Saturday, May 06, 2006

the truth comes out

So it was a beautiful spring Saturday, and here's how my day went: first we took Cal to the playground, then we drove to New Jersey to attend someone's retirement party (really), and after we got home, I watched a movie on TV. And now it's almost 9:30pm, which means that it's almost time for bed. I know, I know.

Usually people say things to me like, "Oh, I could never have a kid, I can barely take care of myself," but sometimes, they say, "Oh, I'm not ready to have a kid, I'm still young and I'm not done having fun yet." Which is what I was afraid I was going to feel like once Cal was born, because with a baby in the house, suddenly it's a big production requiring a few weeks of planning even to just go out for dinner and a movie. Why, with a kid, we can't go out clubbing, stay up late, go to the coolest new nightspots and restaurants, get drunken and dance on tabletops. With a kid, it's goodbye, wild youth.

But do you want to know a secret? It's kind of a secret because part of me feels lame admitting that I am so uncool, but the reason I don't lament not being able to enjoy the rest of my twenties partying like a rock star is because I never liked partying all that much in the first place.

There were two summers of my ill-spent youth (and the fact that they were summers already shows that I'm lame--I mean, I would never jeopardize my future by partying on a SCHOOL NIGHT) where I went out every night. One of these summers was spent in Boston and the other was spent in Manhattan, right before I started med school, and I did the standard thing. Every night, after work, I would meet up with friends, have dinner, go to a bar, go dancing, go to a concert, what have you. We would get home at 3am and collapse into bed smelling like a a distillery after the tobacco factory next door exploded (this was when they still allowed people to smoke in New York bars), and the next night we would do it again. And the next night. And the next.

It was cool because I felt like it was something I "should" be doing at that point in my life--I had just turned 21, I was relatively unmired with responsibility, I had a lot of friends in the same situation--but I'm not sure that I liked it all that much. I didn't like the loudness. I didn't really like drinking. It was fun being out late in Manhattan in the summer, but at 2am, waiting for the subway and baking underground with a fine sheen of sweat down my back and my feet hurting, I would often wonder if I would have had more fun that night at home, alone, with a good book and the air conditioning on.

I'm an introvert. I know this. I took the test and everything. I still remember, I'm an ISTJ, and while I don't remember what the S or the T or the J stand for, I know that I = INTROVERTED, which means that being around people makes me tired. My idea of a fun weekend night is getting together with one or two friends, having a nice dinner, and then talking for many hours over dessert. After I started residency, these preferences for quiet nights became even more pronounced, because I'M TIRED, OK? I DON'T WANT TO DO ANYTHING THAT INVOLVES HAVING TO BE SOCIAL. IN FACT, STOP TALKING RIGHT NOW. And now with Cal, forget it. Fun is a walk to the park and then rolling around in the playpen with a couple of stuffed animals. I could never take a job that would involve a lot of after-hours functions and networking, like being a consultant or a drug rep, because lord, even the IDEA of it makes me exhausted.

In some ways, being a resident now and having a kid is great, because it's an excuse that everyone can understand. If we get invited out for a late night event, or a big function with millions of people milling about and schmoozing, I can always beg off because I have to wake up early the next morning, or because we have to take care of The Boy. But many times, it's just that--an excuse. Because even without the job or the baby, I'm not sure that I would want to go do those things anyway.

So now the truth is out. It's not being a resident or having a kid that makes me lame. I WAS LAME ALL ALONG.

Currently reading: "Comfort Me With Apples." I do think Ruth Reichl is a good writer, and I love how enthusiastic she gets about food.