Being a bike riding introvert from Seattle, I’ve started noticing a handful of common misconceptions out here…
How’s that for an intro?
Anyway, I haven’t had enough time to devote to ferreting out the causes of each of these, what they have in common is that they have all been applied to me in the ~5 months since I switched coasts. The first is that since I shy away from large gatherings of people, I must not like people at all. Wrong. As I’ve talked about before, being an introvert means absolutely nothing in terms of my relationship with people in general. It has everything to do with how I handle being in large groups of people, say at a summer street fair or large concert (hint: not well). It has to do with what I do for fun and relaxation (go for a walk/hike, read, meditate). And it has to do with how I choose to structure my time, both in terms of a working environment and free time.
If given a choice of how to spend my weekend, let’s say there’s a street fair or an opportunity to play disc golf with a couple of other people – I’m going to pick the latter every time. I choose to cultivate a few choice relationships over meeting as many new people as possible. I pick who I call a friend carefully and cherish the small number currently in that circle.
Notice what I didn’t say is that I don’t like people and want nothing to do with any of them ever again. Yet that’s how a lot of people react when I use the word Introvert. If you know people that sound like how I’ve just described myself, and you find them declining invitations to go out after work or to a ballgame, instead of writing them off, try changing tactics and invite them over for drinks at your place with just a couple of other people. Or try a smaller, more intimate gathering like a lecture or book reading. The right environment can make all the difference.
The second misconception I’ve run into is that since I ride a bike, I’m either a racer or a hipster. This is easy to clear up – I don’t own spandex, my bikes are steel not carbon, and they have multiple gears, freewheels and brakes. Oh, and my pants fit. Don’t worry if you don’t know what some of those things mean, suffice it to say this is a misconception as well. If I had to classify what sort of bike rider I am, I guess I’m a utility cyclist (I’m planning a post where I cover why I don’t like that term that much either). I ride to work, I ride to run errands, basically I ride when others might drive. I prefer human powered, human speed transportation. I once read that the human brain processes information at the equivalent of 3 miles per hour. That means that the faster we go, the less we can process of our surroundings. My first choice for transportation is always to walk, which interestingly enough is on average approximately 3 miles per hour. A close second is riding, which I’ve averaged out to about 10 miles per hour for my commute and most errands, baring serious hills (which I’m finding to be much less of an issue here than in Seattle).
The last most common misconception is that since I’m from Seattle I must be a bed-wetting liberal who wants to see my gay-married friends have state funded healthcare while adopting as many minority babies as they can as well as sponsoring baby seals. I have to say this one actually isn’t that far off.
For the most part, my political leanings are left of center to a greater or lesser extent. In some ways, I’m bordering on libertarian, in others I’m quite centrist. and for the most part, I just don’t care. Don’t mistake that for apathy. I simply feel that the two party system is so outdated and so corrupt (by special interest groups and corporations) that it fails to represent the interest of pretty much anyone other than the politicians.
I’m not sure whether I cleared anything up or not…honestly don’t care either way. I like writing and this DID help me filter out my feelings on a couple of things, so there you go. Progress. Comments are open if you want to share any thoughts, just keep it civil. Thanks.