Sunday, April 30, 2006

i vs. e vs. scientology

The aforementioned Very Nice Girl, whom I will call AK until she decides she’s down with being plastered all over my blog (or comes up with a better pseudonym, although this one is rooted in cleverness, as it is a combination of Ackleykid and a.k.a.)—anyway, that girl is into Myers-Briggs (she only likes him as a friend, luckily). If you work in any type of environment with cubicles, you’re probably familiar with it. You take a test and fall on one of two sides of four fences. For example, I’m an ISFJ: introvert, sensing, feeling, judging. AK is an INFP: introvert, intuiting, feeling, perceiving.

There is a lot to be said about personality tests and their validity and what the sheer act of taking of them reveals about the takers (I’m talking to you, all you folks who post the results of the “Which Smurf are you?” quiz on your MySpace page)—but one thing that particularly stood out to me was that Myers-Briggs said I only had a slight tendency toward introversion.

B once explained that being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean you’re shy or antisocial, just that you rejuvenate by being alone, where as extroverted people get energy by being around others. So, duh, I’m an introvert. Could a reader, writer, blogger and lazy-returner-of-phone-calls really be otherwise?

Except lately many indicators (besides Myers-Briggs) show my needle inching from “I” towards “E”:

  • I just got home after two grueling, people-packed days at the LA Times Festival of Books, and my first thought (okay, my second, after, I want pizza) was, I wonder if Daisye’s home, I haven’t talked to her in a while.
  • Wednesday night AK, her work friends and I did karaoke at the Brass Monkey in Koreatown. Okay, they did karaoke—AK even added some smooth mic-twirling moves to her rendition of “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” I did what I usually do, which is wait until someone starts harassing me about not singing, eventually making it more embarrassing not to sing than to sing badly, at which point I sign up. Except this time no one bothered me. And I almost signed up on my own. I almost scrawled “Shadowboxer” on a little slip of paper. One more drink and I truly would have, I swear. And this was sing-in-front-of-the-whole-bar karaoke, not private-room karaoke. And I am still in the trying-to-impress her stage; though arguably I could pull a Cameron-Diaz-in-My Best Friend’s Wedding, I feel like that strategy maybe only works if you’re Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend’s Wedding. All that and I still almost got up there and sang like a crazy, tone-deaf extrovert.
  • Friday night I was determined to do laundry and clean my apartment and blog. The washing machine in my building was out of service, so I called Cathy to see if I could use hers. She said, “Yeah, come on over. Erin and I are going to hear some ‘80s-style girl band at a bar in Torrance. Wanna come?” The correct answer was “No,” but of course my answer was “Sure, why not?” I neither cleaned nor blogged.
  • And, if all that is really just run-of-the-mill recounting of a fun week, how’s this for evidence: Today at the Festival, when someone asked—as people at large public events in LA so often do—“Do you want a free stress test?” I said, again, “Sure, why not?”

    If you don’t live in LA, you may not know what happens next, which is that you sit in a chair with your palms around what look like two skinny tin cans, which are hooked up to a meter with a little arrow that allegedly wobbles when you are stressed. A fresh-faced wannabe-actor type then asks you, rather abstractly, to “think of various people and situations in your life and how they’re going.” The arrow zips around, and the fresh-faced person proceeds to suggest that you should read L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics and perhaps become a Scientologist in order to solve the stressful problems he had no business asking about in the first place.

    I gave really vague answers and was bummed the test wasn’t multiple choice and asked the test-taker a lot of questions about himself. But the point is, I took the friggin’ thing. Because that’s the mood I’m in these days—I’m engaging people. I’m talking just to talk. I’m going out just to go out.
I figure at some point I’ll swing back the other way at least a bit. For the sake of my writing routine, I hope I do. I want my arrow to wobble like just two tiny hair-widths closer to “I.” But in the meantime, I’m feeling really unstressed.

12 comments:

jenny said...

Ohhh, man. You got hooked up to the e-meter? You are so gonna be hounded by scientologists now! Who should we call if you disappear?

And personally, I think moving from i to e is great, even if just temporarily. My friend Nat is calling 2006 the year of the Glamorous Life, so I say embrace your current extroversion!

Cheryl said...

More love this year than last, right? Except, L. Ron says I'm only allowed to love other Scientologists now.

Tracy Lynn said...

Dude, I once bought that Dianetics book, just to see what it was about, and now, ten years and two moves later, the Scientologists are STILL sending me newsletters and shit.
They must not know I take psych meds and see a therapist.

Schrodinger's Kitten said...

You talk to L. Ron? Maybe it IS true???!!!

Cheryl said...

I'd forgotten how anti-psychology Scientologists are, so when the dude was asking me to talk about my feelings, I said, "This is kind of like mini-therapy with a stranger, isn't it?" and he said, "No, not really."

Schrodinger's Kitten said...

We should totally go to the Scientologist pancake breakfast on sundays - for research, of course...using fake names. We dont want Tracy's thing to happen to us.

Tracy Lynn said...

Yeah, those buggers are persistent. But I guess a lot would depend on how good the pancakes are.

Schrodinger's Kitten said...

I hear they have all you can eat Chocolate-dipped strawberries. I might change my religion for that.

jenny said...

SK - Sure, they lure you in with the free strawberries, but then before you know it, you're having a silent birth and finding yourself $100,000 in debt trying to reach the next level of "clear."

I say stick with the Moonies. I just read that they control about 50% of the market that supplies fresh fish to sushi restaurants. Much better than strawberries anyday.

Cheryl said...

Don't forget the Quakers with their oats. Hmm, maybe that's why the Quaker religion isn't booming these days.

Anonymous said...

Myers-Briggs are women(Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers), so perhaps you should worry.

Cheryl said...

Damn. They probably have that whole smart-sexy-"I totally understand you, darling" thing going on too.