likely, but necessary on this day.

Consider all possible alternatives to said human interaction.

Outlook bleak.

Coffee, coffee, coffee.

Suck it up and look in the mirror.

More coffee…quickly.

Attempt looking presentable to outside world.

Remind myself not to kill anyone.

Open door.

Brace for impact.