Real Introvert

We are going to Florida for two weeks, and Klara has already stipulated with me the number of days she’ll forego the beach and stay in her room alone, playing and listening to her books. I have a feeling that in spite of her shockingly good people’s skills she’s an introvert. You’ve got to be an introvert to prepare for a long-awaited family vacation with a large family group and think about how you will need alone days so well in advance, right?

I wonder if introversion and extraversion are genetic. People skills clearly aren’t as evidenced by the fact that N and I produced an extremely popular, friendly child. N and I weren’t popular in our school years to the extent that is almost comical. When I ask N, “so what were your friends like in high school?”, he asks “Friends?”” with the same sincerest dazed look as if I asked about the name of his pet crocodile.

8 thoughts on “Real Introvert

  1. Yeah, it’s probably genetic. My middle son is like Klara — great people skills, extremely popular among friends and always was, since daycare, but he needs his space and quiet undisturbed time or he gets miserable (this became painfully obvious in puberty). I consider myself to have pretty decent social skills and can emulate extroversion with the best of them, but have to take a nap after every lecture with a large class because all the face time and being ‘on’ like that wipes me out, and similar after every people-heavy engagement.

    My husband is a more of a stereotypical introvert, like N probably, in that he doesn’t want or need people ever, never really craved or had many friends (the girlfriend and now wife and kids are all the people he needs).

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  2. If it’s related to a certain genetic cluster, it’s matrilineal recessive, meaning that it can skip a generation in its full form and then be expressed good and hard.

    This could be worse: imagine growing up in a family where everyone is an extravert but you, and their idea of fun is to drag you to lots of physical activities when you would be quite happy on your own doing such things as wandering through the town and looking in book shops.

    Then when you’re thoroughly worn out by your not-understanding-at-all family because of all of the stuff that’s blown through your neural reserves, you take a bunch of crap about it because they think you are being moody or irritable.

    This went on for sufficiently long that after university I decided the best way to deal with most of them was not to deal with them at all, mostly on the basis that my friends (incredibly heavily weighted toward INTP, INTJ, and INFP types) were working out as a better ad hoc family than the one I’d been born into.

    So do be careful about how other people push introverts into expressing the “social” parts.

    Klara may in fact be expressing that you do too much on vacation and she needs a few days of breaks from it for what she believes is her kind of vacation time.

    Many of us who are introverts (especially NT types) are simulating being “social”, “gregarious”, and so on because it’s part of an unvoiced strategy to try to fit in better with people around us fully knowing that we don’t.

    If you have ever thought that you could live in Germany because people there don’t blow smoke up your backside with being overly nice, overly familiar, and so forth, chances are pretty good you’re one of these kinds of introverts. 🙂

    It is so bad in my case (as an INTJ type of introvert) that I encouraged my girlfriend not to move in with me, but instead to buy a house nearby so that we can have our own “me spaces” where we set up things, leave them as we like them, and don’t have to deal with disruptions in those places.

    She didn’t feel rebuffed at all: this sounded totally logical to her.

    It’s not that she’s fully kicked out, she does have a shed over here that’s been set up with aircon and all of the stuff to do things without going back to her place.

    And I do have a large coffee cup over at her place! 🙂

    But I don’t do her laundry, she doesn’t do my laundry, and so on and so forth, and all of those “domestic dramas” seem to be noticeably less pronounced, as in I can’t remember clearly the last time there was one of those.

    As for friends from “high school”, sixth form, or earlier?

    I started over completely while at university.

    Is it Naples this time, BTW? There used to be a great book shop in the old downtown, but that was back in the days when Robert Ludlum used to have a place there. The B&N on Tamiami Trail has never been anything particularly special.

    Maybe Klara would be up for a book shop trip if you can find one that’s worth the bother.

    But in general, they’re rather lacking on the Gulf Coast side of Florida.

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    1. We are going to Fort Myers Beach, and there is a very nice bookstore there that sells used books. Travelers bring the books they finished on vacation there, and it’s fascinating what people choose to read on the beach.

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      1. When I have time, I’ll do more than drop some names about what you like about Naples.

        In the meantime: Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, their firm DPZ, their architecture book publisher at Princeton, and their project at Seaside, Florida.

        There are in fact design reasons why you like it. 🙂

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        1. Wow, fascinating. I never heard of them before but this explains a lot. He’s a Spaniard and she’s a Pole. How could their aesthetic not speak to me?

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      2. “Travelers bring the books they finished on vacation there”

        I like the European habit of there being a place in the hotel where travelers can drop books they’ve finished or pick up new ones. I’ve never seen it in the US (and didn’t recognize what it was at first in Europe… and was afraid to take anything…).

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        1. At my favorite place in Florida there’s a whole closet dedicated to book exchange. Unfortunately, I can’t go there anymore because it became hugely expensive after COVID.

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  3. I went looking for something a bit more accessible about development in Naples, Florida than some architectural write-up, and I found something you may appreciate.

    Apparently Tucker Carlson had Andres Duany on his show as part of a segment in February 2022 called “Ugly Buildings”, a fifty minute segment on the all-too-regular state of beige bland suburban model architecture as the pattern defining nearly everything in the US.

    Look for an article on Curbed titled “The New Urbanists Make Friends With Tucker Carlson” by Alissa Walker with a date of 25 February 2022, because once again your blog software eats any post I make with a URL link in it.

    But the short history of Naples relative to the parts you probably like?

    I can do that here now that I have a few moments.

    1960s and earlier: Naples implements a grid street pattern based on standard US colonial measurements, creates 5th Avenue as main shopping district with typical low-rise buildings for a sub-5k population target, orientates the rest of the town along Tamiami Trail (US 41).

    1970s: Naples enters long boom phase as desirable destination for North and Midwest escapees, nearly 50k by the end of the decade, numerous infrastructure projects supporting suburban model of building.

    1980s: Nearby Marco Island begins its long build-out as condo haven and “fingers of land” model where stacked suburbia coexists with sprawled suburbia that features newly constructed canal frontage for nearly every new lot.

    1990s: Naples downtown’s slow slide and Naples City Hall have produced an exodus of people who don’t see much likeable in the new sprawlburg, and they hire Andres Duany and DPZ to fix what’s wrong with 5th Avenue.

    2000s: Duany’s 5th Avenue plans eventually see implementation and turn the old Florida post-sprawlburg downtown into something with a touch of Havana, drawing on Duany’s roots.

    2010s: New projects in the surrounding area and planned retrofits to support the existing 5th Avenue extension continue to change the Old Naples downtown core.

    2020s and onward: Duany keeps coming back at the request of City Hall to offer architectural improvements and analyses that are in the main accepted by the city and county planners.

    Basically Naples is one of these ongoing success stories of New Urbanism that you learn about as part of a neo-classical architecture education along with such places as Poundbury in Dorset.

    The same architect influenced both, plus they’ve worked together: Leon Krier designed Poundbury for the Prince of Wales, but he also worked with DPZ to design Seaside in the Florida Panhandle.

    If you want to see some really gorgeous town architecture, pick up one of Leon Krier’s books from Princeton Architectural Press. Your university library probably has a few or perhaps you could ask to borrow one from an architectural school colleague.

    Essentially I agree with such people as Jim Kunstler that America’s solution to the big city machine will be to revisit old towns and old mid-tier cities such as Naples, but the main problem with Naples is that it’s grown too much around its comfortable existence as a retirement destination, and for that reason it will continue to grow into a Golden New Urbanist Suburb.

    But before that’s actually sustainable, as in these places having some kind of supply region to draw from, people have to be willing to exit the cities and city-like suburbs for rural areas because there aren’t enough people doing what’s needed in them at this point.

    You do know that I used to live a few blocks off Brickell Avenue in Miami, right?

    The rent for such a place now could pay for the mortgage for a small farm in North Florida now.

    So you won’t find me visiting Naples, and I don’t really like what’s happened to 30A around Seaside. Naples is also a bit of a drive from North Florida, and I rarely made the drive from Miami.

    Cookie-cutter New Urbanism is just as bad in many ways as Sprawlburg USA. What I don’t like about it involves some philosophical and engineering leftovers that seem to have been imported from the Soviet constructivist period, although at least the New Urbanists generally have ways to fix the “linear city” model within small towns.

    But I can see why you can find it fun to visit, so perhaps you might enjoy a brief vacation in a holiday rental up on 30A near Seaside, plus Sundog Books is worth a visit there.

    As for this suburban model architecture I’ve described, it has a name in the US: Levittown.

    The UK got there earlier with Welwyn Garden City and the “City Beautiful” movement, BTW.

    Of course, when you marry WGC with gridded car sprawl, you get Milton Keynes.

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