Culture

I don’t need to sit at the head of the table

When I’m watching television these days, more often than not, I’m watching pre-recorded shows on my DVR. I don’t have time to watch live shows. I’m tired from work. Have more work to do at home. And have to first watch my son’s nightly cartoon shows. How does an adult catch up with popular culture nowadays? I record hundreds of shows and am thus able to watch what I want when I want it. We are living in a world of instant gratification. 

I like watching my shows late at night when everyone else is asleep. I get to have “me” time where I can laugh or be outraged at what I am watching and no one is there to wonder about my reactions. I am an extroverted introvert. I like a certain amount of social interactions but I most definitely like my quiet, me, alone time. 

Interestingly, I have met a colleague who hates alone time. She hates it so much that she schedules every moment of the day. She goes up to her room only to sleep once everyone is asleep. She hates spending alone time even in front of the television. That weirds me out. I don’t understand such fear of being alone. I treasure it. I hardly ever get alone time as I live in a full house and am the boss at work. 

Some bosses do get to spend alone time. They relish it. They see it as a benefit of being the boss. Those are the types that tend to sit at the head of the table. They have space to either side of them. They stretch out into the space. 

I’m the opposite. I sit in the middle of the table, squeezing myself in between others. As I noted I’m an extroverted introvert. My relationship with solitude is complicated. I definitely value quiet time but like to be in the thick of things. 

As I was driving down some random street in Los Angeles, I came across this mural. I refer to it as the mural of angry, lonely faces. These are the faces I expect to see at a head of a table. The teeth-baring, lips-snarling faces. 

These are lonely faces to me. Such faces exist in solitude. How many people could really be around such displays? Perhaps that is why it is lonely at the top? 
Sure, as a boss I realistically cannot be friends with many. I have to watch what I do. I’m a bit gregarious, although a curmudgeon. But I don’t feel the need to sit at the front. The few times I did sit in such a position, I had to lay down the law, sort of speak. Sitting in such a position truly does make it lonely at the top. And it is not for me. 
I may have been very random in reaching this end, but its all a head trip anyway, these days. 

7 replies »

  1. I thought this was a great post, and exemplifies the odd cross-culture we all seem to inhabit these days. Even being in front of the TV, for some people, is considered not being alone because you’re accompanied by TV characters. For some of us, true alone time is to be relished. I like the term “extroverted introvert” because I feel the same. I work in an area which requires lots of face-to-face contact, meetings, community outreach, and interactions with numerous people throughout the day, which I truly enjoy. But I’m always so relieved to come home where it’s quiet and peaceful, to recharge my batteries, and oftentimes there is only my little pug for company. So I can very much relate to this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know what you mean when you say “my relationship with solitude is complicated. I definitely value quiet time but like to be in the thick of things.”
    I’m pretty much that way, too. I suspect that a high percentage of people fit that description.

    Good essay!

    Like

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