Introvert Under the Big Top


At the last book signing for Soul Search , I heard circus music. It was not very loud, the crowd was admittedly small (but growing since the last event!) and the colors in the meeting room were subdued. So, why was I hearing circus music? I think the music may be a remnant from corporate meetings that began playing in my head because I encountered some kind of trigger. Maybe this is a lesser form of PTSD.

My name is Reyna and I am a recovering corporate refugee. I have witnessed strange things that I cannot un-see.  For instance, at a hotel venue where a different corporate group was also meeting, I saw a group of women hurriedly primping in front of the mirror in the ladies room. They wore a uniform of sorts: dangerously high stiletto heels and overtly sexy clothing cut in a fashion that resembled office wear, but glittering with sequins. They spoke seriously in quiet voices about normal business issues, but when the loudspeakers began blasting something annoyingly upbeat and trendy, they rolled their eyes in unison and then went rushing into their assigned auditorium making whooo-hooo noises. Turns out these women were regional sales managers for a lingerie company. This is what happens when bizarre corporate culture meets enforced conformity. By this logic, to demonstrate what a great fit I was in my corporate environment, I should have been popping pills, while plastered in band-aids and surrounded by a cloud of baby powder. On the surface, it seemed that the lingerie company had created a hostile work environment for introverts. However, all the women engaged in a group eye roll. I would expect approximately 25% of that population to be introverts assuming no selection were involved during hiring (and introverts have long ago learned how to fake it for interviews), thus it appears that this company has succeeded in alienating both the extroverts and the introverts. Truly exceptional.

But I digress…

As I think back to the book signing, the thing that turned on the circus music must have been the LCD projector. There have been many LCD projectors and many presentations in my past and hearing yet another projector warm up probably tipped the balance into auditory hallucination. Things became even stranger when we got to the search dog demo. I use this as a way to get people to come to the event. Yes, I pimp my dog out to sell books and no, I’m not proud of it. Don’t judge me. It works.

Zackie-O the search dog is an introvert. I have written a whole blog devoted to that topic. Normally, when she does the demo, I’ll take her through the crowd and let her sample their scents to rule them out. She’s happy to take a whiff and then move on, never inclined to be petted. I’ll then present her with the scent of the subject she needs to track (usually, my husband Rich, since Zackie-O is highly motivated to find him) and we’re off to the races. During this particular event, everything went as expected until we began tracking the scent of her subject. Zackie-O began running huge loops around me, getting back on the trail, running another loop, getting back on the trail… After the second time she did it, I realized that she was hamming it up for the spectators. There was nothing in how the wind was blowing or in the topography of the terrain that would affect scent distribution and warrant these great, looping runs. She was playing to the crowd and deliberately upstaging me. W.C. Fields had the right idea about working with animals.

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Introvert Under the Big Top

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