Ambiversion

     I probably shouldn’t say this in public, but I’m an ambivert.
     This is not illegal – yet.
     An ambivert is a guy or gal who is both extroverted and introverted.
     Most people are one or the other, I guess.
     I learned this from a book my brother sent me, called “Quiet,” by Susan Cain. It was a bestseller back when. I’m not sure; I was probably reading something else at the time …
     Extroversion or introversion, we are told by Carl Jung and other people who, unlike Jung, have to earn a living, are the two basic poles of human personality.
     I suppose that could be true, though the reason may be due more to the words than the facts.
     Take me, for example. I’ve been a city editor of daily newspapers and a news correspondent in Mexico, jobs that made me go out and do things, meet people and receive daily howls of execration.
     Yet my idea of a good time is lying around at home with a bunch of out-of-print books, dozing, not answering the door or the phone.
     Maybe punching out a flaccid column once a week.
     The world is rigged for extroverts, Susan Cain would have us believe, or at least this country is.
     I believe that.
     Cain devotes 350 pages to explaining why introverts are cool people too.
     Which sort of proves the point …
     My brother, who sent me “Quiet,” (and I wish somebody could truly send me that) is a true introvert. Scientists can get away with that. Journalists have to be extroverts. Yet I’ll bet that in the 20 years I edited newspapers, as many or more of my best reporters were introverts – introverts forced to be extroverts, to make a living.
     Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
     But I don’t see how, or why, an extrovert would be asked to live as an introvert to make a living – how he could make a living at it, and why someone would ask him.
     If an extrovert were forced to live as an introvert, what would he do? Lie around home with me on the couch? And if we exchanged a few words, where would that put us, on the sliding scale?
     Arguments of this sort are good for the dinner parties I never go to, but they don’t prove anything. Once you set up a “there are two kinds of” argument, you can pretty much just give it a push, then leave it alone and let it wind down by itself.
     We’re all all these things: intro-, extro-, ambi. We juggle those balls while people throw things at us as we walk through life. That pretty much nails down what happens in our allotted three score and ten, so far as I can tell.

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