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October 1, 2009

Panty lines visible from outer space and other news

The title says a lot about my morning. Et tu, Brute?

Cult of Personality
Everyone in my division had to take the Myers-Brigg type test and we had our results revealed during an all-day departmental meeting yesterday. I'd taken the test before about ten years ago which was of course prior to my great interpersonal meltdown, my "I got drunk and directed traffic in my nightgown" divorce, and before I came to work at Big Corporation, Inc. When I originally took the test I was an INFJ and I didn't expect any change since they say ("The U.S. Department of They") that people rarely change core personality types.

The "I" stands for Introvert. When I first took this test a decade ago I was shocked to find I was not just an introvert, I was a REALLY BIG introvert. My score was off the chart. The more I learned about it, though, the more it made sense. The best way I have ever heard the Extrovert/Introvert thing explained is that extroverts get their energy from being around other people and introverts get their batteries recharged by being alone. There's a lot more to it, but I wasn't surprised to find that I am still an "I" -- the person who prefers to go on vacation alone is an introvert? Big shocker!

The "N" stands for Intuition (as opposed to Sensing). The best way I've heard this explained is that Sensers make lists of to-do items they want to check off today (if not sooner!) and Intuits make lists of stuff they hope to one day achieve or see or experience. S people are detail-oriented and N people are maybe not so much.

F is for Feelings! Feelings, nothing more than feelings, trying to forget my feelings of love... I'm not a high-scoring F, so I also have some affinity for the other side which is "T" for Thinking. Generally speaking Thinkers are logic/truth/principles people and Feelers are harmony/tact/loyalty people. (By the way, there is a whole lot more to all this Myers Briggsonian stuff than I am explaining, this is just the Cliff's Notes of the Cliff's Notes version.)

The only surprise here was that I switched from being a very high J -- Judging -- to a very high P -- Perception. I was a little surprised at how big of a change I'd made in this area but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. I used to be a big judgypants. I had very specific thoughts about everything, I was exacting, regimented and spent most of my time and energy focused on other people and their issues. I gave a fair amount of my own unsolicited advice and spent a lot of time answering questions no one had asked me.

The change in this part of my personality was gradual but enormous. It's like someone else moved into that part of my brain. I still make judgment calls, but it's almost always self-directed and I've replaced my opinionated spouting off with "Eh, everybody's got problems. Who am I to judge?" I still share my opinions (product recommendations, here I come!) and I'll give my opinion about a topic when asked but even the tone of that has changed. I used to say with great authority, "Well, you know what you SHOULD do, you should do this and then this and then this and then you ought to blah blah blah..." and now it sounds like, "Well, let's see. This is what works for me but what works for other people will be different. However, since you asked, and only since you asked, this is what works in my experience..."

Funny. Anyway, this change made me secretly very pleased because it proves that people can change and this particular change has made my life infinitely better. Like Dr. Dyer says, "Your opinion of me is none of my business." And conversely, it's really not my job to tell you what I think of you. I can't tell you how much easier this has made my relationships. And my life in general is a lot less tense, I'm just not that interested in solving other people's problems or telling them what to do and I really don't feel like arguing anymore. It's like exhaling.

So, I am an INFP. Also, not surprisingly, I was the only person in the entire division who was an INFP. It's lonely out here in the wilderness of weirdness. Secretly I always want to fall into the statistical norm and I never do. It's a little like always getting picked last for kickball. The only comfort here is that everyone at my table fell into a statistical norm and each said they'd prefer to be in the "less than 1%" categories. That's the shared human experience, isn't it? Always wanting something different from what we've got.

If you want to take this test online I found some similar tests here (it has less questions but they're pretty consistent) and there's also the Myers Brigg Foundation, and of course there is a Wiki on it.

Earthquakes & Tsunamis
I am a little freaked out by the recent big earthquake activity in the news. Usually I am pretty Zen about this subject since I have no control over the tectonic plates and I have an overachiever Type A Plus earthquake kit at home. But recently I started having a recurring earthquake dream. In this dream, we have a major shaker here in Los Angeles next March. In one of these dreams I was writing about the earthquake, and I wrote the date but all I could see was "Ma" so then I wasn't sure if it was March or May, but everything else in the dream was the same.

At first I thought these dreams were stress dreams, much like the recurring tidal wave nightmares I used to have. But the earthquake dreams were so specific they freaked me out. So in a nod to my core superstitious personality type -- not noted in Myers Briggs -- I am now writing about this dream because saying it out loud will ward off a temblor. Also, probably later I will toss salt over my shoulder and walk around my cat three times while holding a sausage. Freakazoid.

October Brings Big Weather!
Who says we don't have weather here in Los Angeles?


Not only are we having wild temperature mood swings, Dapper Dallas is also hovering around the word DRIZZLE! Not that I believe it will happen, mind you, but just having mist in the forecast is enough to make people here think winter is upon us. Dallas Raines knows how to excite a crowd. I just got new windshield wipers on the Jeep so I'm ready for even a real raindrop, should that occur. It's always exciting to see the seasons change here in Los Angeles. Before you know it we'll be out of fire season and into mudslide season with a chance of wind. Our weather really keeps you on your flip-flop clad toes!

Posted by laurie at October 1, 2009 10:24 AM