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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Shut the bleep up!

There are two types of people in the world. There are yackers and those of us who wish yackers would just shut the bleep up. That’s the harsh way of saying it. A professional would say there are introverts and extroverts. Picture a sliding scale of these two personality extremes. Few people fall into one extreme but their inherent nature tends more toward one than the other.

Extroverts are usually oblivious to their surroundings, and they feel energized around people. They love to talk—about anything and everything and especially nothing. I call them yackers.
Researchers estimate that about 75% of the American population falls into the extrovert category. (I’m inclined to think it’s more than that.)

Introverts are keenly aware of their surroundings, and they feel drained around other people. They prefer quiet. I am one of these people. I’m NOT a yacker.

Every day I witness this stark contrast in personalities, but some events illustrate it better than others.

One summer, after hiking about two hours to reach the pristine mountain Fern Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park all I wanted to do was flop down on a rock near the bank and enjoy the postcard beauty of the place. I could smell the pine, see the sunlight glinting off the water, and I could hear… the yackers. The yackers were throwing rocks, running along the bank, and hollering back and forth about Doritos. I couldn't outlast them. As one group of yackers left they were only replaced by another.

Another summer, I hiked to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. It was hot as summers get in southern Utah. The arch stood surrounded in what one could easily imagine as a cathedral of natural rock. The hot wind whipped through the canyon carrying the yackers’ conversation of last night’s baseball game and the best places to eat in Chicago.

I wish I could say that the yackers didn’t take away my enjoyment, but they did. I can only hope that one day they take a few minutes to immerse themselves in their surroundings and listen to the silence. There are people out there who need you to shut the bleep up!