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Introvert Tip of the Week

noah_gazoffIntrovert: Noah Gazoff

Occupation: Part-time CIA agent

Location: I’ve already said too much

Whenever I need to be alone and clear my head, I go to a funeral. It doesn’t have to be for someone I know. In fact, it usually helps if it isn’t. Aside from occasional hysterical sobbing, you won’t find a more tranquil environment.

There are many memorial services from which to choose. Simply check the obituaries in your local newspaper or online. Ideally, the recently departed should be a complete stranger who died from natural causes. This usually ensures a quiet service with a minimum of drama. You know you’ve hit pay dirt if you overhear someone say, “It was her time.”

I always enter quietly and sit by myself. Mourners rarely talk to me. I have a pretty intense resting bitch face that normally scares the hell out of people. But at funerals I look like I’ve lost my best friend which is the effect I’m going for. The only time anyone has ever asked why I wasn’t smiling was when I attended the funeral of an original member of Up with People.

Small talk is minimal at a memorial service. However, I’m always prepared for the rare occasion I inadvertently make eye contact. I slowly shake my head, look down and say, “Heck of a guy;” or “We’re going to miss him;” or “They broke the mold when they made her; or “What can I say that hasn’t been said?” Before anyone can respond, I sigh and walk away.

Aside from the opportunity for contemplation, there’s something deeply spiritual about funerals. Yes, they give me time to ponder my existence as well as why the widow’s hand is resting gently on another man’s thigh. But this age-old ritual of bidding farewell to friends and loved ones always reminds me that I’m part of a vast universe inhabited by introverts, extroverts and widows who can’t wait to start dating until after they bury their husbands.

The next time you need to be alone and you’re miles from the nearest park, beach or quiet café, go to a funeral. There’s no better place to get your needed “me” time with a gentle portion of “us” time on the side.

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