Being Alone. (More Thoughts on Being an Introvert)

Health

“Why do all you introverts always post stuff about being introverts?”

My co-worker said to me while unloading a sheet pan full of almond bostock.

She had a point.
We do.

Considering what I’m about to write, will only perpetuate the fact. And I’m okay with that.
I should also just go ahead and get this out of the way.

When I read things about being introverted, I get all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Like I’ve found my tribe. Like there are other people out there who hope their Friday night plans get cancelled.

But not all the time. That’s a misconception of our breed. We do love you. We love your company and your conversation. But we also love when you give us the space to collect ourselves. What we need from you is to be okay with our aloneness. Because we are. I can understand why that can be hard to grasp.

Also, there has been a lot of studies and books and articles in the past few years that have really taken off. Susan Cain, is an example. Introverts, look her up and read her book while you’re sipping tea early on a Saturday evening with Downton Abbey playing in the background.

I do love personality tests. I loved that aspect of Psychology. Something I could have spent ten-minutes online doing, rather than spending $700 learning in three months.

But it is what it is. And we all know I’m kidding, sort of.

I think it also helps people diagnose themselves. Instead of that alienating feeling of being by yourself, you embrace it. You own it. That time is yours and your time has immense value. Sometimes you do look at it as a gift to others. Like, hey, I’m paying attention to you and talking to you for a large chunk of time. That’s a big deal for me. And when others begin to value that in you, being best good friends is in order.

And you are correct in assuming that no one person falls into extremes. There are levels and shades of grey. Maybe even 50, if you’re into that kind of thing.

For me, this is how it goes:

When I come home from work, I have to decompress somewhere quiet for at least an hour. I need to gather myself. I can make it going from one hectic thing to another. But it will drain me much faster and I won’t be able to process things nearly as well. (‘Hectic’ being up for debate, depending on which side you fall under. Sometimes hectic is answering the phone.)

And yes, the phone! I hardly ever pick up the phone unless I’m waiting for something business related, someone prescheduled calling me at a certain time, or a close family member.
Don’t take it personally.

I’m just not ready.

Which is why texting is brilliant. It gives us time to respond. It also gives us the space to give you options.

“If you don’t want to eat there, that’s fine. Is there something else you want to do?”
So on and so forth.

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I know this seems tedious. But it’s really not. It’s just how our brains work. Less spontaneity. More thought out plan of action.

Surprises…are hit and miss. I’m usually not a fan of being surprised. But it depends who’s surprising. Someone who I’m close to might understand what may or may not overwhelm me. Even if it does, I won’t show it. But it’ll take a toll.

Writing it all out, sometimes makes me feel like a huge bummer. But it’s not the case. I find joy in quiet and noise. With company and in solitude. It all comes down to your health. How do you feel healthy? How do you feel energized and able to give to others? And how do you find yourself giving to others?

This is a reason cooking has been great for me. I get to spend time doing my job, taking care of others while not directly interacting all the time. I’m not rude to anyone or dismiss them, but I can work twice as long doing my own thing, than if I have to consistently be in communication with other people.

If you can take away something from this, it would be me telling you that being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely.

Sure, there are always times where being alone can make you feel lonely. And that’s okay. Listen to that. And if it’s something that’s hurting you, then by all means, don’t let it get the best of you. Because there’s nothing wrong with you. Okay?

But also, to many introverts, being alone is how we function best. But it’s not the only way we function.

So there, here’s another article you can post to your Facebook about how being an introvert is normal and that you are a proper functioning human being.

Extroverts, we got nothin’ but love for ya. We are glad you exist in this world.

After all, who else would we be attracted to?

Josh Dreams of Pickle Juice

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“Pickle juice!”

I woke at 4am a few days ago, and this is what came out of my mouth.
I frantically typed it in the “notes” section of my phone, along with something that says, “beets with skin on, fennel and apple” and some flight confirmation code that I used to check-in to the airport last week.

If it’s any sign of things to come, sleep is not looking very promising.

Since I began cooking as a means of income, there are some truths that are important to always keep in the forefront.

Use everything you can.

Get the most out of a celery stalk.

Use potato skins.

Keep the peels of garlic, onions, carrots and celery leaves for stock. Yes, the peels have the most flavor, usually.

Corn cobs make great stock.

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I have become the master pickler at Woodlawn. It’s not something I was into before coming in to cook, but a mild interest. Mainly because I’m Southern and although pickles aren’t strictly Southern, they are important to the culture of preserving.
I used to can everything, but we went through them so fast, that I just decided to make big batches of quick pickles. Delicious, fast, easy. (And it’s Portland. We supposedly pickle everything. Fair enough.)

I say quick in the sense that you make a brine and let the veggies sit over night. But, you can also toss some radish with a little sugar and salt and get sort of the same effect.

At the end of the day, you’re left with lots of pickling juice. I’m a proponent of cider vinegar. I swear I could drink the stuff straight. Sometimes I do with a little honey, lemon and hot water. It’s good for you, so they say.

It’s sweet. It’s a little more pricey than straight distilled vinegar, but it’s good.

And since we are so close to getting our liquor license at the shop, I’ve been thinking of ways to use it.

Hence, the 4am epiphany where I thought, “Pickle juice! Bloody Mary! Yes!”
While this thought is obvious to most, my strong willed sub-conscious had obviously picked up on it before I could. Which is to say maybe id is a better cook than me. (Oh, see what I did there? Thank you C+ psychology degree.)

Then I began scouring the net for Bloody Mary recipes, coming along one that used pickled okra juice. And from then on, you can start building what it is you actually want.

If you do decide to start messin’ around with pickles, go crazy! Adding things like clove, anise, coriander and thai chiles — adds a whole new spectrum to your brine.

Give it a shot.

And maybe you too will be lucky enough to dream about the glories of pickle juice!

Happy picklin’, my friends.