I am an ISTJ…off the charts. ISTJ is an abbreviation used in the publications of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to refer to one of sixteen personality types. ISTJ stands for Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging or put another way (Introverted Sensing with Extraverted Thinking.) So according to the Myers-Briggs, I probably shouldn’t be spending a lot of time around other people. My wife keeps threatening to buy me a t-shirt that says: ‘Does not Play Well with Others.’
If I go to a party with my wife, she leaves the place energized and wanting for more. I just want to run screaming out of the room and seal myself off in an air-tight closet for thirty years just to recover from the traumatic experience. (I exaggerate…but not much!)
Thus said, I’m probably not one to have a lot of visitors…which, of course, only happens when we’re in Palm Springs. Who wants to visit Apple Valley anyway?
I need to put in a disclaimer here…my kids are an exception to the rule. Mind you, the grand-children can still drive me crazy with their early morning shouting: ‘Papa, I’m up’ (at five in the morning). Then there is the occasional temper tantrum, five kids vying for constant attention and other normal coping challenges. But overall, family triumphs personality quirks every time.
Out of town visitors are another story.
Stay-over roomies tend to screw up my quiet time, disrupt my writing, keep me away from the gym, sit in my favorite chair, watch mindless TV early in the morning and generally cause me to wish I were in Siberia.
Fortunately, I have a counter-balance who prevents me from becoming ‘hermit of the year.’ My wife considers entertaining an art form and one that she has a Master’s degree in it. Therefore, I am forced to confront my own shortcomings as a proper host and play the role numerous times each year.
But there are a few good things that have come from the experiences. Having guests forces me out of my daily routine and comfort level. They’ve take you to places I normally wouldn’t visit or have put on a ‘to do’ list years ago.
Brian took me to the painted canyons in Mecca. Despite the forced march he and seven-year-old Maya forced me on, it was a fabulous exploration of a slot canyon that I can’t wait to return to.
I’ve trudged to an oasis in the Coachella Valley Preserve and through the marsh area of the Big Morongo Valley. I’ve hiked up to Keys View in Joshua Tree and watched Pelicans in the Salton Sea.
I’ve rubbed shoulders with elite theater folks at the Pantages at Hollywood and Vine and toed the sand in Laguna Beach. I’ve stared in wonder at art in the Getty and chaperoned garage-sales for treasures in West Hollywood. I’ve over-eaten all the lobster you can eat at a casino and looked up Marilyn’s dress in downtown Palm Springs.
It’s been a soul-searching, mind-cleansing experience and forced me to become aware of the wondrous environment all within hours of my home here.
I was once told that the best way to really get to know someone is to go camping with them. Forget about a rendezvous at Starbucks or an evening out, sharing your intimate space with someone else tops them all.
I guess as long as we’re living here in the desert, I’ll have to confront my fear of intimate-sharing and accept the fact that visitors can bring a change of pace I normally wouldn’t experience otherwise.
In the meantime, maybe I can work on my I or S or T or J.