people watching--the perfect quiet time for an Introvert

August 13, 2012

(I wrote this blog post eight weeks ago, but never posted it.  I was too busy wondering if I should post it or not.)

School’s out.  Today is the first day of The Husband’s Summer vacation from teaching.    

I got a chance to get out this morning for a Quiet Time while he stayed home with our son.  After leaving McDonald's drive-through to get a cup of coffee, I headed to the park.  Being an introvert, a Quiet Time is vital.  It consists of me and silence, except for the thoughts in my head. 

If you’re an introvert you understand the importance of quiet time alone in order to maintain equilibrium in your life.  If you don’t get regular down time, you feel it and so does everyone around you.   (At least that’s the case with me.  Just ask The Husband.)

 My car faced the park.  A paved path surrounds the perimeter.  The especially wonderful thing about Southern California is that the weather is seldom bad.   There’s absolutely no excuse not to get out and get some exercise.  

After preparing my coffee--putting in the Splenda and cream, I open my purse size Bible, take a few sips and read a Scripture.  I look up, and I’m drawn into the full green trees and the beauty of the park. 

From a distance I see a tall man walking on the path.  As he comes into full view I see he’s probably Indian.  Tall and handsome.  He looks like a Bollywood actor.  He’s wearing navy blue sweat pants with a stripe down the side.  His button down collar shirt is tucked in, a sign that he’s more influenced by his culture than ours.  He’s not old and doesn’t look injured.  Why is he walking so slowly?   I guess he’s out for a morning stroll.    

Watching people I am pulled into stranger’s lives, often trying to get into their heads for the brief moment I see them.  I wonder who they are.  What’s their story.  Are you a Bollywood actor?  Or were you? 

I look down at my Bible and read a bit more. 

An older couple, late 60’s, early 70’s is walking fast and in sync which probably represents their lives together.   Active and harmonious.  (How do The Husband and I walk when we’re together?)  How long have they been together?  They look like high school sweethearts.  What is your secret to staying together so long?  (For all I know they are brother and sister.  Or cheating on their spouses and having a secret rendevouz.  But they’re not.  They’re happily married for years I can tell.)

Several minutes later an Indian woman walks by.  I barely get a glimpse of her.  She’s walking fast.  Attractive.  Is she married to the man I saw earlier?  They’d make a nice looking couple.   But if they’re together why is he so far ahead?    They probably don’t even know each other. 

I look back down to read. 

A few other people pass by but I’m not drawn into their lives.

Here comes the couple again.  They’re still in sync.  The wife slightly ahead.  They hold hands briefly.  So cute. 

Here comes a jogger.  It’s the Indian man again.  I guess the first time around was a warm up.  His shirt is still tucked in.

What’s it like to live in another culture?  When I was single I considered learning Arabic and spending some time in Egypt doing missionary work.  My short-term mission trip there was amazing.

The early morning wind is still.  As the day grows the ocean breeze will pick up and move across the park, causing the leaves in the trees to sway.  Where we live, there is always a breeze from the ocean which is only a couple of miles away.

It’s the third time around for the couple.  The woman is further ahead than before.  He looks a little winded but he’s keeping up. 

I need to get out and walk.  I start the car and head back home.  I’ll walk later.

These past forty minutes I feel like I’ve spent an entire day at the spa.  

That’s what a Quiet Time does for an introvert.  Even if it’s simply people watching from my car.  Like an extrovert needs constant people interaction, an introvert needs silent time alone.  If you're an introvert, be sure to get yours.