Posts Tagged ‘introvert’

I haven’t blogged about being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person – take the test here) in a long time. I’ve been in a good place with no triggers for over a year, and that’s the way I like life to move. I like my job, I love the slow pace of small town living, I enjoy the lack of commute and stress. My routine is simple.

My routine is about to change. And I am not happy.

The grocery store where I do the bulk of my shopping is being closed. I like this store for a number of reasons: local beef, local milk in a glass jar, wide aisles, friendly staff who know me by my name, a pharmacist who really watched my back, wide (and clean) aisles, and a significant lack of fighting to get to food items on shelves. When this store goes out of business, I will be reduced to three local options (not including Grocery Outlet which sells things past their pull date & where you can never be certain of what is going to be on the shelves. Great prices, just no consistency): two big name grocers owned by the same corporation who purchase their beef from Iowa (which is OK, if you live in the Midwest and like grain-fattened beef – I don’t, on either count), and one big name grocer/retailer/warehouse style store.

Beef – we live in the heart of ranching country, for Heaven’s sake! Why would I buy something not grown within the State of Oregon and grass fed? I grew up on grass fed beef and have no desire to change. I used to shop at Albertson’s, but I never bought my meat there – I purchased it from a local grocer who bought 4-H beef from the kids in the county. In the years since, Albertson’s has changed management and ownership, and the local grocer went out of business. Safeway moved in, and Safeway is owned by Albertson’s.

I don’t like our local Safeway parking lot. This can be huge. I get that developers have to follow certain “rules” for “green spaces”, but the design for parking in this lot is all about concrete dividers and awkward angles. I even quit buying gas there because the last guy who pumped gas for me (hey, I live in Oregon, OK?) told me I had to get out of the car to pay.  I’m sorry – if I am not getting out of the car to pump my own gas (which I am not, in Oregon), why would I get out of my car to pay for the gas? Defeats the purpose of having someone pump my gas for me. Petty, but that’s how it is.

The third option – a Kroger/Fred Meyer – has followed the “warehouse” style of building and just going through the doors is a sensory overload. They do have local produce and beef, their prices are a little high (but so are the other options, locally), but they have great “loss leaders” (ads that draw you in and they lose money on). It’s just getting me through the doors that has my stomach in knots. It’s crowded. Narrow aisles. You have to jockey to get to things. Lines are long. I don’t mind shopping the other departments at Fred’s, but the grocery area is a nightmare of sensory overload for me.

There are options further out, and my extrovert friends are probably wondering why I don’t utilize them: WinCo, which is just over 5 miles from home and offers the following: narrow aisles, too many people, self-serve bagging. The pluses are: lower prices. In my book, the negatives just won. Oh, and I’d have to negotiate up Old Highway 99 with all the stoplights and traffic. And bag my own groceries. Did I mention I find that to be a pain in the behind? Bagging my own groceries. I consider that worse than having to pump my own gas! (Note: I live in Oregon. One of two states in the Union where we can actually pay someone else to stand out in the rain to pump our gas for us. I really hate it when I have to drive to Nevada and have to pump my own gas through California and Nevada. Can’t we just pay some poor schmuck to do that? I used to do that. it was a great entry level job.)

Costco. Warehouse. Thousands of people. Big carts. Warehouse. Great bulk prices. Warehouse. Sensory overload. No.

Super Walmart. Just.No.

Trader Joe’s. Darn – too far away to be feasible. Closest one is 13 miles away.

We have a Market of Choice within my preferred driving distance, but – and I mean a huge BUT – their prices are extremely high. Local meats, organic, great selection. Terrible parking (see Safeway). HIGH prices. Close to the Backyard Bird Shop where I purchase birding supplies. High prices nil all the benefits.

I’ll probably suck it up and go to Fred Meyer, but that presents another problem: Fred’s isn’t just a grocery store. They sell everything you need, like Walmart, only better quality. Or Target, only better quality. Clothes, furniture, paint, gardening, arts, toys, home, electronics. You see the problem? $$$$$ Because I can stand to be in those departments. It’s the grocery area where I get overwhelmed by the people, the carts, the lights, and the narrow aisles.

I think – and I may be wrong – for the non HSP, that none of this would be overwhelming. Just make a change. For me, it’s almost a life or death question. My routine is disrupted (Haggen, BiMart, home). I can change to buying a lot more at BiMart, but they are not a super store – they’re just a “general store” with a few items of everything that are nearly always cheaper than competitors: dry goods, electronics, paint, hardware, beer/wine, dog food, rifles & ammo, toys, home goods.

There are some products that our local Haggen sells that no one else carries: there are two local dairies who sell milk in glass bottles, pasteurized, but not homogenized (i.e. there’s still a layer of cream at the top of the bottle). It’s really good milk. I don’t drink much milk, but when I do, taste is everything. I grew up in a community with a local dairy and that mega-store produced milk tastes “off” to me. My husband loves the bottled milk. And they make the BEST chocolate milk, ever (must be chocolate cows).

I’ve been commiserating with co-workers. We all agree this is a tragedy. We’re scrambling to move our prescriptions. Some of us are agreeing that the only reason we shopped at this Haggen is that it’s never very crowded. We also agree that Fred Meyer is “sensory overload”. We’ll pay the couple pennies extra for groceries for the peace of shopping in a store that rarely has long lines, always has wide aisles, and where we know the employees by first name (and they know us).

We all wonder what will come in to replace the store: surely not WalMart? Our city council has a history of rejecting WalMart, but they also have a history of rejecting anything progressive. Maybe Trader Joe’s? Store is too big, but – Trader Joe’s has a location in Beaverton that is large & urban. TJ’s is kind of a specialty store and not always cheap. They’re the top choice. Whole Foods? Expensive, but I could price compare with Market of Choice…

Just not WalMart. Their practices of pushing out local businesses (like my beloved BiMart) are epic.

I get that this is not a crisis to the “normal” or “average” person. But to me: introvert, HSP… This is a crisis. Forgive me for curling up into a fetal position and asking God to “let it pass over”. I may even daub my door posts with lamb’s blood (oh, get over it. Sacrilegious jokes are a part of my childhood. My bff was Catholic & I was Protestant. Guess what our fathers told us to say at the other’s dinner table? Yeah. Some church joke). (And don’t ask about the whiskey jokes…)

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I have posted before about being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). I usually cope fairly well, but sometimes there are days when I just feel overwhelmed and I want to shut down completely. Today is/was one of them.

I am an introvert and I draw my energy from being alone. I never took my children to places like Chuck E Cheese because I can’t stand the overwhelming sensory stimulation of the lights, noise, and crowds. I take my lunch break out in my car rather than in the office break room, simply because I need the little bit of down time that it provides. I have always been like this: when I was in elementary school, I was mistaken for a shy child (being an introvert is not synonymous with being shy) because I found school with all the bells, other children, and the noisy playground and lunch room overwhelming so I shut down and became quiet.

The past few years have been kind to my personality. I moved to an accounting position (I know: math and me! Never my strong point!) where few people bothered me throughout the day. Later, I gained a private office where I could simply close the door to shut out the noise and fend off the interruptions. Last year, however, my senior partner retired and a new person was hired to replace her: a highly extroverted person from a different culture. Now, I adore my new supervisor. She’s funny, we walk together twice a day, we go out to eat together sometimes, and we share some of our world with each other. She’s great, but she’s an extrovert who needs people and draws her energy from people.

If I only had her to work around, I’d be fine. That isn’t how it went today.

Externally (outside the job), I have some adult issues I need to take care of: a case of identity theft, a past due bill that isn’t past due (I have the proof), and ongoing insurance-didn’t-pay-my-medical-bill-from-the-last-car-accident issues. The latter is getting taken care of by the other insurance, finally. But I still have to call my doctor’s office and let them know that I don’t know what is up with my insurance because they told me they were paying it back in January. The accident was clear back in October.

Internally (at work), it is first of the month, my very busiest time, and it is March, which means we are coming out of the normal winter slump that real estate hits every year. Today, I had my usual large stack of closings to do in a short period of time (I complete the Broker’s files and issue the Broker’s checks on a daily basis. Most of the time, the Brokers like me). We are also in the middle of a huge remodel job of our office space and this weekend is the accounting department’s weekend to be displaced into temporary quarters while the construction crews build our fancy new cubicles. (I’m losing my private office with the door, but I still have me “QUIET – I AM WORKING” and “DO NOT DISTURB – DEPOSIT IN PROGRESS” signs. I made those signs when I was last in a cubicle, before the big move to the new office space two years ago.)

Lastly, I am cross-training two people so that I can take a well-deserved vacation this summer without burdening my supervisor unduly.

Oh – and they hired a new Accounting Manager to replace the Controller who is leaving for a better job, the RAT. The new person was at the office early and needed to chat off her nervous energy. I needed to dole out assignments for my trainees. I fielded their questions (one asks more questions than the other, but that is fine: there is no stupid question except for the one you did NOT ask). I checked their work. My supervisor stopped in half a dozen times with one or another issue (did I mention we just changed accounting software? Yeah. We’re still learning, and it is a process for all of us). Then someone stopped by to explain the move to someone in the hall, but they had to stand inside my door and include me in the conversation. We had to go look at our new temporary space to make sure we’d fit. Someone else came by to see if any of my office equipment was going to be given away (my desk, but not until after 5 on Friday – I do have to work until then!). They measured things.

The insurance company (the Other Insurance) called to let me know they were close to settling on my claim. And my HR person received mail from them that required her to fill out forms and return, but she’s a new HR person and wasn’t even on the job in October when I was in the accident, so I had to stop and explain all of that to her and where to find my absent times on my time clock 9which is online, thank God).

Further complicating my day was a voice mail the receptionist received from my former supervisor (the one who retired). I did not get a call: my former boss probably dialed my old phone number. Turns out, she fell and broke her pelvis (!!!) and is recuperating in a rehab center. She’s in her mid 80’s and they are telling her that she will be in a walker the rest of her life!

I couldn’t close my door to shut out the constant interruptions because I am training two people and they have to know I am available to help them.

My deadline for printing checks was made, but my deadline for depositing checks was missed and I left the office with overtime (not much, but it’s still rather harrowing when you miss a deadline and you’re trying to focus).

I messed up someone’s check and I figured out what I did while I was sitting in traffic on Highway 217. Parked in traffic, more like it.

I pulled over for an ambulance on the way to work (rollover on Hwy 217, the direction I was going – I went around it on a back road but I saw the wreckage – awful!). I pulled over for an ambulance on my way home from work (I didn’t hear what happened there, but the lighted highway sign said I-5 had one lane blocked three miles south of my exit).

I was in such a bad mood, I didn’t put in my audio book (I’m listening to The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and I’m afraid I was a bit too intolerant to listen to the Puritan’s persecution of that poor sinner, Hester. I wanted to shoot the Puritans tonight).

The mood lightened (nothing like Led Zeppelin and 1970’s Rock on KGON to lift my spirits – thank God they didn’t play any Aerosmith or Rolling Stones), but the lingering effects of too many people and too much stimulation held on.

I managed to finish our taxes online, but when faced with the simple task of paying April bills, I shut down. You know what? I’ve had enough for today. the world won’t end if I don’t pay bills until the second day of April. Heck, I used to pay them the day before they were past-due. I know which ones I can skate on because I’ve been Down That Road more times than I care to think about. The fact that I have been able to pay them ahead of time and always on the first of the month for a few years has been a bonus.

I am taking April First off because I am tired of being an Adult (hey, we filed our taxes!) and I am feeling like I just want all the noise, interruptions, and stimulation to SHUT UP.


No television, no music, no bill paying, no dealing with issues that I need to deal with: I am tired. That’s how an HSP deals with TOO MUCH in one day. We shut down. I’m shut down.

Thankfully, Harvey understands. He’s snoring softly in the background, content and happy. I had to give him a treat to get him to lay down and leave me alone, but… whatever works.

May tomorrow be better, quieter, and less stimulating than today.

Friday, I have to pack my office. I don’t want to think about Monday and unpacking.

P.S. – I am sharing this just in case you are an HSP and you don’t know that it is OK to shut down, or you are an introvert and you don’t know it is OK to be overwhelmed. I’m both. I should be a basket case tonight. The only reason I am not is… I can blog. I can also breathe in and breathe out and know that there *is* a tomorrow. Thankfully, I am not fourteen with no vision for tomorrow. You know teenagers don’t know there is a tomorrow, right? Hug your teen.

I digress. I always digress. Thinking calming thoughts now: breathe in/breathe out. Harvey needs those nose thingies I bought my husband that keep him from snoring. Seriously, the dog snores.

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