The Introvert Escape Artist

We were in the car for the umpteenth time that day, so I needed music. I was looking for a throwback, something fun.  Old school Britney.  I settled on Music of the Rain Forest Pygmies: The Historic Recordings made by Colin M. Turnbull. Oddly enough it was a Valentine's gift in college. And it's not any kind of fusion with modern music, its just a bunch of people chanting and banging sticks in the forest. I loved it. 

Then the throwback made me flashback.

I remember a night that my college dorm room had felt downright stifling.  I was caught up in the egocentric sorrows of adolescence and my own restlessness and wanted to run away.  So I popped my Rain Forest Pygmy CD into my Walkman and left so I could brood on the sidewalks of my little campus and pretend I wasn't in America. 

But I ran into the tall, charming, "fraternity" boy that was a shameless flirt. (It was exactly what I wanted, of course.) And like any over-confident college boy, he swung his big arm around my shoulders and casually took my headphones and put them on himself.

Enter Rain Forest Pygmy chants.

He listened for a moment or two, looked at me, laughed, handed me back the headphones.  

He said something charming and friendly, I probably said something awkward and defensive.  We parted ways and I thought about transferring schools.

Fast forward to one year later.  

Our sorority had been super-busy with springtime events and car washes and fundraisers and I was done with socializing.  D-o-n-e. I just wanted to lay in the quiet sunshine without some guitar-strumming freshman under every tree or frisbee golf discs whizzing past my head.  I wanted to be alone.

So I trekked down the trails behind our dorm, through the trees and away from picnic tables and snuggly couples trying to get some alone time on our co-ed-restrictive campus. I went so far down the hill that I came out of the trees and onto the banks of the Ouachita River.

Ahh... alone.  It was just me and the Arkansas sunshine.  So I got brave. I decided if I was going to lay in the sun and I was all alone, I didn't need a tan line on my shoulders. I peeked around and couldn't even hear voices. I was so far from the trails in my secluded, secret spot.  So I did it: I tossed my tanktop in the pile of books that I wasn't going to read.  I was topless on the campus of what might be America's most conservative Christian university.  

I was far from the trails, true. But you know what I wasn't far away from?

The river.

And you know what I forgot that college students love to do on the weekends?

Float the river.

So by the time Mr. Solitare on the River came around the bend on his inner-tube, it was too late.  We even made eye contact.  I was mortified. Neither one of us said a word, I buried my head in my arms (face-down on my towel by now) and waited to move until he floated .....sloooowwly..... past.  

I never saw him again, which means he probably went to the less-holy state university across the street from us.  And he probably wasn't as horrified as I was.

They say that being an introvert means that you may enjoy people but you aren't energized by them. You have to get away and recharge before you're ready for socializing again.  And that's always been me.  I tend to just need escape every now and then, but I'm just not the best escape artist.  Because isn't it kind of funny how both of those occasions began with me trying to escape interaction and ended with me running smack-dab into a socially awkward embarrassing moment?

I have to ask: are you introverted or extroverted? 

And if you like to get away, have your "escapes" ever turned out to be a big, fat, FAIL like mine?

I spilled... it's your turn. ;)


  1. Definitely introverted, and oh man, all the time. If I'm not energized and ready to socialize I simply can't pull off a smooth interaction. It's like my brain isn't even thinking along the same channels - I blank on what to say, what to do, how to read people, all of it. And yet when I'm in the right state to socialize everything flows so easily, it's effortless. I spent quite a while trying to figure out how to get myself into the right state, but it might just be one of those things that you have to learn to roll with. As for embarrassing introvert moments, what often happens to me is that I'll ask someone out to coffee or something to try to break OUT of my shell and it'll totally backfire. Even if I had conversation topics in mind, I just can't put the words together and we end up sitting there doing that whole "I'm pretending to look at something interesting because this conversation is tanking..." thing until it's over.

    1. Hah!! Scott, I laughed out loud more than once. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like your brain just wont get on the same channel as everyone else. Sometimes I've really wondered what is WRONG with me in those times, thinking "this should not be so hard!" And as for those coffee dates, LOL. Been there too.

  2. well at least you were trying to be private. Nathan Dyer and his whole family caught me running around our cul-de-sac with some white flowy fabric on just being whimsical and girly. If i saw him today he would probably be like "hey sarah remember when you were running around outside..." it used to embarrass me but now i would be like "whatever, you have anger issues" because he really did. the end.


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