I knew something had gone wrong with my emergency liposuction surgery when I heard my operating surgeon say, “That’s it. We did everything we could.” Seconds later, I was hovering over my own body and yelling at the doctor, “No you didn’t! You only removed my insurance card!” But nobody heard me.
The next thing I remember is floating gently away. I was overtaken by a comforting sense of tranquility as I drifted through a quiet tunnel towards a soft glimmering light. For the first time, I felt as though I was living in the moment. My never-ending conversation with myself faded away – for a few seconds and then I began talking to myself about why my never-ending conversation stopped.
I finally reached the end of the tunnel. I was met by un-defined figure who I assumed was a woman, although she could’ve been a male with a high-pitched voice. Regardless, she radiated a lovely aura. After greeting me, she said softly, “Join us.” I was overcome with a feeling of acceptance and understanding. After a lifetime as an introvert struggling to fit in, I had finally arrived at the place where I belong.
Imagine my surprise when we entered a large, bright room packed shoulder-to-shoulder with other un-defined figures, talking and laughing loudly. A stereo was pounding nineties techno rock. One by one, people approached me and spoke: “How are you? “What do you do for a living?” “I still can’t get over the great weather we have here.” “Why are you so quiet.” “Do these ill-defined jeans make my ill-defined ass look big?
My first impulse was to find a bathroom where I could be alone and gather my thoughts. Then I realized I was now in a place that didn’t require bathrooms.
As I watched a group of 20 noisy ill-defined figures play Tag Team Twister, I asked myself, what did all this mean? Is the afterlife just as unaccepting of introverts as the current life? Will we have to wait until Susan Cain passes on to the hereafter before extroverted spirits understand that there’s nothing wrong with a ghost wanting to stay home on a Friday night and read a book?
Or maybe it was not my time to die. At this point, it didn’t matter; I just wanted to leave. I wanted to go back.
Since I’m used to leaving parties early, this was the easiest part. I slipped out the door and drifted back through the tunnel, away from the light and noise. The next thing I remember I was lying on the operating table and a nurse, gasped, “Doctor, she’s breathing! She’s alive!” The doctor responded, “I’ll be the judge of that.”
Was this all a dream, or is the afterlife one big noisy, crowded happy hour? I can’t say for sure. However, if you are an introvert who values your peace and solitude, I recommend strongly you practice walking away from the light, any light.