It occurred to me as I was drawing these pages that Terra is an extrovert, while Alexandra and Percival are both introverts, which is why it takes a Terra to bring them together. Goths are very often introverts, it's a thing. And American culture is sort of fundamentally extroverted. Which leads to all sorts of moping and alienation.
I am an introvert, more or less. I know this in part because of the time I had a Goth House booth in the small press section of San Diego Comic Con. It was not the first time I had a booth anywhere -- my first Goth House booth was at Conversion in Seattle, the Net Goth convention. That booth was very low-key and I actually made really good sales without trying too hard and it was only one day. So I tried it again in San Diego.
The problem wasn't so much the hugely hugeness of Comic Con. It was the fact that it was more than one day. By the afternoon of the second day I was completely worn out. I felt like I never wanted to talk to anyone ever again in my whole life. On the third day, there came a point where I literally ran down the aisles screaming and flailing my arms. Then later we smuggled in booze and things went better.
My husband Paul is an extrovert. I know this because the whole time he was at the booth with me, he was nagging me to be more outgoing, more "on," more ready to connect to people walking past the booth -- you know, smile, engage in conversation, etc. He seemed unable to understand how much strain trying to do this was causing me, how stretched to the breaking point my emotional state was. It was just talking to people, people who weren't even angry at me, how could it be hard?
Because it's not hard for extroverts. The problem for extroverts is shutting up, going home, disconnecting from people. They don't ever have a need so pressing it seems physical to get away from people, not talk to anybody, and sit in an out of the way place reading a book. For me the ability to act in an extroverted manner feels very much like draining a battery that then has to be recharged. Like the energy to do that specific thing is something I run out of.
Alcohol is my usual treatment for that. For me it functions like an artificial shot of extroversion, and I don't think I'm alone in that. There's a reason humans like booze and associate it with social occasions.
(I was interested in this Slate article, Extroverted Like Me, where the author required a combo of Paxil and alcohol. Although the article was pretty scary -- Paxil without the alcohol didn't result in extroversion at all, it resulted in a complete emotional disconnect. So the writer started to feel like a normal human being only when drinking.)
When I am low on extroversion, sometimes I am just worn out, but sometimes I also start to hate people. Maybe misanthropy is a completely separate, unrelated symptom, I dunno. I experience a lot of misanthropy when I'm stressed out, but it can also be a precurser to more general depression. You know, I go to work in the morning thinking I feel normal, and then when I go to the store to get something for lunch I can't stand people, and then in the afternoon I'm bummed out and kind of weepy.
One day I came back from the store and wrote this:
shopping makes me hate people
i hate the store, big and sterile and ugly and air conditioned
it's full of stupid depressing merchandise, dumb things nobody needs that are nothing but trash-to-be
aisles and aisles of things pretending to be food
does anybody need an entire aisle of chips and chiplike items? An entire aisle of candy? An entire aisle of soft drinks? no? well, that's what you get.
i hate the people who made these stupid items, the people who decided that this is what we should have the option of buying
i walk down the aisles staring in despair at things that are not food
people get in my way. i start to hate people. i hate old people and fat people and people with strollers and people who ride around in those little go-carts and people who meander vaguely down the middle of the aisle, somehow managing to take up the entire available space
i hate the way people dress. i hate what they buy. i hate the stupid rings they have their cell phones make, and the moronic conversations they have once they, inevitably, answer their phones
i hate the people in front of me in line and their bizarre inability to count or follow simple instructions
i hate the pathetic lonely people who want to chat with the checkout clerk
i hate the checkout clerks who want to chat with me, asking me "how my day is going" or whatever stupid conversation gambit they're supposed to be trying today. just ring in my damn groceries! Sheez! If I want random conversation with dumb strangers I'll go to a bar!
i hate when they ask for my haggen card. i hate the haggen card. i hate all cards
I hate myself for hating everyone so excessively. What makes me so great? I think I'm never in anybody's way?
But I also love people. It's a paradox. I like talking to people, but I get worn out doing it. I hate people and everything they do, but I also love people and all their silly and wonderful people things.
Anyway, introverts understand extroverts, I think -- I don't think extroverts always understand introverts. But we need you guys around, because otherwise we'd never meet anybody new.