Solitary Confinement? Yes, Please!

(For kicks and giggles, I decided to blog from my phone before work šŸ˜ŠšŸ‘)

I have heard people use “introversion” as a way to describe a loner, but that is a glib portrayal, and, I would suggest, made by an extrovert. Introversion, like extraversion, boils down to chemistry. How your brain is wired, and how it reboots determines your personality. I am stepping into unfamiliar territory with only a few scientific articles I’ve read, and the insight I have gained through meditation. Meaning, I am most likely incorrect or way out in left field with my assertion. 

My friends who are introverts require more alone time than me, but we share a similar love of staying put once we come home from work. I don’t know how they are when they don’t get their time to decompress and recharge, but I know how I am when I don’t get that time.

I started my new job this past week as a bartender in a cigar bar in a western suburb of Indianapolis. The person who runs the bar had everyone quit on him, and he was looking for full time or part time workers so he didn’t have to work open to close seven days a week. A mutual friend told me about the bar, and suggested I look into it. I’ve been looking for work the last six monts, so I told him I would give his friend a call. This friend has known me for over a decade, he knows my personality, and he knows where I’ll be a good fit. He told me the manager and I would get along, and the regulars are all about relaxing and smoking their cigars–some of them are baby boomers who hate Trump. 

When I went to the place to apply, I knew I was in over my head. I know next to nothing about cigars except that you light them with a match to keep the flavor. I know a little bit about alcohol, but only single malt scotches. The position requires me to make cocktails, but that didn’t bother me. I’m quite adept in any culinary setting, and I can make drinks by following the instructions. When I didn’t hear from him for a few days, I assumed he found someone who was a better fit. No worries. I went back to my writing and putting out my resumes.

Ten days later the manager calls me, and asked me what I’m looking for. I told him I was looking for something part time. He asked me what days I could work, and I told him I need Wednesdays off because of my volunteer work, and I need Sundays off so I can spend time with Ronnie. If he gave me the position, Sundays would be the only day we would have off together. I also told him I could only work til five ‘o’ clock Monday through Friday. Ronnie and I only have one car between us, and she currently works on the Southwest side. Because we are moving downtown, I had be focusing on finding work there. Indianapolis has a mediocre mass transit system that is slowly improving, but it is good if you live downtown. The manager agreed to my scheduling needs, and I started last Monday.

When you walk into the bar the ceiling is black tile, and, except for a few rugs, the floor is brown linoleum resembling hard wood. To the left that there is a long humidor featuring a variety of cigars, from a variety of companies, and with a variety of sizes. The air in the humidor, as in the bar area, is filled with the earthy smell of dried tobacco, but the lounge area also includes the faint smell of cigar smoke–like incense in a Buddhist or Christian monastery lifting up the prayers of the community. In the front of the room are wine colored couches and chairs, and towards the back is a round table surrounded by the big, black leather chairs fitted for the movers and shakers of business. People get their cigars and smoke their day chased with coffee, or sometimes beer. 

The regulars are friendly people with robust, smiling personalities. The energy they bring when they meet up with the other regulars is quite soothing, but it’s still people energy that taxes me.

This is my second week of training, and I’ve worked almost every day because my manager wants to make sure I am familiar enough with the food and drink menu before he leaves me to myself. Not to mention, more hours means more money in the bank for food, bills, and rent. I haven’t had any real time to myself since Friday. Saturday, I closed with a co-worker, and didn’t get home until 2:30 in the morning. I finally crashed at 3:30, and woke up at 6:38 to prepare Ronnie’s coffee, breakfast, and lunch. I took her to work, went to MoJoe’s to write and read, went to mass at St. Mary’s, went home to gather the laptop, go to Starbucks to write, and picked up Ronnie from work. I crashed at 7:30 that evening, and woke up to do it again.

This morning, as we were getting ready, Ronnie noticed how irritable I was. “Walk me through your thoughts–why are you so annoyed?” I thought about it, “I don’t know.” I went on to tell her how I won’t have a day off until Sunday before I go to my permanent part time schedule. She understood immediately that I’ve had no time to decompress. She offered to leave me to myself in the evenings, but her presence doesn’t drain me. Because she worked Sunday, she is off Friday. “How about I take you to work Friday so you can spend the morning in deep meditation and relaxation. It’s not much, but it should help.” Sounds good to me.

That’s the issue with introversion and how I live my life with my chemistry. If don’t get time to decompress and recharge, I am no good to anyone, especially myself. I filter every circumstance through my rattled brain, and I become miserable. I try to keep the misery to myself–moreso when I’m at work. If I don’t get the necessary reboot, I won’t be able to function at even the most rudimentary level.

Thankfully, my training is temporary, and I’m doing my little bits with mindfulness and tea to keep me steady in the moment.

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