Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hibernation Rocks

"Are you sick?" Thing 1 asked me the other day. 

"No. Why do you ask?" 

"Because you're in pajamas." 

"What is the point of Sundays if I am not free to spend it in pajamas?" 

Not only am I an introvert, I'm an early bird. I am—for the most part—content to potter about the house, and I manage to tick off most of my "to-dos" by 8:30 am. 

Molly Young opines ("Is Staying in the New Going Out?") how binge-watching and ordering in are now the usual "plans" for city dwellers. It's the ultimate way of staying safe—modest, guaranteed contentment, the middle path—as opposed to the extremes that "going out" harbor —
The upside is huge: You could have a life-altering adventure, meet your soul mate, find your new best friend. The potential downside is equally monumental. You could run into an ex, lose your wallet, suffer a grope, be rejected. The scope of experience at a party or a bar is, as the hedge funders might put it, high beta. We do it for the possibility of encountering the spectacular. This rarely happens. 
There are opportunity costs associated with chronic staying in, too. A year’s worth of weekends spent at home is a bit like never moving out of your parents’ house: At some point you have to leave the nest. Leaving the nest, even just to get outside, is how we grow, challenge ourselves and discover things that have not been tailored to our relevant interests by an algorithm. 
But I think of it along these lines: With the invention of Netflix and non-interactive means of ordering food, introverts have stumbled upon socially-acceptable heaven. Out of the closet we come—one-third to one-half of the population—forgoing the stress that outings usually exacerbate. It's not that technology has hypnotized the socially outgoing into abandoning their preferences, but rather it has provided the means for the introverts to morph into official homebodies.  
The extroverts, I guarantee you, are not being wooed by online streaming and cereal. They're still leaving the house and doing . . . stuff. Very possibly "living" more than my kind do, but that is a chance we are willing to take. 
So yes, we know what we’re losing when we hibernate. For proof, observe that nesting remains indefensible as an excuse; if someone invites you out, you can’t refuse by telling them that you’ve got “plans to stay in,” because a plan to stay in still counts as no plan at all. We burrow with a slight wince, in a blanket of mild contrition. But, oh, what a cozy blanket. 
No contrition here. 


Sarah said...

I was listening to a shiur about dating yesterday, and the speaker mentioned that no good guy is going to be described as introverted -- "that's like a dirty word." Seriously? What happened to the strong-and-silent cliché?
That aside, I think extroverts just need education about introversion -- that it's not simple antisocial behavior. Most of my friends are extroverts, and they're very understanding when I sometimes say that I need a quiet night in.

Daniel Saunders said...

As an introvert, I get what you're saying (although not about the pyjamas. I always get dressed, or it fuels my mental health issues). But there are introvert outdoor activities too! Going for a walk alone, going to museums or art galleries. And I have no quibbles about risking the frowns of the extroverts and going to the cinema alone (recently watched Star Trek Beyond in a largely empty cinema). One needn't see the choice as being between extroversion and couch potato-dom.

Princess Lea said...

Sarah: No matter how many times I explain it to some people, they still mistake it for shyness or simple antisocial behavior. But now I am happily waving my freak flag (in more ways than one).

DS: It is awesome watching movies alone. Invariably if I go with someone they pick bad seats or insisting on going when the movie just comes out, so the place is packed.