I am, as you have no doubt figured by now, rather more of an introvert than anything. Finding some peace and quiet to sit with a good book and a cup of coffee is a pretty much a life goal. My husband, on the other hand, is an extrovert. As much as he loves hanging out at home, he actually starts getting twitchy if he doesn’t get to marinate in the wildly swirling energy of a group of people. Needless to say, Tokyo is a good place for him.
The only real trouble is that he’s caught between wanting to do what I need him to do for my own mental health (take our son off for a few hours so I can have some peace and quiet at home, turn the TV down fairly low, that sort of thing,) and honestly not understanding what I need. To him, going out with a large group and spending hours talking and eating and going to karaoke 7is as necessary as breathing. To me… well I like a few hours of that, but it’s exhausting beyond words after a while. I’m pretty classic. I need alone time to recover from being social, with fairly few exceptions.
So the other night we went out to celebrate two friends’ birthdays. It was a wonderful day that was half spent just us as a family, wandering around and seeing the sights as we slowly made our way to the restaurant we were meeting everyone at. Once there, we had a fun, slightly odd meal of almost all pies, and they wrapped up while I wrangled The Boy. On the train home there was a flurry of texting, then silence, then more texting. The Boy and I were ready to get home and crawl into bed, but my husband? He wanted to go back, meet everyone for karaoke at another station not far from us.
So, in a park in Tokyo, on a warm autumn evening, I had to call him to task. It was an entertaining conversation that never quite reached the argument stage, where I told him to go. Go play with his friends, sing loud songs about giant robots and argue about whose turn it is next. He wanted to stay with us, go through the whole bath-and-bed routine with our son. Watch whatever recorded on the DVR that day. He wanted to take care of us and make sure we weren’t left out, even though he reeeeeally wanted to go out and play with his friends, and I wanted to go home and take a long bath.
I feel for him. It’s hard, not understanding at such a visceral level what makes someone else tick. I don’t see the appeal, myself, of karaoke. Or of loud restaurants and spending hours at an arcade with the flashing lights and overwhelming noise. But my husband does. He thrives on it. And I love him, so I send him off. And he tries to understand the other side of that coin, to help me get the time I need, but I think that ultimately it’s much easier for an introvert to send someone away than it is for an extrovert to leave someone behind.