It’s time to party hearty on day #4 of ‘The Extrovert and Introvert’ week!
Years ago, in the 1980s, I planned an anniversary weekend with my first wife, Kathy. It was a big deal; an overnight trip to San Francisco’s Union Square with a stay at the St. Francis Hotel, a dinner at Postrio, the hottest restaurant on the west coast at the time, finishing with a fun night attending the play ‘Noises Off’. It was glittery, fun and filled with sounds, tastes, smells and sights that stimulated and entertained. It went off without a hitch and we had a great time.
Well, ok. I had a great time. I thought Kathy was having a great time too. But later, on our way home, I asked her how she liked it, fully expecting her to be swooning over all of it and especially my exquisite romantic effort. Her response? It was ok but she didn’t like it all that much. Say WHAT? Are you kidding me? How could she not like it? My feelings were hurt, I felt like she had no respect for how hard I worked to put it all together to give her a great anniversary weekend. I was bummed.
She said the weekend I planned was too much. Maybe one of those things we did in the city would have been ok, but put them all together and it was too much. It was too stimulating, too sensory, too noisy and crowded and bright. I asked her what would she have wanted the weekend to be like. She said she would have preferred a quieter, more natural setting, maybe in the woods, in a cabin, going hiking, etc.
My Mistake, a Cautionary Tale
What I figured out later was that I had indeed planned the perfect anniversary weekend….for me, the extrovert. I didn’t really plan it for her, the introvert. I didn’t know her well enough to realize that doing all at one time filled her with anxiety, not joy. It didn’t excite her, it exhausted her.
I wish I could say I ceased to make those sorts of mistakes but I didn’t. It took me a long time to pay attention to who she was instead of who I wanted her to be. I think I am better about that now in my second marriage, to Linda. I am sure she sees times when I still don’t see her clearly, but I definitely pay more attention than I used to.
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman
Quote by Criss Jami, 1987 – not dead yet, American poet