Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Over at NPR today we find an article about a new book entitled Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain.  The book appears to be (at least in part) about cultural, economic and technological shifts of the 20th Century that encouraged the rise of extroversion and, as a consequence, have caused the country to become a very noisy place.

I don’t really have an opinion about the sociology of it all, but I was tremendously amused by the following Are You An Introvert Test that accompanies the article.  Talk about memes falling into one’s lap!  Apparently, the more of these that are applicable to you, the more of an introvert you are.  Shall we play?

1. I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.  True.  At a group table in a restaurant or at a party, half the time I can’t even understand what’s being said.

2.  I often prefer to express myself in writing.  True.  You wouldn’t guess it from the amount of posting I do here, but most people consider Real Life Robbo to be rayther quiet and tight-lipped.

3.  I enjoy solitude.  True.  Not that I get much of it.  It’s an absolutely critical part of my day to stay up late by myself to do a little reading, listening to musick or watching a moovie.

4.  I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers.  True, ol’ Robbo loathes the cult of celebrity.  On the other hand, I honestly wouldn’t mind if somebody handed me a large wodge of dosh.

5.  I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.  True, if by “small talk” one means the kind of nattering that goes on at parties, meetings and the like.  On the other hand, people who can only talk “in depth” about topics that matter to them in that breathless, hyper-earnest way give me the willies.  There must be room for fluff and banter as well.

6.  People tell me that I’m a good listener.  True.  In my professional capacity, I do a lot of investigatory interviews and I seem to be pretty good about getting past people’s guard.   It sometimes occurs to me that I might have been a pretty good psychiatrist.

7.  I’m not a big risk-taker.  Well, I suppose that depends.  I’m not one for jumping out of airplanes or off bungee towers, nor do I have any desire to throw everything away in pursuit of some Big Business Idea.   On the other hand, I don’t think it unreasonable to describe my journey to Holy Mother Church as a pretty big leap of faith.

8.  I enjoy work that allows me to “dive in” with few interruptions.  Interruptions by other people, that is.  On the other hand, I find I can’t function as well without being able to interrupt myself, if that makes sense.

9.  I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.  True, much to the chagrin of the gels.

10. People describe me as “soft-spoken” or “mellow.”  Actually, “reserved” and “aloof” are probably closer to the mark.

11.  I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it’s finished.  True.

12. I dislike conflict.  I’ll certainly stand my ground when needs be, but I’m no “Happy Warrior”.

13.  I do my best work on my own.  See 11 above.

14. I tend to think before I speak.  I actually remember a very distinct point when I was about 14 or 15 when I realized that I was shooting my mouth off without thinking first and, as a result, often hitting myself in the foot.  From that point forward, I went out of my way to engage the braims first.  I don’t think I really perfected this practice until some time in my mid-20’s.

15. I feel drained after being out and about, even if I’ve enjoyed myself.  Heck, I feel drained at the mere thought of going out and about.

16. I often let calls go through to voice mail. Caller ID is one of the most wonderful inventions of the late 20th Century.

17.  If you had to choose, I’d prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.  True, although again, I often don’t have much choice in the matter.

18.  I don’t enjoy multitasking.  False.  I’ve mentioned here before the fact that I get bored very, very easily.  When I’ve got a job to do that bores me, it’s absolutely critical that I have one or more other tasks at hand in order to provide some distraction.

19.  I can concentrate easily.  False.  See 18 above.   As regular port swillers may know, I have a scatter-shot brain.  I can concentrate easily enough when the subject engages me, but at the slightest whiff of boredom, my mind goes whizzing off in all kinds of directions.

20.  In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.  Well, this one’s a toss-up.  I think that if the class involves something that really interests me, I prefer the seminar setting.  (See #5 above.)  On the other hand, if it’s the sort of dreary training courses that I have to endure from time to time these days, I prefer lectures because at least then one can generally tune out.

So there you go.  Ol’ Robbo scores 17 for 20 on the Introvert Scale, which ought to be of no surprise to those who know him in real life.

So remember if you ever see me that I’m not scowling, I’m introverting.