A couple of things you might not have guessed from my recent blog posts: That I had a really, really busy week, and also that I am an extreme introvert, at least in the way that I understand the term.
A lot of people think of introverts as people who are really shy, and that’s not me. I’m not particularly shy. I’ll walk right up to you on the sidewalk and start talking to you if I feel like it and it doesn’t stress me out in the slightest. The thing is, though – I usually don’t feel like it.
When you’re an introvert, it’s not that you always keep to yourself, it’s more like that’s your comfort zone – solitude. That’s where you go to charge your batteries. My wife is the opposite – her comfort zone is sitting around with a group of people, talking, talking, talking. The winter drives her crazy, because social functions tend to slow down except for Christmas – and Christmas makes her want to sort of barf. She’s a complicated woman.
What I like to do is have everybody leave me the hell alone, and I like to retreat someplace and just hang out in my own head. Ideally, I like to sit in the middle of the woods with a fire and some whiskey and a couple of dogs. Usually I have to settle for a basement rec room, and some beer, and a couple of dogs.
If I don’t get this type of solitude on a regular basis, I start to crack. I need about one out of three or four evenings to belong completely to myself, where I can sit and read or write or watch television with my mouth hanging open, farting. That’s my comfort zone, that’s where I’m happy. That’s being an introvert.
So this weekend, after working maybe sixty hours and still managing to post eight hundred words every day, after then working some more on Saturday, I wasn’t in a really festive Halloween mood. Marilyn and the two younger girls were going to a Halloween party and Bethany had to work, and so I clocked myself out of parenting for an evening, bustled them all out the door, and slammed it behind them.
They had taken both of the functioning automobiles with them, so there was no danger that I’d end up hanging out with Shawn or anything. Before they left, they all trashed the house like an old Quiet Riot video, in the process of putting on their costumes and all that, and I puttered around in the aftermath like Wil Smith in I Am Legend, minus the zombies.
Checked the fridge – exactly seven beers in there. That would be plenty. Then I checked the cable box for monster movies – Ah, there was Predators, the spinoff of the sequel to the spinoff of two other sequels. I reached in and turned my brain down to “stupid” and ordered a pizza. Dragged the big comfy chair right into the middle of the floor, directly in front of the HD television.
Just what the doctor ordered. Sure, I might have looked a little mental patienty, sitting in a room so trashed it looked like the CIA had been round, looking for microfilm or something, and yes, I was aware that my family was off having fun while I sat in front of a flickering, electronic screen in the dark, and that some people wouldn’t think that’s totally healthy, but I don’t get to tell my brain what it needs to quiet down. I’ve never in my life won an argument like that against my own brain.
And the movie was unremarkable. Fairly exciting, I guess. It didn’t really screw around, a bunch of folks just show up on a planet and then the Predators show up to hunt them. When someone says, “They’re hunters – and we’re the prey!” – it’s not very striking anymore. Not very dramatic. “The Most Dangerous Game” is nosing up toward it’s hundredth birthday, and aside from alien hunters with alien guns, this flick doesn’t bring much more to the table.
Even when Morpheus shows up, he just seems tired and possibly drunk. The last time I saw him, he was in a weirdly straight-faced role as a Mr. Miyagi-style Spelling Bee instructor – taking a little girl through the exact same combat lessons Danny had to go through in The Karate Kid. Except, with regards to spelling words. Dead serious, dramatic music, awestruck spectators and everything – holy crap, she’s the greatest um, speller in the world!
Morpheus shows up looking like the Wachowski brothers really broke his spirit when they downgraded him to some kind of aw-shucks sidekick in The Crappy Matrix Sequels, like they had to drag him out of a bar across the street from the set, every time it was time for one of his scenes.
And one of the Predators has a skeletal jawbone as part of his helmet, making him look like a grinning monster from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. So the movie was half-serious, and half ridiculing itself, and I’m not sure it knew about the second half.
I didn’t care. Monsters, ray guns, some other planet. There were some barky-barkin’ Predator dogs that looked like Battle Porcupines. A multicultural cast of racial stereotypes and several white stereotypes – Reluctant Leader Guy, Super Hot Sidekick Girl, Sissified Doctor Boy, etc. – to balance everything out.
The Chinese guy found his own sweet Samurai sword, too! Didn’t really help him, though – he wound up dead, but he took one of the Predators to Valhalla with him, where they get to have a big pizza party, if my understanding of Asian Religious Philosophy and Whatnot is as accurate as it seems like it is in my head.
And when the dust settled, I was right back to my old self, ready to resume my work and parenting and blogging duties. You can’t spell “dysfunctional” without “functional,” you know.