Here’s my new favorite quote: “There is no greater plague to the introvert than the extroverted,” from author Pierce Brown. This so perfectly captures the essence of almost every marital tiff my husband Doo and I have experienced that I wonder if Mr. Brown is actually our Elf-on-the-Shelf, who incidentally, keeps forgetting to pack his bags. (Go home, Pickleknuckle. You’ve overstayed your welcome!)
Take this past weekend. With my life force nearly drained from a fourteen-hour dance competition on the southeast side, I used the long car ride home to recharge. Darkness, a sleeping ten-year-old, and the smooth vocals of Peter Cetera softly playing in the background, had this introvert feeling fine by the time I arrived home. Then I walked through our door and was bombarded with bright lights, loud music, the distinct odor of garlic, and a dining room table piled high with back-packs, an assortment of hair accessories and a plastic blue air cannon (because we simply cannot find a place to store that thing!). Unwilling and frankly, unable, to cope with the sudden change from my peaceful mini-van interior to this obnoxious sensory overload, I hastily retreated my sanctuary, the master bedroom.
But when I flung open the door, I discovered Doo plus two kids sprawled out on the now-unmade bed watching “Transformers Twenty-Nine” at theater-level volume. And because the last vestiges of patience had deserted me after my daughter’s third (third!) awards’ ceremony of the day, I couldn’t keep my thoughts to myself. Luckily Doo was in a good mood, and didn’t take the bait. He knows a mommy-on-the-edge when he sees one.
Under normal circumstances though, the confrontation would have spiraled into an argument over whose needs are greater. And it all comes down to the fact that we are classic examples of an introvert and an extrovert. I equate happiness to beach reading, dimmer switches, and nine-to-eleven hours of sleep, while Doo finds rejuvenation in rave music, laser-light shows and constant interaction with as many people as possible. Our “vertisms” should have kept us apart, and yet I think it’s those very differences that keep us together.
So yes, when I’m trying to go to relax at night and Doo opens his laptop, turns on Archer, and begins reading The Economist with the help of every overhead light, I do feel like he’s unleashed my own personal evening apocalypse. Just as I’m sure my manic obsession with a vampire-like lifestyle grinds his gears. But it works for us. I ensure that our children get to bed on time and that we don’t blow the electricity bill, while Doo makes certain I nurture friendships and occasionally leave the house. He’s definitely my plague, but in a good way.