Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Introversion, extroversion, shyness and falling asleep

So the beginning of this week was taken up by a whirlwind trip to the lovely island of Louisville, Kentucky to do data collection at Jefferson County Public Schools and also to examine the natural limits of my stress tolerance to see whether it actually is possible to pop all the tendons in your neck and have them come flying outward kind of like when a hot air balloon drops all those tethers tying it down and then floats off, only in this case I guess my head wouldn't float away, it would probably sort of roll off my shoulders and make a sick thumping noise when it hit the ground.

As I mentioned in a previous blogentry (by which I mean an entry in my blog, not the Blog Gentry, of which I am not a part because I kept showing up to functions spitting drunk), I was concerned initially not even about the work I would have to do on this trip, but really about the sharing of a hotel room, but I overcame that by dragging Houseboy along with me under the pretense of him getting a nice look at lovely Louisville, which he did when he went to the zoo and terrorized the warthogs.

So, it was nice to have Houseboy along, but we still had to drive three and a half hours up and back with my advisor in the back seat, and he's a bit introverted and I'm a bit introverted and what this means is that conversation the whole way meant each of us coming up with an obviously forced topic like "Where did you live before you moved to Nashville?" that led to about 0.48 minutes of conversation and then a dead period and then someone else would ask something scintillating like "How big is Louisville, anyway?" and the process would repeat itself. I was practicing a bit of meditation I made up in which I stare out the window and remind myself that I don't want to talk anyway and I'm not being graded on my ability to make conversation, so staring at the trees is just fine and if he really wants to talk he can think of something clever to say, it's not all my job just because I'm in the front seat and besides it's sexist to assume that the woman will have to make everyone feel comfortable and keep up the hostess thing while men are allowed to be strong and silent and whatever, when my advisor fell asleep. Like, head lolling to the side drool coming down the chin asleep.





  1. This reminds me of one of my poor friends who ended up on a road trip (a TWELVE HOUR road trip) alone with her advisor one of the most frightening men I've ever met. He's 5'6" tall and super intimidating and she has a habit of saying exactly the wrong thing.

    She made it through, but only because neither of them said a word.

  2. My advisor is 80 years old, 5 feet tall and a former professional body builder. I cannot conceive of road-trippin' with him... in his shag carpeted camper-van. No. No. Nope. No. I'm going to go think about warthogs now.

  3. shine: In some ways the intimidating advisor seems like it would be easier, because I wouldn't feel bad about sucking at conversation. My advisor is actually a great guy, we just combine personalities for maximum awkwardness.

    Howard: Definitely avoid the camper-van. That's just asking for weirdness.