140604 Downtown Inside Out

“Hey…did you know The Redmont Hotel is still open? I mean, who knew, right?”

I groggily recounted this extraordinarily urgent information to Chris at 6:15am Saturday morning. I had not slept all night, and was entrapped in a heavy delirium that later made it impossible to walk in a straight line.

“I mean, I figured that place had been closed for years. Decades even. You never hear anyone say they stayed there! I mean, have you? But Jamie and I Googled it at lunch a couple of weeks ago and it’s still open!! Isn’t that fascinating?”


“We should really go there sometime. I mean, we should know what it’s like, right? It’s like…a historical marker or something.”

“Umm….What all did you take to try and help you sleep? And at what time?”

I recounted the list of things I took, all within legal and somewhat recommended limits.

“Are you going to be okay today?”

“I hope so! I should get up and run since I can’t sleep!”

This took place between Friday’s Artwalk and Saturday’s Artwalk.

As Chris was leaving for the football game, I tried to set his mind at ease.

“I think I figured it out around 3am. There’s this part of my brain – like a real, physical lobe or something – that I have to use to talk to lots of people. But if it gets activated, it can’t shut down. Like…ever. Or at least for a lot of hours.”

“Please be careful today.”

Despite my lack of mental clarity at the time, I actually think I was right.

I’m an introvert. I recharge by being alone. I like people, but prefer them in small doses. Just like four ibuprofen is the outer limit of how many one should take at once, four people is the outer limit of the number of humans I can relate with at once.

However, when I need to, I can Transformer-Style morph into an extrovert. If I find myself in an extended situation of extreme extroversion, as I was at ArtWalk where I talked to hundreds of people for six hours straight two days in a row, my brain is able to compensate and allow me to become a temporary extrovert.

However. Once that switch is flipped, I become immediately and intensely aware that I can forget about sleeping. Because my brain will refuse to shut off, no matter how many magically delicious melatonin gummies I chew.

It’s not even that I’m thinking – it’s almost as if I can feel my entire brain buzzing. It plays songs on repeat. It has imaginary conversations that make no sense. It will play iPhone games – all in my head. I cannot escape from my brain, and it holds me hostage with no excuse.

The ability to switch back and forth, according to the aforementioned friend Jamie (who is an Extrovertedness Evangelist), is called being an Ambivert. An Ambivert is someone who has both an introvert and an extrovert side, like having a multiple personality disorder without the loss of memory.

And apparently Extrovert Me is an acute insomniac.

I believe this is because I don’t let her wake up very often, and so when I do tiptoe up to her bedroom door and knock softly, asking her to come out and take over for a while so that Introvert Me doesn’t curl up in the fetal position at the thought of talking to hundreds of strangers, she is like “HECK YEAAAASSSS!!! Do you KNOW how long I’ve been locked in this room? It’s been like two years!! PAAAAAAARTYYYYYY!!!”

(For those of you properly educated in the subject of My Little Pony, imagine Pinkie Pie after having found herself locked in a dungeon for twenty-four months. Now picture her delighted, screaming face pointed at the sky. That’s Extrovert Me.)

And then it takes ten bouncers in my head to shove her back into her cell and lock the door.


There’s only one thing worse than not sleeping because of Extrovert Me bouncing off the sides of my brain.

It’s if Introvert Me returns too quickly.

Because then she keeps me up all night also…but in complete and utter horror…recounting every conversation Extrovert Me had with every single person I saw, conjuring up ways that I probably offended half of them, confused half of them, and looked like an idiot to all of them.

Because that’s what introverts do.

Partying all night like an extrovert is always preferred.

So. How does your brain work?

Editor’s Note: That very Saturday, Jamie came to see me at Artwalk and said, “By the way – did you hear that The Redmont closed?” My efforts to confirm this rumor have been unsolidified, but seem to point in that direction. So I sure am relieved that I was able to convey that timely information to Chris at 6:15 that morning.
Updated: The Redmont is undergoing a renovation and will be reopened as a Hay Creek Hotel. Thanks to Katherine for the tip.

33 thoughts on “The Cost of Extroversion.

  1. My brain works…pretty much like yours. It takes an extreme effort to get my extrovert mode going, but once it’s on, it’s ON. And once it’s over, I can hardly communicate at all for a couple of days–partly because I am mortified at what I might have said in the throes of extroverted-ness. I am extraordinarily envious of true extroverts. It must be so nice to go through life without feeling like an alien in 98% of situations.

  2. I can definitely relate to the part about your introverted self replaying all of the conversations the extroverted part had when it was briefly allowed out! So annoying!

  3. We stayed at The Redmont on our wedding night, but that was 12 years ago. I drove past recently and saw it was under renovation – and presumably closed during that time. I hope it reopens. The Tutwiler shouldn’t be the only game in town when it comes to historic hotels. I’m an extrovert, married to an introvert, with an introvert child. We have a hard time relating. I want to tell everyone everything all the time and they don’t want to tell anyone anything ever. At least you can switch it on and off. I hope your introvert side doesn’t freak out too much – I am sure you did fine!

    1. Yes, I was able to find some articles about it, and it is under a huge renovation. I’m excited to go to the rooftop bar – it’s supposed to open before the rest of the hotel does! I’m thinking sunset shooting will be in order….

  4. I might be an ambivert? On every Meyers-Briggs test I’ve taken I’ve been nearly 50/50 on introvert versus extrovert. My mood that day can tip things one way or another. I need time alone to recharge, but I also need time with friends and socialization on a semi-regular basis.

    My dad’s side of the family is all a very adaptable, take-it-as-it-comes bunch, and I grew up moving around a lot and having to rearrange things for my disabled brother’s needs, so I think I’m just adaptable to whatever circumstances I’m in. At least to a point.

  5. A couple of months ago they had all their stuff out on the street … paintings, end tables, chairs, etc. They were selling it all off because they’re doing a $6-million renovation this year. They’re going to reopen under new ownership as a more upscale hotel, but still historic. They’re not going modern or anything. :-) I’m not sure what the timeline for reopening is, but I imagine it will be early next year.

    1. Yes, Jamie heard the first part of your statement – “all the stuff was for sale on the sidewalk” and did not hear the “because they’re doing a huge renovation” part. So she only told me Part One – it was a totally perfect example of The Gossip Game.

      “You’ll never believe what Katherine said – The Redmont is closed!! They were selling all their stuff out on the SIDEWALKS.”

      Uhhh. Extroverts.

  6. First, we stayed at The Redmont the night of our wedding (10 years ago in April). I think mostly business-type people stay there, but the suite we had was absolutely beautiful and didn’t at all feel like a hotel room. Plus, Jeremy called right before we left the reception and they had run a bath with lovely smelly bubbles and rose petals in it. It. Was. Glorious. But, we haven’t been back since.

    Second, I think you and I would get along really well if we hung out for any amount of time. SO an introvert over here. But I can also be the most outgoing extrovert introvert if needed. And it keeps me awake at night too. But haven’t had that problem in a while. Thankfully.

  7. Not only am I an introvert… I am a shy introvert.

    That being said, 2 years ago I took on a role as a Training Specialist at work. This job requires me to travel to places I do not know and train groups of people I do not know. I accepted the role to challenge myself; and challenge myself I did.

    The people I train have no idea about my shy introverted personality, in fact if I do reveal this information about myself, most do not believe me.

    I give 100% when I am in the classroom, but once I get back to the hotel or back home I need time to rejuvenate. Luckily, my extremely extroverted husband, and our children, understand this and give me the room to breathe that I require.

  8. I am an extrovert all the way. When I am without adult interaction for too long I begin to shut down. But I still feel like I get a buzz off of conversation that makes it difficult to sleep sometimes. I replay conversations and think of what I should have said instead. But I still love my girls nights. They make me so happy.

  9. OH how I can relate.. Not to the insomniac part, but all the rest of it. I have to be an extrovert in my job some/most days and I find myself being woken by my brain at 4am wanting to re-live every lovely discussion I had the day before. Nice to know i”m not alone!

  10. I am the exact same way but until I read this I never realized my insomnia does tend to occur around the times I am forced to be an extrovert. I also recount all the conservations too.

  11. I can relate. Today, I was thinking “Why didn’t I introduce Rachel to more people the other night?” …conversation with self to think through reasoning, “You were tired, the kids were nagging & you had had enough talking for one night!” Next time, I’ll remind myself to get over my introverted self & just do it. Anyways, it was great to see you irl Thursday!

  12. I’m not sure if there even is an Extrovert Me. I am all Introvert, and if I have to deal with 3 or more people at once my head physically hurts. Later, I will replay the conversations over, and over, and wonder if those people misinterpreted anything and everything I said.

  13. I’m 99% extrovert. I do everything externally. I’m a kinesthetic learner. Reading instructions is painful for me. I’d rather dive in and learn as i go. I talk with my hands and am super energized by large groups, especially with new people. I have to rewrite or underline things to learn them. I’m married to a 99% introvert. It works very well, because when we’re alone together we each become 50/50. I also torture myself over social encounters though, usually because I don’t know what’s about to come out of my mouth until it’s out there. Thinking before I speak is a skill I’ve had to learn.

  14. I am usually introverted- I tend to be quiet in group settings, unless I know everyone well, in which case I can be quite talkative. However, there have been a few times in my life where I forced myself to act extrovertedly, and one of those times was one of the best times of my life. My natural, default setting is introvert, though. I tend to agree readily to social engagements, then spend all the time leading up to the engagement wishing I had declined, but I usually end up having a great time and being in a great mood afterwards. I then require lots of quiet time to recuperate, though.

  15. I’ve always thought of myself as introvert, but recently, my sister bluntly informed me that I was not! Her perspective kind of rocked my world, but I soon had to admit that she was probably right. I”m on the quiet side, but I love being around people and am often energized by them. Perhaps that explains my insomnia these days!

  16. Makes sense! And explains some things for me…like how I can be so introverted most of the time, but every now and then display extrovert qualities when needed. You should write a paper for the Journal of Psychology (there must be such a thing, right?) :)

  17. I figured out some time ago that I am an ambivert, and it made me make so much more sense to myself. I have a hard time going across the aisle to shake someone’s hand I don’t know at church most of the time. Yet, at Mission Birmingham functions, I can talk to mayors, ministry leaders and business leaders like it’s something I do all the time. Thankfully, most of those events I get to attend are in the morning, so I can usually wind down by the time I’m ready for bed.

    I had one of those nights of complete insomnia, though, on the night of Sept. 1, and it was much like you described – conversations that made NO sense, games played in my head,, etc. I even rehearsed all of the choreography we did to one of the Christmas songs last year in my head, the whole time wondering why on earth was my brain pulling that up just then. I think I managed 2 hours of sleep before my alarm went off, but only because I used a magic potion – I mean, essential oil roll-on.

    1. I’ve found that I prefer extroverted situations where I am “in charge” – I feel more comfortable. i.e., meet-ups I’ve planned, or being at my booth at ArtWalk, as opposed to going to an event that I was not involved in the planning of at all – I tend to feel scared and alone. As such, this makes sense that you’re more comfortable at Mission Birmingham events since you’re part of the team that plans it.

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