EDITOR’S DESK: The accidental extrovert comes alive in Crestview

Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 02:44 AM.

My family has deep roots in that community, having been one of the first Italian American families to settle in the area. And even those I didn't know (those new to town, like some of our city officials) I called weekly.

So everyone knew me; it wasn't like they needed to see me, I thought. Especially since it was a high-production, behind-the-scenes, closed-door, minimal interaction kind of job.

And it allowed me to revert to an introvert's tendencies — and even become downright reclusive, as many creative types can be. (Back then I also designed every inch of those three publications minus the ads. That takes time, especially for a perfectionist who wants his weekly newspaper to look more like a polished, highly engineered daily paper.)

That isolation was familiar, as it's how I grew up: in the country, on a farm, with no neighbors in sight. I had a few close friends, but only saw them, for the most part, in school or at summer camp. I participated in talent shows here and there, edited the school yearbook and poetry publications, but usually kept to myself, especially after my father died. (Unfortunately, as I learned, classmates took that silence and grief for being stuck up. Being an introvert has its drawbacks as people often "read" into things that just aren't there.)

Things loosened up at Spring Hill College, a Jesuit institution in Mobile, Ala. You saw me everywhere. Vice President of the Multicultural Student Union, handling public relations for Campus Ministry, in the church choir, hosting and producing school-wide talent shows, participating in community outreach and leaving annoying — as friends later revealed to me — campus-wide voicemail reminders about student activities.

But after leaving that familiar college bubble, I reverted.

Because that college experience involved people reaching out to me rather than me reaching out to them. Yeah, they got me to join their organizations, and I enjoyed them. But I was an accidental extrovert.

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